David W. Smith

From BR Bullpen

David W. Smith at SABR.jpg

David W. Smith founded Retrosheet in 1989 and was its leader until 2022, when he stepped down in favor of Tom Thress. He had a dream of collecting play-by-play data for as many games in major league history as possible, and by the end of the 2000s had achieved the remarkable total of 120,000 game accounts, all freely accessible on the organization's web site retrosheet.org. This represents 60% of all major league games ever played, and the total keeps growing.

The database compiled by Smith has been a tremendous help to researchers, and in particular in allowing Baseball-Reference.com to integrate a play-by-play database to its website (of which the BR Bullpen is part), adding additional search functionalities. Retrosheet is now the backbone of a huge quantity of historical and statistical research, and Smith's vision and generosity have greatly influenced the research community over the more than three decades during which he led the project. It must be remembered that Retrosheet was created at a time when the information was available only for pay from professional statistical firms, greatly hampering amateur researchers' access to the data. Smith's approach changed all that.

In civilian life, David is a professor of microbiology at the University of Delaware.

In 2012, he was honored with the Chadwick Award.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Lyle Spatz: "David Smith", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 41, Number 2 (Fall 2012), p. 103.
  • David Vincent, Lyle Spatz and David W. Smith: The Mid-Summer Classic: The Complete History of Baseball's All-Star Game, Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2001. ISBN 978-0803292734

Related Sites[edit]