Help:Editing demographic information

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The demographic information on a person includes the person's name, dates and places of birth and death, and place of burial, as well as his batting and throwing hand, height, and typical playing weight.


[edit] Processes

The process for recommending a change to a person's demographic data depends on whether the person appeared in the Major Leagues in some capacity.

[edit] People with Major League experience

The SABR Biographical Research Committee is responsible for compiling and maintaining the authoritative demographic information on people who played, managed, coached, or umpired in the Major Leagues. These people can also be identified in the Encyclopedia by the legend "SABR Biographical Research Committee" appearing in the box containing their demographic information. To recommend a correction or update to this information, contact the Biographical Research Committee chair (currently Bill Carle -

[edit] People without Major League experience

There is no comparable central authoritative dataset for demographic information for people outside the purview of the Biographical Research Committee. The maintenance of demographic information on these people is organized within the SABR Encyclopedia itself. To recommend a change to demographic information, click the "Edit" link which appears in the box containing the person's demographic information.

All changes are reviewed by an Encyclopedia editor. In order for a change to be accepted, proper source documentation should be added to the person's sources section. Unsourced changes will not be approved.

[edit] Guidelines for making changes

Conclusively determining demographic information on people can be difficult. The demographic information in many sources is not carefully reviewed, and in some cases, demographic information has been deliberately misrepresented by players and teams. Determining the most accurate information requires patience and persistence. The SABR Encyclopedia addresses these practicalities in two ways:

  1. All submissions of demographic information require published, citable sources. While the information in those sources need not be fully accurate, tracking the sources records the origin of the information displayed. If new sources are found with conflicting information, it is possible to compare the sources and analyze the disagreement.
  2. There is an explicit mechanism for handling disagreement, when different sources contain conflicting information. With demographic information, especially demographic information for people who were not Major Leaguers, it is recommended to use the disagreement mechanisms liberally.

As a rule of thumb, the demographic information on a person's page should only be changed when a new source presents strong evidence in favor of new information. In the case where it is not certain whether a new source's information is compelling enough to make a change, place the {{disagree-person-demographics}} template on the person's page, and add an entry to the person's talk page outlining the content of the new source.

The following subsections give advice on how to implement these guidelines in specific cases which commonly arise.

[edit] Dates of birth

Throughout the history of baseball, it has been a routine practice for players to misrepresent their age. Prior to about World War II, the evidence suggests a majority of players lied about their age, and that the practice was often encouraged by clubs. Therefore, with dates of birth, sources which were published later are generally more likely to be correct, especially when the source that was published later gives an earlier date of birth. When changing a date of birth based on a source published after a player's career, such as from SSDI or an obituary, citing the source is particularly important.

For players prior to about 1970, the Encyclopedia contains estimated birth years for many players based on ages quoted in various publications. These are identified by having only the birth year, and not the birth month or day, filled in. These should be treated as provisional, and if a source is found giving a specific date of birth for the person, the estimated year from the Encyclopedia can simply be discarded.

[edit] Birthplace versus hometown

The birthplace, as the SABR Encyclopedia defines it, is the physical location at which the person was born. When determining the place of birth, beware that many sources confuse this in two ways:

  1. The city in which a person was born need not be the city in which he resided immediately after birth. For instance, it is not uncommon for people born in a hospital to be born in a city that is different than their (more specifically, their parents') city of residence. Many team publications relied (and in some cases, still do rely) on self-reporting of this information, and a player may report the city in which they resided immediately after birth rather than the physical birthplace.
  2. Birthplace and place of current residence are also often confused and conflated. This happens even today, where the "place of birth" reported by MLBAM for newly-signed players is often the city in which they resided when drafted or signed. Place of residence should never be entered into the birthplace field. Place of residence is, however, potentially useful information in identifying a person. Places of residence can be included in a player's brief profile in the main text of the page. When mentioning a place of residence, be sure to include the timeframe being referred to, and the source.

[edit] Using and citing SSDI

The Social Security Death Index is often a useful resource for tracking down the passing of people in the Encyclopedia. Here are some guidelines for using SSDI.

Remember that the primary function of SSDI is not as a genealogical resource; it's an administrative function of the Social Security Administration. Therefore, dates of birth and death should be treated as approximate. If no date of death is known for a person, then the date of death as in SSDI can be used as the person's date of death. However, it is preferred to obtain an obituary for a person, and in the event SSDI and an obituary disagree on the date of death, the obituary date should always be used unless there is clear evidence of a clerical error in the obituary.

Similarly, dates of birth should be treated as approximate. For players who misrepresented their age during their careers, SSDI sometimes reveals the correct date of birth for the person. However, for people who registered for Social Security as an adult (for those who were foreign-born or born before Social Security was established), some may have misrepresented their age to make themselves older than they were, to begin drawing benefits earlier.

SSDI also reports the city in which the last benefits were drawn. Note that this need not be, and often is not, the city in which the person passed away. In fact, it need not even be their city of residence at the time of their passing; for instance, persons whose financial affairs are being managed by a family member will have the address to which the benefits are being sent, i.e., the address of the family member. These should not be used to determine the place in which the person died.

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