Surely one of the great treasures of Major League Baseball is its bounty of statistics. Though the game endured a dramatic evolution from its roots in folk games like rounders and cricket in the 18th-century, it has remained largely unchanged since the late 19th-century, when the National League was formed. This means of course that you can compare, fairly meaningfully, the players of today to the players of yesterday, going back over a hundred years. Baseball fans are not only afforded the pleasure of statistical comparisons–impressed by A-Rod’s 156 RBI this year? see Hack Wilson, 1930–but they’re acquainted with the history and biography of the game…

Why aren’t NFL (or NBA) statistics as scrutinized and debated and celebrated as MLB (or NHL) statistics? Football has plenty of individual and teams stats to choose from: rushing, receiving, and passing yards/TDs; sacks, tackles, and interceptions; points scored and allowed; wins, losses, and playoff productivity… The Web site baseball-reference.com is one of the best sources anywhere for baseball statistics and records. Why are its sister sites for football, basketball, and hockey so woefully bereft of data?…

Commissioner Roger Goodell has toughened up the NFL’s policies for on- and off-field mistakes by its current players. And he’s still seeking a compromise with former NFL players on how to compensate them for the physical sacrifices they made to the game before its players and its health coverage were well-funded. What better way to focus on a positive element of the game and its players than by honoring a current player’s significant statistical achievement and the greats of the game he’s passed?…