Richard D. Cramer has been doing baseball analytics for just about
as long as anyone alive, even before the term "sabermetrics"
existed. He started analyzing baseball statistics as a hobby in the
mid-1960s, not long after graduating from Harvard and MIT. He was a
research scientist for SmithKline and in his spare time used his
work computer to test his theories about baseball statistics. One
of his earliest discoveries was that clutch hitting—then one of the
most sacred pieces of received wisdom in the game—didn't really
exist. In When Big Data Was Small Cramer recounts his life and
remarkable contributions to baseball knowledge. In 1971 Cramer
learned about the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and
began working with Pete Palmer, whose statistical work is credited
with providing the foundation on which SABR is built. Cramer
cofounded STATS Inc. and began working with the Houston
Astros, Oakland A's, Yankees, and White Sox, with the help of his
new Apple II computer. Yet for Cramer baseball was always a side
interest, even if a very intense one for most of the last forty
years. His main occupation, which involved other "big data"
activities, was that of a chemist who pioneered the use of
specialized analytics, often known as computer-aided drug
discovery, to help guide the development of pharmaceutical drugs.
After a decade-long hiatus, Cramer returned to baseball analytics
in 2004 and has done important work with Retrosheet since
then. When Big Data Was Small is the story of the earliest
days of baseball analytics and computer-aided drug discovery.