Gould argued that the demise of the 400 hitter, (Ted Williams, was it 1953?) was part and parcel of the improvement of the game. Hitters are getting different kinds of hitting opportunities these days At Bats per game are below 2.5 and declining. I love the strategy of defense, pitching around heavy hitters, but is it really good for the game?
Gould added to the “spilled ink” on the batting average, and I will attempt to answer the question about the quality of ball and hitters when compared over time. Hopefully I will wash out the changes to the game. I don’t feel that game is better. But being a SABRmatrician, I want to see the numbers. Then I will make some kind of pronouncement, if not make up my mind.
Two new graphs will be added to Bigger/Better2, a continuation post:
1. At Bats per game, 1900 - pres where players had 30 or more Games and more than 1 & 2/3 At Bats per game.
2. The standard deviation of the At Bats per game.
I believe that these graphs support my supposition that 55 or so is a good point to start including players records in any analysis. Guy who don’t make 50 and especially 30 games in a year aren’t really ball players for that year.
Gould was correct in seeing that there are some underlying laws of nature in Baseball stats. I don’t think his explanation is the best one available however.
I love unraveling a SABRmetric conundrum! This will take a few more posts.