As a designer I have always been enamored with info graphics. Part of this comes from my love of data. That love of data, in turn, was most likely born from my love of baseball statistics. I have been a fan of the game of baseball since I was at least 9 years old. I lived and died with the success of my team, the Atlanta Braves. I think that at almost any point in the mid 90’s I could have told you the Braves’ batting order and each players batting average EXACTLY. I probably could have rattled off the team’s win/loss record and the ERA (Earned Run Average) of each pitcher as well of. I was obsessed.
Now, as a designer, I use my knowledge of color, space, and form to communicate with people. I was inspired to create an info graphic recently because it was something I had never attempted. Info graphics are extremely popular all across the web. The best info graphics help a person easily visualize a large set of numbers or data points. What better subject for my first info graphic than the World Series.
The initial idea was quite simple: each team would be represented by a circle and the size of each circle would represent the total number of World Series wins for each team. I had to decide on a formula to represent the wins. I chose to do this by imagining that each circle would be filled up by wins and that each win would have to correspond to 10 pixels square. I designed a formula in a spreadsheet and them plugged in the wins and, voila, I had a diameter I could plug into to Adobe Illustrator to make each circle. At this point, I realized I needed to make each circle a bit bigger so I multiplied each diameter by ten so that they would all grow proportionally to each other.
Once I had all my circles laid out, I started refining the visual information. One thing I realized I needed to communicate was the fact that many teams have played in different cities over their history. One example of this is my team, the Atlanta braves, who have been based in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta, and have won a World Series in each of those locations. In fact, the Braves are the only team to win a World Series for three separate cities. The Giants, Dodgers, Twins, and Athletics have all played for different cities as well. To address this, I decided to look at each circle as a pie and split them into pieces based on the wins for each different city. The Braves have three wins and played for three cities, so each win is one third of the pie. The San Francisco Giants win in 2010, was their first win for the City by the Bay, and therefore it accounts for one sixth of their total wins as a franchise – the other 5 being for New York.
After all the essential info was laid out I decided to flesh out the graphic a bit more. Because the intent is for this graphic to be a handy guide to the history of the World Series I felt like putting in just a bit more info. I added the six teams who have played in the World Series and never won as well as the two which have never even gone to the World Series. I also utilized the always controversial asterisk to note that one of the Cincinnati Rads’ World Series victories came in the 1919 series which was famously fixed. In that series, Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were paid to throw the game.
My hope is that this little graphic will make it’s way around the Internet as a handy guide for fans and newbies alike. Feel free to link to it and share it all you want. More baseball content to come.