Baseball Survivor: Transcending Reality with Style
Voting off the top 100 players of all-time
As we get ready to stow away the harsh realities of the great
2001-02 “offseason of discontent,” we should take a moment to hand out
praise to those creative individuals who have helped us make it
through a cold, cold winter.
I’m speaking of Tom Hanrahan and Justin Kubatko,
whose twist on “reality TV” (an annoying boil on American
semi-consciousness that is, thankfully, contracting before our very
eyes) has been a joy to watch unfold.
Baseball Survivor uses the “voting off the island” concept
to create a new take on that old chestnut of fan pastimes, the Top 100
Hanrahan’s concept-take a “top 100” list created by a consensus of
deep-dish baseball fans (in this case, nineteen members of the
Society for Baseball Research) and apply
the “voting off the island” concept incrementally until there is only
one player left-is something of a cross between the vote-off methods
familiar to us from Survivor and The Weakest Link. The
main difference-no ganging up, and no backroom deals a la figure
skating (for example).
Kubatko’s implementation of the concept on the Baseball Survivor
website is well-nigh perfect, with detailed voting results and a
master page which shows those who’ve been asked to leave the island
with lines drawn through their names.
The page also demonstrates how Hanrahan’s concept works in terms
of creating an ordered Top 100 list. As each player is voted off the
island (in weekly balloting that is now up to Week 26, and is
scheduled to end around the fourth of July), they get assigned to a
slot on the list., The first two players voted off the island?
There are currently twenty players still “on the island.” Take a
look at the list and see how well you think the voters are doing:
Grover Cleveland Alexander
The most recent players to be “voted off” (and thus assigned
rankings in the Top 100) are:
21. Nap Lajoie
22. Frank Robinson
23. Christy Mathewson
24. Jimmie Foxx
25. Joe DiMaggio
26. Joe Morgan
27. Tom Seaver
28. Eddie Mathews
29. Rickey Henderson
30. Mel Ott
Complete results can be found on the site, along with some
detailed statistical profiles for each player put together by Kubatko.
A similar project oriented around ranking current players might be
an interesting follow-up for either this group or another using its
A more detailed effort, working from a positional standpoint,
could also be attempted. This would make for an interesting corollary
to the rankings by position that are featured so prominently in Bill
James’ latest edition of the Historical Baseball Abstract.
Aficionados of baseball history will enjoy this site-and they’ll
be especially interested in it now that the finish line is coming into
view. Kudos to Kubatko, Hanrahan, and their associates for creating a
marvelous diversion during a harsh winter of ill winds.
Posted: February 20, 2002 at 06:00 AM | 51 comment(s)
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