The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2001

 

The Toy I Was Born To Have

Here's something so cool and handy that I just can't stop playing with it. Sean Forman of Baseball-Reference.com, the amazing online baseball encyclopedia, has written a bookmarklet to use with his site, allowing you to look up any player in the BR database from anywhere on the web.

I'd never heard of bookmarklets until a couple days ago. They're fairly simple, in that they run on JavaScript, are platform-independent, and can be written by just about anyone. One thing they can do is allow a user to define his or her own hyperlinks. First, you drag a bookmarklet from a page to your browser toolbar, where it can rest among your most popular bookmarks. Then, you can highlight text on any web page (it doesn't even have to be hyperlinked), click on the bookmarklet--and presto, you arrive at the results page of a search. In this case, by highlighing the name of a player on any web page (say, a news article), clicking on the "BR.com Search" bookmarklet, you're taken to that player's complete statistics from the Baseball-Reference web site.

There are other kinds of bookmarklets, and hundreds of them available for the taking at the Bookmarklets web site. I pulled a search-engine one, which lets you either highlight text or else enter your search string before going to the page, and a dictionary one which is pretty handy. But the BR.com Search one is the type of tool/toy I've been dreaming of for a long, long time.

Statheads everywhere already had reason to bow before Sean for his awesome site, which is fast, easy to use, chock-full of a million different types of useful baseball data, and the greatest thing since sliced bread. Now they have another reason. Thank you, Sean!

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