Clutch Hitting in the Major Leagues: A Psychological Perspective

By Leonard S. Newman

This article was published in the Fall 2013 Baseball Research Journal.

In the 2011 postseason, David Freese made a name for himself with his spectacular and timely hitting and won both the National League Championship Series and World Series MVP awards. It cannot be denied: Freese hit well in the clutch that October. But would it have been reasonable to expect the same from him in the future? Is he in fact a “clutch hitter”? Do clutch hitters even exist? Sabermetricians have been arguing about the reality of clutch hitting for quite some time now (see, for example, the special . . .

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