Monday, June 26, 2006

This is ... unfortunate...

Several years ago, Baseball Reference went on line with the greatest reference source that any baseball fan could want. Every player, every team, every season, all there to look up. What happened? What did he do? Who led the league? All there at the click of a mouse.

Well, the database has a unique player identifier for every player in the history of the game. It consists of the first 5 letters of the last name, followed by the first 2 letters of the first name, and then an index. Most players are 01, but if the name segments aren't unique, you get 02, 03, etc. This is a fine system, it works well.

But it's resulted in an index name that is ... unfortunate. The Red Sox Kevin Youkilis was referred to in _Moneyball_ as "the Greek God of walks." But Kevin's not Greek. What he happens to be is Jewish. And that's where it gets unfortuate, because if you combine the first five letters of his last name ("youki") with the first two letters of his first name ("ke"), you wind up with an index that you probably don't want for a Jewish player…



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