Steve Slowinski on sabermetric history

By Jason Wojciechowski on July 15, 2010 at 10:20 PM

I'd rather just post this as a comment on DRaysBay, but you can't do that until three days after you sign up with the site, so I make my own post here instead.

Steve Slowinski wrote a nice description of wOBA, a stat I don't love for reasons I can explain later (and have explained elsewhere). In it, though, he writes, "These are the sort of questions that plagued saberists for a number of years, until someone (Tom Tango, I believe) decided to run some empirical tests and establish - once and for all - the value of different offensive outcomes." Isn't that wrong? Here's the wiki at Tango's site on linear weights (which are, of course, at the bottom of wOBA): "The pioneer of Linear Weights was Canadian sabermetrician George Lindsey, but the concept was expanded upon and popularized with [Pete] Palmer's Batting Runs." Lindsey and Palmer go back decades.

Nobody else seems to have brought this up, so maybe I'm misunderstanding something and Slowinski's statement is totally justified. As I understand what he's saying, though, and as I understand sabermetric history, he glosses over years of important work by giants in the field.