BRANCH RICKEY, PIONEERING SABERMETRICIAN. Branch Rickey is best remembered for being instrumental in Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color line in baseball. This article by William Juliano recalls that Branch Rickey pioneered the use of statistics in baseball. Juliano links to a Life magazine article from August 2, 1954 which has a picture of Rickey posing in front of an elaborate formula which gives emphasis, among other things, to on base percentages. (It was many years later that on base percentages, now considered of great importance, became readily available to the average fan.) In 1947 Rickey hired a full time statistician, who among other duties, recorded every pitch in games played by Rickey’s Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey believed that on base percentage is more important than slugging percentage, something I have just learned in the last year. (Sabermatricians now estimate that on base percentage is almost twice as important as slugging percentage.)

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