Box Score etc.

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 10 08:16:12 UTC 2010

Unless I am mistaken, OED does not have an entry for "Box Score" ==
"Statistical summary of a game in table format, including the
breakdown of the record of each team and often of each player". Seems
to have originated with US baseball--MWOL lists it back to 1913, to 1911-15 (no specific citations). At this point, the
format has become ubiquitous for all team sports, and not just in US,
but I am not sure the phrasing is used in other Anglophone countries.
These exist in multiple formats, some emphasizing the team performance
in a game, some listing all players. They even exist for curling.

I have not checked early uses yet [see below--1902 seems likely, 1905
definite]. But seems to be a good candidate for an entry in a
dictionary that does not have it yet. Or maybe it does have it, but
only in notes.

Another candidate for an entry is Tukey's "Box-and-Whiskers
Graph/Chart". With this one, it should be possible to track down first
use. Tukey coined several dozen graphical representations of data,
quite a number of which are in frequent use in the profession, but a
good half-dozen made it into math textbooks in the US in the last two
decades. B&W is one of them, "Stem-and-Leaf" is another (sometimes
a.k.a. "stemplot"). "Scatterplot" does not have a separate entry or
one as a single word, but it /is/ listed as "scatter diagram" under
Scatter n. 5. This one, however, precedes Tukey by four decades. I
appreciate that it's mentioned at all, but current usage is much more
likely to be "scatterplot" as one or two words, sometimes hyphenated.
"Scatter diagram" is less frequent today (although the difference in
GB hits over the past 20 years is only 25%).

I don't have a copy of Tukey's seminal work on the subject
(Exploratory Data Analysis), but every library has a copy. Note,
however, that some of his suggestions have not taken off and several
had their names modified over time. But the two above
(Box-and-Whiskers and Stem-and-Leaf) are quite common and are now of
some importance in education. After all, if we are teaching them as
terms in primary school textbooks, they should be in dictionaries too.
I'd be less concerned if they were limited to high-school books.


PS: a quick run through GB gives "1904 AP bulletin" for "box score".
But the year is wrong. The text is actually from 1910 (November 6).

> The world's championship baseball series, played at Philadelphia and Chicago, was handled with exceptional thoroughness and brought out many commendatory telegrams and letters from newspaper editors. The games were reported play-by-play, direct from the grounds and practically instantaneous, followed immediately on the conclusion of the game with box-score and brief bulletin lead.
> The plans worked with the precision of clockwork. At Philadelphia the trunk wires were in direct communication with the ball park, with loops to the local and state papers. Mr. Abrams of the Philadelphia office dictated the graphic description of the game by innings to an operator from that office, Mr. Weadon on the first game and Mr. Bartholomew on the second. The comprehensive story early in the day, with line-up, etc., and the descriptive night lead came from Mr. Reitinger of the Philadelphia office. The report was marked throughout by the unvarying precision and promptness with which every detail came through. At the close of the first day's game, the Spokane Chronicle telegraphed: "Congratulations on rapid and satisfactory report of championship baseball gime to-day. Chronicle beat all competitors by twenty-five minutes." Atlanta also reported conditions in the South as follows: ' Opposition beaten out of sight on base' all."
> The handling of the Chicago end of the championship games, which won general apptoval for the crispness, sprightliness anc! accuracy of the report, was the work of Christian D. Hagerty and W. P. F. Hayes. Mr. Hagerty dictated the running story of the game play-by-play, and wrote the leads, while Mr. Hayes took care of the box-score for instantaneous transmission when tue last player was declared out.
Mr. Hagerty is .1 veteran of many world's series, having covered those
of 1906-07-08 in similar fashion. The accuracy of the score of Mr.
Hayes was proved when the official scorer of the game of October 22nd
amended his score to coincide with that of The Associated Press.
Claude Powell, Chief operator of the Chicago office, and Milton
Garges, assistant chief operator, attended to the telegraphic
transmission of the report, their work being flawless for the three
games played in Chicago.

Once 1904 is ruled out (all the 1800s hits are false), the next one up
is 1905. This is the 5th edition and the dual copyright on the volume
lists 1902 and 1905. The "Box Score" shows up in the TOC, so it seems
authentic. The index also points to the same page. And the listing
includes an example of an early box score. I would say this one is
definitive--however, of course, because this is a style manual, the
form must have been in use for some time prior. Therefore, the earlier
editions are worth checking, along with newspapers of the period. I am
betting that this goes back to 1895 or so.
Twentieth century manual of railway and commercial telegraphy. By
Frederick Louis Meyer
p. 212
Form for a "Box Score" Special.

PPS: Tukey's book (1977) is the earliest legitimate hit in GB for
"box-and-whisker", with a handful out of earlier references referring
to other kinds of box and whiskers (e.g., French mustache), but most
of the 20 GB hits being false date tags.

Stem-and-leaf plots (or diagrams or displays) make a splash with a
large number of hits between 1976 and 1977, so they have been in use
before Tukey's book hit the market, but not much before. There are a
couple of "earlier" hits that needed closer examination, but all were
either unrelated or turned out to be from 1976 or later. Checking
Tukey's publications in periodicals should narrow the dates on both
kinds of graphs, but this cannot be done with GB or other free-access
databases. I have not attempted to look for "stemplot".

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