David S. Neft (1936- ) was the driving force behind The Baseball Encyclopedia, affectionately known to a generation of baseball fans as “Big Mac.” It was published by Macmillan in 1969, totaling 2,338 pages and weighing six and a half pounds. Working for Information Concepts Inc., David led the work that produced the Big Mac, which was the first computer-based compilation of baseball records, setting the stage for much of what has come since. The three-year task filled in many gaps in the official data from the early years of baseball history, especially from the 19th century. After leaving ICI, David established The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball with partner Richard M. Cohen, creating an annual publication updated each spring. He broadened his research to include basketball and football encyclopedias, but it is his precise and painstaking baseball investigations which established his reputation.
- Click here to read Mark Armour’s profile of Neft in the Summer 2010 edition of the Baseball Research Journal
- Listen to highlights from David Neft’s one-on-one conversation with John Thorn from the 2017 SABR Convention
- Listen to highlights from The Baseball Encyclopedia 50th anniversary panel from the 2019 SABR Convention
- Listen to a 2022 SABR Oral History interview with David Neft, by Brian Hall