Under the Knife: Latest MLB Injury Updates

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Under the Knife: Latest MLB Injury Updates
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Sean Forman is awesome. His site, Baseball-Reference.com, is one of the crown jewels of baseball research. What happened on this date in 1937? What did Kiki Cuyler do in his first game in the bigs? How did Jason Motte do late in the season during his career? If you can think of the question, Baseball-Reference can probably give you the answer.

I can go back and look at the first game I ever went to at Wrigley, one where I was sure that Gary Carter hit a walk-off home run, only to find that while Carter did hit a homer, it was in the third inning. Memories fall victim to facts, which is as it should be.

But then we get to injuries. Even when Bill James was still guarding a bean factory, he had box scores. When someone wants to look to historical injuries, there's almost nothing. MLB simply did not collect this data until very recently, and even that wasn't cataloged. The infamous Redbook of the 1990s was discontinued. 

I say "almost" because David Neft did a lot of research putting together the best available database of injuries that exists for historical injuries. It's not perfect and it's not widely available, but the work that Neft did is pretty amazing. The effort that is necessary to maintain the injury database that I keep is not insignificant, so I can't imagine what Neft had to go through to come up with his.

As I said, it's not perfect. It misses a lot of injuries, especially minor ones, and has a hard time dealing with some of the vagaries of the disabled list, like the September problem and the career-ending injury, but it's better than anything else out there.

One of these days, I hope that I can publish my database, freed from HIPAA concerns, but until then, I'll keep using it behind the scenes as we try to figure out how to reduce injuries and have more good players in the box scores, rather than the DL reports.

On to the injuries.

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