Neyer: When does a franchise end?

From SABR member Rob Neyer at on July 23, 2014:

One great thing about the SABR Convention? It’s one of the few places in the world where a majority of the people in the room will care about something like this …

Monday, made a significant revision to its historical record. As Mike Lynch wrote:

Baseball-Reference has made the move to dissociate the New York Yankees franchise from the 1901 & 1902 Baltimore Orioles (not connected to the current Baltimore Orioles franchise). This adjustment allows us to fall in line with the Yankees franchise itself and most references including Total Baseball, edited by MLB’s official historian, John Thorn, who authored an interesting history of the move …


This move was precipitated by the BAL/NYY joint record approaching the milestone of 10,000 wins, which caused a reassessment of how we approach this move.

Now, a few things here that get my alarm bells ringing.

One, is an independent and highly influential source; the Yankees should be taking their cue from rather than the other way around. Two, the last edition of Total Baseball was published quite some time ago. Why wait until now? And three, maybe the answer is because of that milestone … but should the timing of a data-driven policy change hinge upon an impending milestone?

None of which means it’s bad policy. Just ill-timed. I actually came across this news on a website called I Hate JJ Redick, which might tell you something about the blog’s management. Anyway, the writer’s a Baltimore guy (probably a guy, anyway) who has quite a parochial take on the matter.

Granted, reasonable people can disagree about this thing. But some of the game’s leading historians have taken the position that the two franchises should be considered separately.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 23, 2014. Last Updated: July 23, 2014.