Introducing the ABL Pro Alumni Database

I’ve been working on something behind the scenes, and I’m finally done. This little offseason project has been the ABL Pro Alumni Database, a listing of former Alaska League players currently (or, recently at least) playing in professional baseball. It’s been a pretty big project of mine, and I hope you think it’s as cool as I do.

This project is the successor to the old “Pro Prospects” list, which kept track of all the former ABL players active in Minor League baseball (including independent and international leagues). My goal is to expand it to all alumni in all professional leagues that I can manage to track down, including (of course) MLB.

What else makes the database better than the oldschool list? Well it makes it feasible for me to break the list down into various formats. As you will see, I’ve got it broken down so that you can pull up a list of all former players in pro ball, at every level and every league, or you can now single out the MLB players (this part is incomplete, more on this later). Furthermore, you can view individual pages for alumni of each ABL team; for example, only pro players who used to be on the Oilers (or whoever). And you can currently also break it down by league level. You can filter out the players who are at AAA, AA, etc. and also independent and even international leagues. Because it is database driven, I don’t have to compile a whole new list for each one — I simply put all the data into one table and the website “pulls” only the data you want.

Another strength of this is that it’s easier for me to update, which means that I can stay on top of it a little bit better and the information presented in the database will be more useful to you.

Finally, this is just the beginning. In some ways, it is incomplete. Because it is the successor to the pro prospects table I made last off-season, I don’t have all of the players who were drafted/signed in 2010 nor all of the players who had enough MLB experience to be considered “veterans” rather than “prospects”. I’ll be working on this over the holidays. Furthermore, I’m really flying by the seat of my pants and learning as I go, so as I discover better ways to do it — or just get some time to take on a project — I could find more ways to break down the data. I could break it down by actual minor league, or ABL year, or whatever. I could even expand it to include player profiles full of all kinds of handy information. I know enough from surfing the web that there is a better way to do some of these things; if I learn how, the system is really great because it will allow for incremental improvements.

And on that note, I’d like to thank Christopher Swingle for all the advice on getting this thing off the ground. I couldn’t have done it without you!

So, how do you use it? It’s simple. The menu is in the upper-right hand corner, titled “Pro Alumni Database” . If you know enough about computers to get to this website on a semi-regular basis, I’m sure you can figure it out. Just use the menu to find the page you want and click on it. “The Minor/Indy/Int’l” and the “Pro Alumni by ABL Team” menus branch out into other pages so there’s lots of goodies.

Knock yourself out and give me any feedback on what you like/don’t like, and of course, any info mistakes you encounter.

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Article by Jesse Jack

Jesse Jack is a life-long Alaskan (except for a stint in Montana) who studies Civil Engineering at the University of Alaska Anchorage from August through May, and lives at the ballpark during June and July.
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