Sean Lahman

Sean Lahman (born June 9, 1968) (pronounced "lay-men")[1] is an author and journalist.[2] He currently is a reporter for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle[3] and frequently makes public appearances to speak about database journalism, data mining and open source databases.[4][5][6][7] Since 2011 he has also written a weekly column on emerging technology and patents.[8]

Sports research

He is most noted for the Lahman Baseball Database,[9] a collection of baseball statistics for every team and player in Major League history. Starting in 1995, he made this database freely available for download from the Internet, helping to launch a new era of baseball research by making the raw data available to everyone.[10] In addition to fostering research, the Lahman Database also made it possible for baseball simulation games, such as Baseball Mogul and Out of the Park Baseball, to recreate historical seasons from actual baseball history.

In the mid-1990s, Lahman created the first online baseball encyclopedia at his Baseball Archive website. He later sold the website to Total Sports and became senior editor for that company's print publishing division. The encyclopedia disappeared from the web when Total Sports declared bankruptcy. It was later reborn as,[11] and Lahman resurrected the Baseball Archive website as a platform to continue the free distribution of his database. He currently works with the Society for American Baseball Research to coordinate data collection projects,[12] including an effort to build a database for minor league baseball [13]

Lahman's efforts to document the statistical history of sports have gone beyond baseball. Since the late 1990s, he has edited or contributed to the definitive encyclopedias for baseball, professional football, professional basketball, and tennis.[14] In the late 1990s, Lahman launched the Football Project, an effort to collect, digitize, and distribute play-by-play accounts from NFL games back to 1920. In 2010, he served on a "blue ribbon" panel assembled by NFL Films for the ten-part documentary series called The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players. [15] He has also appeared as a guest on the MLB Network show "Behind the Seams."[16]


From 1998 to 2007, Lahman was an editor or contributor to more than a dozen sports encyclopedias ,[17] including:

  • three editions of Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball
  • five editions of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia
  • two editions of the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia
  • Total Tennis: The Ultimate Tennis Encyclopedia
  • Total Basketball: The Ultimate Basketball Encyclopedia
  • Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia

In addition to these encyclopedias, Lahman has written several other books on sports history. He created the annual Pro Football Prospectus in 2002 and produced the first three editions in the series. His 2008 book The Pro Football Historical Abstract received the Nelson Ross Award, presented annually for "outstanding achievement in pro football research and historiography" by the Pro Football Researchers Association.

Other work

Lahman was senior editor for Total Sports Publishing from 1999 to 2001. He later served as a sports reporter for the New York Sun from 2003 until the paper's demise in 2008. [18]


  1. Lahman tweets on pronunciation of his name, retrieved 2014-06-03
  2. News MVP winners reflect efforts to expand digital content, archived from the original on 2012-03-20, retrieved 2011-05-08
  3. Democrat and Chronicle, archived from the original on 2013-01-21, retrieved 2010-06-22
  4. MuckRack: Dissecting data for good storytelling
  5. Society for American Baseball Research 43rd annual convention
  6. New York State Associated Press Association 2011 workshop Archived 2011-08-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. Social Media and Communications Symposium, Rochester Institute of Technology, 2010
  8. Lahman column at Democrat & Chronicle, retrieved 2012-05-22
  9. Lahman Baseball Database download page, retrieved 2008-10-05
  10. Interview with Baseball Database Innovator Sean Lahman, archived from the original on 2012-01-08, retrieved 2012-03-09
  11. Baseball Reference: Our Sources, Contributors and Collaborators
  12. Lahman To Serve As SABR Data Project Point of Contact, retrieved 2012-03-22
  13. SABR Historical Minor League Statistics, retrieved 2012-04-11
  14. Interview with Baseball Database Innovator Sean Lahman, archived from the original on 2012-01-08, retrieved 2012-03-09
  15. NFL Films' Top 100 Greatest Players, archived from the original on 2013-04-15
  16. "Behind The Seams: Decoding The DH" premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET, retrieved 2012-12-13
  17. List of Sean Lahman's Books, archived from the original on 2008-07-06, retrieved 2008-10-05
  18. New York Sun archive, retrieved 2008-10-05
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