We are a few weeks away from the Hall of Fame vote. Today is the birthday of a man I believe belongs in the baseball Hall of Fame. He never played major league baseball. But his efforts have completely transformed the understanding of the game and it’s history.
His name is Sean Forman. He built Baseball Reference Dot Com. For nearly a decade, this website has been the leading source of baseball statistical information. The entire history of our great game, the men who have played it and every possible measurement of every play that could be recorded is located at Baseball Reference.
When it comes to accelerating one’s comprehension of baseball, no single source of accessible information in the history of the game even comes close to GIVING any fan with a browser the access and information. Please note that I said “giving”... as most of everything at Forman’s site is free, quickly loading and well organized. Like baseball itself, those with more curiosity about the big picture, the intricacies or just about any facet of the game are always amply rewarded for embarking on a search to know more.
Sean Forman belongs in Cooperstown for giving every fan of baseball ALL of baseball’s past and its present as it happens. He has forever changed the experience of being a baseball fan by involving anyone who would like to research anything about baseball to have access to the definitive resource of the sport.
Without Baseball Reference, not only would this site be unable to embark on big-scale features such as Angel Debuts or Top 100 Angel Lists, the ability to quickly piece together reams of statistical data when discussing certain players would be a time-consuming morass of uncertainty, rather than the precise pin-pointing excursion that takes no more than a 30-second visit to Sean Forman’s site. And I speak for, literally, hundreds of baseball blogs as well as the mainstream press when I say (with a polite nod to retrosheet.org) that if the whole of baseball writing were organized as the solar system, everything between this little ole blog and the “worldwide leader in sports” would be just one of many rocks rotating around the Baseball Reference Sun.
If you like Baseball Reference and use it, consider sponsoring a page there. To see your name exclusively on the same page as a baseball idol with all of his accomplishments tabulated right there - with you by his side... this is one thrill that no major league corporate focus group could have ever conceived, and yet it monetizes Sean's herculeanly historic achievement... and keeps it free for fans worldwide.
So Happy Birthday, Sean Forman, and may Cooperstown come calling on baseball's most important civilian one day.