What a great time to be from Kansas City!
World Series time and the Mets are in town. Baseball is a fascinating game, a thinking person’s game. Some titillating baseball facts:
- Joe Dimaggio has the longest consecutive game hitting streak. In 1941 he hit safely in 56 consecutive games during which he had 91 hits in 223 at bats. Interesting to note, of those 91 hits 56 were singles and during this amazing feat he failed to get a hit 60% of the time (and, I might add, he did not face the Royals’ bullpen).
- According to www.baseball-reference.com, there are 246 “batters” in the Baseball Hall of Fame. These batters, in the aggregate, had a career total of 1,347,339 at bats. They failed to hit safely in 951,638 at bats.
- Of the Hall-of-Famers’ 395,701 lifetime hits, 278,654 were singles.
- What of the pitchers? The 74 pitchers in the Hall of Fame have an average record of 253 wins and 176 losses. The average Hall of Fame pitcher lost 41% of his starts.
Are all the data points that make these fun fact exactly right? Probably not. But they are right enough to let us learn a few things.
- Baseball is a system and those that know the system well and apply their learnings, the Hall of Famers, get many, many iterations whether they are at-bats or innings pitched.
- The Hall of Famers used many home runs to achieve their fame, but they had many, many more singles and the singles were just as effective at moving the mean.
- Baseball fame is not episodic, the Hall of Famers, both batters and pitchers have an average of 18 seasons in the major league baseball.
As the umpire yells “batter up!” in beautiful Kaufman Stadium I leave you with three innovation metrics.
- Are you getting enough singles?
- How many at-bats have you had?
- Have you kept your data…for when Cooperstown calls?