While 2013 saw plenty of "Snowfall"-inspired graphical masturbation, it was generally a great year for sports-related graphics and data viz. The 12 works below are some of our favorites, listed in order of publication. Sorry for the image fuzziness; click "expand" to get a better look. And let us know what we may have missed in the comments.
MLB Hall of Fame Voting Trajectories
Created by: Carlos Scheidegger and Kenny Shirley [AT&T Labs]
A dense and powerful tool, this graphic lets you explore the complete voting history of every candidate for baseball's Hall of Fame, with options to break down the players by key stats, positions, years on ballot, and a host of other factors. A must-read for anyone contributing to Deadspin's HOF vote.
NFL Fans on Facebook
Created by: Sean Taylor [Facebook]
Using Facebook's enviable wealth of data, Sean Taylor finally answered some questions we'd been asking for a long time: What parts of the country root for which NFL teams, and does anyone actually like the Jets?
NFL salaries by team and position
Created by: Guardian US interactive team and Harry Enten [The Guardian]
In a salary-capped league like the NFL, how and where a team chooses to spend its money speaks volumes about its strategy, strengths, and weaknesses. The excellent interactive from The Guardian lets you break down each team's offensive and defensive units by position and salary, so you can see who's skimping on what (and who's handing out the worst big contracts).
The Evolution of King James
Created by: Kirk Goldsberry [Grantland]
NFL Draft: How Good Are Teams at Picking the Best?
Created by: Mike Bostock, Shan Carter, Kevin Quealy, and Joe Ward [NYT]
The always-excellent New York Times graphic team takes a look at where the best players get taken in the NFL draft, showcasing some hidden gems like Donald Driver (pick 213, 1999) and Marquis Colston (pick 252, 2006). For those interested in the nuts and bolts of data design, Kevin Quealy put together a great post on how this graphic came to be.
Comparing NBA Season Scoring with Hip-Hop Mentions
Created by: Brandon Liu [Bdon.org]
A simple but fun interactive, which shows that—in the critical category of hip-hop mentions—King James has a long way to go to catch Jordan.
Created by: Steven Little [Winsipedia]
From the creator of the Sports Design Blog, Winsipedia is an excellent visual tool for exploring the rankings, history, and head-to-head match-ups of all your favorite college football teams.
The United Sports of America
Created by: Josh Levin and Jess Fink [Slate]
Height and weight of all active NFL players, by position
Created by: Craig M. Booth [Reddit]
No other sport has the same sort of insane positional specialization as football, which manifests itself in the physical characteristics of its players. Craig Booth's chart breaks down every NFL player by height, weight, and position, from return specialist Trindon Holliday (5'5'', 177 pounds) to defensive end Clifton Geathers (6'8'', 340 pounds).
113 Years of Football Player Transfers in 60 Seconds
Created by: Mac Bryla [Eye See Data]
Over a century of international football transfers summed up in one great video, with an accompanying interactive tool to explore the deals on your own. Make sure to keep an eye on Greenland and Mongolia.
Árbol de Béisbol
Created by: Craig Robinson [Flip Flop Flyin]
This pushes the already-broad definition of "infographic" a little bit, but Craig Robinson's beautiful pixel illustration—two years in the making—provides a succinct and clever history of professional baseball, so we'll count it. Craig was kind enough to let us annotate the illustration on our site; go check it out.
Tracing the History of NCAA Conferences
Created by: Mike Bostock, Shan Carter, and Kevin Quealy [NYT]
This flowchart/timeline is the perfect tool for those who've lost track of the rash of recent college sports realignments. Another gem from the New York Times graphic team.