Crasnick: Why aren’t there more redheads in baseball?

From SABR member Jerry Crasnick at on May 29, 2013:

Jeff Luhnow is taking his lumps as general manager of the Houston Astros, who along with the Miami Marlins are toying with a record-setting pace for futility this season. But if his previous track record as the man in charge of amateur drafts in St. Louis is any indication, Luhnow will get things headed in the right direction through a combination of thorough scouting, sound statistical analysis and a dogged focus on developing from within. Anyone who doubts his credentials might want to take a gander at all the homegrown products on the roster of the Cardinals, who have the best record in baseball.

So it seemed a bit out of character in March when Luhnow hit me with a query that came right out of the Loch Ness Monster school of baseball analysis.

The question came at the end of a long day in Kissimmee, Fla., after the Astros had played the Phillies in a Grapefruit League game. I dropped by Luhnow’s office and spent a while talking with him and assistant general manager David Stearns about a wide range of topics — from Carlos Pena’s veteran presence to manager Bo Porter’s enthusiasm to the wonders of Jose Altuve. And then, just before I hit the road for West Palm Beach, Luhnow mixed a curveball into the conversation.

“Let me ask you something,” he said. “Why don’t you think there are more major leaguers with red hair?”

Not the type of question you expect from a front-office executive with a “stat geek” reputation. But I quickly learned there was a reason for it.

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Originally published: May 29, 2013. Last Updated: May 29, 2013.