If you’re a baseball fan, you almost certainly know and love Baseball-Reference.com. Or FanGraphs. And you just take it for granted that every single baseball statistic you could possibly want — and many you’ll never, ever need — will be available to you with a couple of clicks.
That was not always the case, of course. Heck, even when Baseball-Reference.com was the only game in town there was a time when it only updated once a year, with new stats only becoming available at the conclusion of each season. The ages, they were dark.
But what about before that? If you were obsessively into baseball before 2000 or so and you wanted historical statistics, you either (a) used the backs of baseball cards; or (b) relied on giant baseball encyclopedias like Total Baseball or the original Baseball Encyclopedia. The latter of which was first published in 1969 and went through several editions.
Today at FiveThirtyEight, Rob Neyer has the story of how the original Baseball Encyclopedia came to be. It wasn’t a committee project or something commissioned by a big corporation to fill a commercial niche. At least not at first. Rather, it’s a neat story involving the intersection of one man’s boredom, curiosity and baseball obsession.
Which, if we’re being honest, applies to a lot of us too.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.
Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.
After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.
Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.
Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.
Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.