New Series: Expanded League Record Book

I started following this league in 2006. Back in those days, I could only find statistics through two years prior- the seasons of 2004, 2005, along with 2006. So the record books I started to build at that time reflected only the seasons from 2004. (There were all kinds of rumors about who had played in the league before that, but how could I be sure? How could the record books be accurate?)

So when in August, 2020, a major league team reached out to the Valley League asking for old stats (specifically, VBL stats for every drafted player from 1997 through 2009), I obviously had a problem. To complete a project like this, I would first need to locate old stats from about 1995 up through 2003. Then I would need to enter every player who appeared in a game into my database, and then use that database to cross reference Baseball America’s draft lists. After I had built the draft lists, then I could fill out the actual summer statistics for those players.

Thanks to Bruce Alger and Jim Phillips (and a little ingenuity on my part, too), the old stats were located. After about two months, I finally finished the stats for the MLB team (and my contact person even said thank you!).

One of the unintended benefits from collecting the old stats is that I now have reams and reams of data I can use for future (current?) research.

For example, I now have the final team stats for every one of those seasons, and I could tell you the overall slash line and ERA of the entire 26 years… and which team hit the most home runs or struck out the most, for example. My draft lists are now complete back through 1996. I can eventually do a countdown of the best hitting lineups and pitching staffs, and, heck, maybe even best teams. And another one of the pieces of research has been to expand the league record book from 2004-2019 to a full 26 seasons, 1994-2019 (more than a quarter century!).

In this offseason, when we’re all a little desperate for “normal,” as I typically did each offseason, I will now post sections of the brand-new, expanded league record book. I will also link each section in a page at the top of this website, so you, Brilliant Reader, can refer back as often as you need to. These posts will be in between the silly matchups a few of you have been voting on the last few months.

So stay tuned for the first record book category- batting average!

4 comments

  1. Good stuff. Interesting to say the least. Curious as to why they/you were only going back to 1996? Selfishly, I played in 1980 and briefly in 1981 and often have referenced some of the guys I played with and the fact that I was in the top of players who hit HR’s in ’80 which admittedly is totally anecdotal – which works for me and those folks I’m regaling with stories as it’s typically in a bar or at a family gathering where my memory is ‘fueled’ appropriately LOL. Seriously, I’d love to know how our stats in 1980 compare to the years you’ve compiled. Regardless, great work and thanks for the effort. John Fasola, Waynesboro Generals (played for Larry Dofflemyer).

    • Awesome stuff, John, thanks for commmenting! I have stats back through 1994. I’ve checked around about stats older than that, but I’ve been unable to locate them. My hunch is that old newspapers might be the only way to get them… and that includes a time outlay I just can’t give. If you have any lists or anything, I’d love to see them! – John

  2. John Leonard – Brilliant and fascinating. Looking forward to this treasure trove of info. (Accurate) numbers don’t fabricate, but without them, tales get taller and taller. Which MLB team made the request that opened this door?

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