BostonBall.com was launched in 2014. The idea for the site came from Bill Nowlin, who has written so extensively about Red Sox baseball and Red Sox history that some of his books are already going out of print. As a way to continue to keep that information available (and updated, since initial publication), a website seemed like the right approach.
No, we’re not just hopping on the bandwagon as the Red Sox have won three World Championships in the last 10 years – but we’re pretty happy about that. Bill Nowlin’s visits to Fenway go back to the late 1950s. He’s seen a lot. He was even one of the 1,247 fans present on September 16, 1965 when Dave Morehead no-hit the Cleveland Indians. Think of that—the park’s capacity was 33,524 that year. That means there were 32,277 empty seats. So, no, we’ve been with the Red Sox through thick and thin.
The goal of this site is to present more and more information over time. We will start off with brief biographies of every Red Sox player and a brief profile of what happened each year in Red Sox history. We will also offer a variety of contemporary photographs of the park, with a focus on 2012, the 100th anniversary of Fenway.
There is a feature that lets you look up what happened on this day in Red Sox history, or on your birthday, or on any other day you might want. We offer lists of Red Sox uniform numbers, so you could look up and see who wore #15 before Dustin Pedroia going all the way back to 1931 and the great Earl Webb (he really was great, and you can read about him on the site, too.) Kevin Millar claims HE’S the “real #15” but you can see who the other 52 people were who wore the number.
Keep checking the site. We’ll keep adding more.
The site was designed by Dave Taylor, and built on foundations created by Bill Babcock.
Bill Nowlin was born in Boston, grew up in Jamaica Plain and Lexington, and went to Tufts for college. He’s lived in Somerville and Cambridge, where he currently resides, 4.74 miles from Fenway Park. A co-founder of Rounder Records, he’s helped publish over 3,000 record albums, and taught political science at UMass Lowell along the way. A childhood fan of Ted Williams, he began writing about Ted and the Red Sox in the middle 1990s and has authored or edited over 50 books, most of them Red Sox-related. He’s also traveled to well over 100 countries, but still finds there’s rarely any place he’d rather be than at Fenway Park.
Bill Babcock: Software developer by day, Internet musician by night and life long Sox fan, Bill Babcock provides technical support for BostonBall.com via programming, Internet services management, and whatever else is required to keep the bits flowing.
Dave Taylor is Lead Creative at Taylor Imaging: Creative Media Design, a Boston-based full visual design service. He has run is design consulting firm since 1995, specializing in problem solving all creative needs. Projects range from websites and interactive media to full scale motion graphics, 3D illustration and animation as well as print design. Clients include Liberty Mutual, Hasbro, EMC, MFS, Gillette, Dunkin Brands and more. In his spare time he writes music for film and television with placements on CBS sports, MTV, Ellen Degeneres and others. Dave also is an avid photographer and shoots landscapes as well as action (yep, Red Sox Games) and urban settings.
Tzvia Berrin-Reinstein contributed to many of the brief bios on the BostonBall site.
if you have any questions, or would like additional information, please email Bill.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
Providing adequate credits for any site can be a daunting task. We certainly would want to err on the side of giving “extra credit” rather than omitting someone. On the other hand, the credit line that runs at the bottom of the main pages must necessarily be very brief and not take up too much room. The “click here” button which brought you here gives us a chance to say a little more by way of expressing appreciation and giving credit.
We all pick up on what has come before. Toward that end, I want to give huge credit to three organizations. The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is a nonprofit research group which dates back to 1971. SABR members have been at the forefront of both historical research and statistical modeling in baseball. Data collected by SABR members, for instance, populates the minor-league data offered on Baseball-Reference.com, the starting of the home run logs on Retrosheet.org and Baseball-Reference.com, etc.
On BostonBall.com, each of the players has a brief biography (except for currently-active Red Sox players). There are also around 500 longer biographies. Those longform biographies were all written by SABR members, for SABR’s BioProject. Through arrangements with both Retrosheet.org and Baseball-Reference.com, the bios are also available on those sites. So far, BioProject has produced over 2,600 bios, which are all available on the SABR site. We present the bios of those players and other personalities (managers, coaches, executives, broadcasters, etc.) who have worked with the Red Sox at one time or another. Those are the 500-some longer form bios. I’ve written over 350 of them myself. Starting in 2013, SABR became part of the method for more objectively determining the winners of the annual Rawlings Gold Glove Awards.
I couldn’t have written those bios without consulting Retrosheet.org and Baseball-Reference.com. It is a very rare day when I don’t look up something on both of those sites.
Retrosheet.org is a non-profit, as well, and holds its annual meeting each year at SABR’s national convention. There is considerable overlap between SABR members and Retrosheet researchers. Those who work for Retrosheet don’t get their names as authors on the work they do, but they have -- quite anonymously -- provided the basis on which all the data for the various others sites is based, and with which biographies can be better informed. I did a little of the work myself once, just to see what the nuts and bolts were like – basically it took looking up boxscores of (as I recall) 1931 ballgames in local newspapers and entering the data found there. The wizards at Retrosheet compile all the data and double-check and cross-foot it, to make sure it all adds up correctly. That said, there will probably always be mysteries and mistakes. Newspaper boxscores sometimes contradict each other – but these researchers care, very deeply, about their work. And even the smallest scrap of information is welcome. Data collected by Retrosheet underscores much of the material presented on Baseball-Reference.com. As they say, “Much of the play-by-play, game results, and transaction information both shown and used to create certain data sets was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by RetroSheet.”
Baseball-Reference.com is copyrighted by Sports Reference LLC, with all rights reserved. The Baseball-Reference.com site is much more oriented toward contemporary ball. At some point in the morning, visitors to the site can already look up play-by-play from the games of the night before. BR.com also provides minor-league information, Japanese Baseball history, etc. etc., and offers numerous tools for digging more deeply into various aspects of the game.
We express immense thanks to all those involved in these three important data sources, and to all who have tirelessly worked to document the game we all love.