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Must-Click Link: Sherri Nichols, Sabermetic Pioneer


If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.

While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.

The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.

A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.

A great read and a great history lesson.

The Milwaukee Brewers perform “The Sandlot”

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A lot of teams do funny promo videos during spring training. The Seattle Mariners have led the league in this category for years now, with their marketing and p.r. folks producing and a lot of game and sometimes hammy players starring in some excellent clips. They’re doing them again this year, if you’re curious.

The Milwaukee Brewers have hopped on the humor train in 2018, and their latest entry in this category of commercials is excellent. It’s their riff on “The Sandlot.”

The biggest difference: Smalls really could kill you in this one. Brett Phillips is a lot more jacked than the kid who played Scotty in the original was.

The Beast, however, is just as terrifying now as he was in 1993.