Pete Palmer

Pete Palmer is a veritable oracle of American professional sports history. A retired defense-industry computer programmer, he has been a pioneer and a leader in both baseball and football research for more than four decades.

Palmer worked as a consultant to Sports Information Center, the official statisticians for the American League from 1976 to 1987. He introduced on-base average as an official statistic for the American League in 1979 and invented on-base plus slugging (OPS), now universally used as a solid measure of batting strength. He worked on the New England Patriots stat crew for 42 years from 1975 to 2016.

One of the foremost chroniclers of the National Pastime, Palmer co-authored with John Thorn the seminal analytical work, The Hidden Game of Baseball, in the mid-1980s. Thorn and Palmer were also co-editors of the first seven editions of the groundbreaking encyclopedia Total Baseball from 1989-2001.

With Gary Gillette, Palmer served as co-editor for five editions of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. He also co-edited the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia with Gillette and Ken Pullis . Palmer is also a co-author of The Hidden Game of Pro Football and a contributor to Total Football.

More about Pete

The history of “Total Baseball” and Pete Palmer’s baseball database

SABR interview with Pete Palmer (2022)