USA Today’s *Page 3.0*, focuses on “sports coverage online and on TV,” but thus far I haven’t actually seen this particular story online (or on TV)! So, I’ve reprinted the entire piece here. Let me give some props to USA Today and Bob Kimball. Thanks.
UPDATE: USA Today appears to have it posted here.
Negro Leagues get their due online
Baseball fans who love statistics- now there’s a redundancy- are about to get a jolt of satisfaction courtesy of two historians.
The endeavor is an off-shoot of Simkus’ work on Negro Leaguers last fall with the computer and board game Strat-O-Matic.
“The game sort of reignited interest in the Negro Leagues,” Simkus says.
Using the growing amount of information already digitized, the pair hopes to have up to eight seasons available by April and 25 up this year, including the Negro League from 1916 to 1922 and the Cuban Winter League from 1904 to 1913.
Ashwill believes the project will right a wrong. “It’s about historical justice…you can’t really look up Josh Gibson the same way you can Babe Ruth and get their numbers,” he says.
Accuracy about Negro League stats has long been questioned, but Simkus says he’s confident about his project. Because he and Ashwill will match mathematical formulas, Simkus pegs batting averages at 97-98% accurate, RBI at 85% and ERA at 85-90%.
But why would two men who have jobs undertake such a large project?
“Seven days a week…thinking of baseball,” Simkus says.
“It’s an obsession.”
We’re really looking forward to working with Sean Forman on this project.
But first, I just want to apologize to my stat-widow wife and research-orphan kids right now. The next couple years are sort of booked.
Oh, I almost forgot the new weekly ezine (Outsider Baseball Bulletin), which is scheduled to be released in April. We’ll have a web site up and everything. The magazine is going to feature a nice combination of original research, analysis, essays and humor. The focus will be baseball history (duh), with a heavy emphasis on Negro League, Cuban, Semi-Pro and Major League barnstorming. It’s going to be a subscription deal, but I’m giving away free copies at the beginning. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “baseball” in the subject line and we’ll send you a free copy when the new rag hits the digital streets.
And: If you haven’t already picked up the Strat-O-Matic Negro League set, shame on you! Go to www.strat-o-matic.com post haste!