The Past is Prologue . . .

Trying to plan for the future without a sense of history is like trying to plant cut flowers.”

— Historian Daniel Boorstin, 12th Librarian of the United States Congress.

Hidden Game Sports is a research and consulting operation that is based on the pioneering work of Pete Palmer and Gary Gillette. The name is an homage to Palmer’s classic work the Hidden Game of Baseball (co-authored with John Thorn). The Hidden Game of Baseball, published in 1984, has long been acknowledged as one of the seminal works in the field of baseball analytics. It was republished in 2015.

Palmer and Gillette have worked together for decades, dating back to Project Scoresheet in the 1980s. They were co-editors of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, a reference work that—despite following in the footsteps of decades of baseball tomes–included substantial previously unpublished information. The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia was based on Palmer’s gold-standard historical baseball database, which was also licensed to Baseball-Reference.com, the Society for American Baseball Research, ESPN, and Retrosheet.org

Published annually from 2004 to 2008, the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia (including its predecessor the Barnes & Noble Baseball Encyclopedia) holds the bittersweet distinction of being the last comprehensive baseball encyclopedia ever printed.

Palmer and Gillette also collaborated on the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia, which similarly included previously unpublished information like the starters at each offensive and defensive position for every NFL team back to the beginning of the NFL in 1920. The pro football dataset was compiled by Palmer and award-winning pro football researcher Ken Pullis. Like the baseball database, the Palmer-Pullis database was licensed to Sports Reference, LLC, and to other prominent media organizations.

Both Pete and Gary were honored as sabermetric pioneers in 2022 when extensive interviews with them were recorded for SABR’s Oral History project.

In 2021, Hidden Game Sports sold Palmer’s and Gillette’s baseball, pro football, pro basketball, and hockey intellectual property to Sports Reference LLC. Gillette, however, maintains unique historical Race/Ethnicity Databases for players, managers, and umpires in Major League Baseball and for players and head coaches in Pro Football, Pro Basketball, and Hockey. These special databases are often licensed to academics engaged in groundbreaking studies, including the ongoing Harvard University’s Football Players Health Study and the continuing acclaimed work of Boston University’s CTE Center.

Gillette is now working on a new Spring Training Project. The Project will document the spring training history of major-league baseball clubs from 1901 to the present, with an emphasis on the sites and the ballparks.