What are those numbers after players' names in the leader charts?
Those numbers indicate the order in which players were added to the Box-Toppers database. For example, an older player, such as Roy Halladay was the 1,178th player added to the database when he was added in 1998. Mike Trout, a younger player, was the 2,949th player added, when he made his debut on August 30, 2011.
Players are added to the database when they are named Player of the Game for the first time. For example, Casey Blake made his Major League debut in 1999 and played in about 50 games over four seasons, but was not added to the Box-Toppers database (as player 1,715) until April 20, 2003, when he was Player of the Game for the first time in a win for the Indians.
Box-Toppers' practice of appending numbers to players began in 1998, so the 1,000 or so players added earlier than that—such as Randy Johnson and Barry Bonds—have no numbers. As of the close of the 2017 season, there were 3,926 players in the Box-Toppers database—169 new players were added during the 2017 season.
The first player to have a number appended to his name is the 1,056th player added to the Box-Toppers database, Marlins pitcher Jesus Sanchez, who made his Box-Toppers debut with his first Player of the Game honor on May 3, 1998. Sanchez earned 14.7 career Box-Toppers points from 1998 to 2001 with the Marlins.
Bartolo Colon of the Rangers is the last active player as of 2018 without a number appended to his name. He made his Box-Toppers debut with his first Player of the Game honor on April 4, 1998. Colon‘s current teammate Adrian Beltre is the only other active player in 2018 who earned Box-Toppers points in 1998. However, Beltre made his Box-Toppers debut Aug. 13, 1998, after Box-Toppers began appending numbers to names. Beltre is the 1,141st player to debut since the start of player tracking at the start of the 1995 season.
You may note that many players making their debuts in Box-Toppers’ early days—from 1995 to 1997—appear in lowercase without proper capitalization. Back in those days, Box-Toppers was tabulated with now-ancient software on a computer that operated so slowly that hitting the shift key to capitalize words slowed things way down. It was Box-Toppers' e.e. cummings phase, if you will.
Despite technology improving enough to easily fix that flaw, we've kept the lowercase names until now for old time's sake, a reminder of how far—in terms of technology, at least—we’ve come. Team abbreviation codes used in the database are also lowercase.
(Shawn Plank, updated Tuesday, April 17, 2018)