Tipping Pitches: Fatherhood: The Completed Third Grade Project


Monday, January 11, 2010

Fatherhood: The Completed Third Grade Project

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A few days ago I mentioned that a project to challenge my third grade son had ballooned into a challenging project of my own.

Who deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame? Simple question. No simple answers. After a couple of weeks of work, I presented Michael with a 45-page document. He took it happily.

What I did was provide the stats of 324 hitters, including 134 Hall of Famers. Names removed. The challenge? Name the Hall of Famers.

There are no right or wrong answers. In fact, I hope that he has "wrong" answers. There are players in the Hall who are undeserving. There are players who are not in the Hall who should be.

To help him make his decisions, I separated the players by era, making it more natural to compare players who played together. I provided the players' number of seasons, years played, All-Star appearances, MVP awards, plate appearances, hits, runs, home runs, RBI, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.

Additionally, I provided the average batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS during that player's era (calculated those numbers only during the years this player was active). Then, the player's stat was divided by the average player's stat to come up with a ratio above the league average.

This would certainly help him. Anything over 1.00 would be above the league average. Anything above 1.20 would be the sign of dominance.

Of course, the number of plate appearances and cumulative stats would be critical as well. If he doesn't know that now, he will learn it.

I also provided him with charts to better understand the landscape during that era -- batting averages and home runs by year.

Again, there are no right or wrong answers. And it is also important to remember that the stats being provided are only part of the picture. I did not provide the positions each player played on defense. In particular, this would penalize catchers.

I'll write about this more in a separate column, but I disagree with the common notion that, other than catchers, players should be compared to others who played their position. In regards to defense, sure. But if a shortstop was not good defensively, was above average overall offensively, but happened to be one of the best offensively at his position (due to decades of weakness there), does he really deserve to be considered a Hall of Famer?

Anyway, that's another discussion.

The stats also don't tell the entire story about Negro League players who spent some time in the Major Leagues, making their statistics incomplete. In most of these cases (other than a couple), I gave those answers to Michael.

So take a look at the document. It's for a third grader. He's already picked out Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Roberto Clemente. Could you?


greebs on February 08, 2010 said...

Jon, is that file still available? Doesn't seem to work for me. And yes, I'm curious, a geek and apparently have some free time.

Jon Loomer on February 08, 2010 said...

Thanks for the heads up, Greebs. Not sure what the deal was, but I fixed it.

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