Pete Palmer

A Raytheon Corp. radar systems engineer, Palmer was among the first and most innovative users of computers to analyze baseball statistics. He made the cover of The Sporting News in 1982 after discovering that Napoleon Lajoie rather than Ty Cobb was the AL batting champion in 1910; Cobb was awarded the title because a Detroit scorekeeper recorded the same two hits twice. Palmer’s greatest achievement was the creation of the Linear Weights Player Win Formula, publicized in The Hidden Game of Baseball (co-authored with John Thorn, Doubleday 1984). The complex formula assesses the value of each play in creating or preventing runs, taking into consideration park factors and seasonal fluctuations in the level of offense. On average, Palmer found, 10 runs created or prevented have equaled one victory throughout the 20th century. In 1987 a SABR panel voted The Hidden Game of Baseball one of the three most important books on baseball records ever compiled. Palmer and Thorn also collaborated on Total Baseball (1989).