The Baseball Cube


History of The Baseball Cube

History of The Baseball Cube

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History of TBC
Established in 2003, The Baseball Cube was named after the data concept of multi-dimensional data analysis (Data cubes). A cube is a block of data containing dimensions and facts that used as a source to provide reports in customizable views. TBC is essentially a giant block of multi-dimensional baseball data.

The site was created by me, Gary Cohen. I grew up an Expos fan and consumed baseball morning, day and night as a child. The sport was introduced to me by my father and something about it, early on, connected it to me the way that other sports could not.I loved hockey too but in many ways, it connected me more to Canada and the culture rather than to anything personal. For baseball, it was personal. Though I loved the mechanics of the game itself, often saying you could find God in the perfection of the geometry of a stolen base, I found myself attracted more to the numbers. The ability to compare players statistically. As I grew older, I became additionally interested in not just how well a player performed but also in how he arrived there.

The "path to greatness" fascinates me. It can apply to just about any profession. For baseball, I view the path as a long-term tournament over the course of many years where young athletes compete with each other, over and over, to move up to the next stage of the tournament. At a younger age, kids must show a knack. As they get older, they must show physicality and perserverance and committment and mental toughness. As they mature, many will fall. The tournament is a game of survivor. You must place well in each stage to advance. I am living this path through my daughter. As an 8-year old in a rec league, to making her first travel team at age 10, to making her provincial team at age 13 and now to being a college player ... I have seen this up close. It is the journey of the athlete, the distinctness of these journies between players that is the true inspiration for The Baseball Cube.

I believe the site had always lived inside of me as a child. Growing up with tens of thousands baseball cards, organizing them into categories. Grouping players by college or place of birth. I bought the Sporting News Baseball Registers and would read the player blocks like they were a book (See the Multi-Player Stat Viewers). The registers showed more information than baseball cards. They showed a player`s high school and college. They showed their minor league stats. They even showed some players without Major League experience. But those minor league stats...seeing how a Major League star fared in the minors. Looking at video-game stats for young prospects got me excited about future Expos players (Cliff Floyd + Vlad Guerrero!) and it was fun to identify high school and college teammates. But those player blocks ... I loved them ... but as informative and interesting to me as they were, they still were not complete.

As I grew older, it was time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and some paths led nowhere. Accounting was a dead end. Office manager...not my thing. Amid the vacuum of a career path, some thoughts started to emerge, as if placed there by divine intervention. The brain will work for you if forced. In the early 2000s, I discovered, upon right-clicking on an Internet page, the "View Source" option. This would allow you to know exactly how that HTML page was programmed. I had always loved to play with code and I learned HTML quickly and realized that when I woke up in the morning, that all I wanted to do was learn more. And thus my passion for information technology was discovered. This path introduced me to databases and another connection was made. I loved data and databses. I remember a day at the dinner table with my parents and my father asked me the pointed question about what I wanted to do with my life. "I don't know" I replied. "You need to start thinking about that" he said. "I like baseball stats..." My father shook his head and firmly said "You can`t make money with baseball statistics"

So I started building web sites and learning how to code pages content from a database. All self-taught. I built a few crappy web sites with no value to the public but I gained experience in coding. I can still remember the day where I had a page with 2 frames. A list of players on the left and on the right, player information. Clicking the player name on the left would show all the information for the player on the right. Though not necessarily an earth-shattering discovery, at the time, it was a jolt of energy to me. I could do it... I enrolled in an IT program at University. I got my degree. My obsession with baseball and the Internet were now colliding and something was bound to be born from this. I graduated University and in 2003, The Baseball Cube was born.

The site started out small. MLB stats only which hardly made it value-added. So I added minor league data. But not in a separate area. Together with the MLB stats, like the baseball registers. And then I added player attributes like high school and colleges attended. And suddenly, I had built my own online Baseball Register and the baseball world loved seeing MLB/Minor stats combined. But it wasn`t enough. This was when I discovered another important thing about myself. I work REALLY hard.

It was never enough. Minor League stats were a hit and so I started digging for College stats. I added D1 stats and now the player grid had Todd Helton's stats at Tennessee, in the minors and with the Rockies. To me, it was a beautiful thing. Though I continued to add more and more data elements from that point, the site hit a wall.

The site struggled with its identify. Many other sites sprung up and started to not only add more content, but they added more width to the stats. Analytics. Moneyball had taken hold and while other sites embraced the new metrics, The Baseball Cube was fighting with itself. Trying to find a presentation that worked, let alone focusing on the data. The competition was not only presenting these new stats, they were inventing new metrics. TBC was still just a longer view of baseball card stats. The advent of smart phones and tables also presented a struggle for TBC. As a 1-person operation, building a useable site that balances content, revenue and accessibility became a challenge beyond my reach.

In more recent years, the site has focused more on providing more types of data and providing services for the more fanatic of fans. The PREMIUM section and TRACKER service are 2 tools built to monetize the site and provide more value-added to site visitors. There is a Data Store that allows you to pay for data downloads.

And now, the focus is back on finding better ways to present the data. In 2022, TBC developed a new site that was (finally) mobile-friendly, and deeper in content for both the free and PREMIUM users. The architecture now complete, the site will continue to focus on longitudinal view of data and the most complete player statistics history available.

In conclusion, the site is a life-long project. It has brought me emails from the names and teams I saw on the baseball cards on the floor of my bedroom. It brought me to a Major League front office and I have had contact with baseball operations analysts, scouts and even reporters. It has been a fun ride and I look forward to the next several years to see where it takes me.

Thanks again for your support and remember that suggestions make the site. Please don't hesitate to help direct the future of The Baseball Cube.