Statistics are all the rage in sports these days. Professional organizations are analyzing data in ways that have never been implemented before so that those clubs can find ways to get a leg up on the competition.

But statistics have been around for a long, long time. Baseball is one of the pioneers of keeping track of specific statistics, beginning back in the 1950s. Since then, statistics have become a significant staple in sports across the globe.

Statistics History

Though stats weren’t recognized widely by fans until the 1950s, stat-keeping goes back to the 1850s. Henry Chadwick, a journalist, was frustrated by the lack of record-keeping and began to print tallies of basic game stats. These stats are used today, including hits, runs, errors, batting averages, and strikeouts.

Because of these statistics, Chadwick’s achievements began to grow. He helped to formulate many of the early rules that governed play and equipment and was the first to compile annual performance statistics. For this, he was inducted posthumously into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938.

Modern Stats

Since then, stats began to undergo serious changes. Beginning with the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) in 1971 and spreading into the 1980s where Bill James started writing about statistical analysis (which spawned “Moneyball”).

Today, many teams across the major leagues employ statistical analytics departments. They look into statistics that aren’t necessarily publicly kept – things such as bat speed, angle of a pitcher’s throw, and so on – to find trends that they can exploit.

These trends in data analytics have changed the way executives look at the athletes themselves. Though a player may not have a ton of home runs or runs batted in, they may still be incredibly valuable due to their ability to get on base and create runs.

Stats like these continue to evolve and provide importance for major league clubs around the country and in leagues around the globe. What these stats hold for the future remains to be seen.