Mains: Measuring team turnover in the 1910s

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on January 14, 2019:

I’m analyzing team roster turnover from year to year. In the last article, I examined the years 1901-1910. Now, it’s on to 1910-1920, the second decade since the formation of the American League.

Technical note: Yes, I know, 1901-1910 and 1910-1920 has an overlap in 1910. That’s by design. We’re looking at year-to-year change. The first report analyzed nine pairs of team seasons: 1901-02, 1902-03, 1903-04, … , 1909-1910. The year 1910 is the endpoint for teams that played in the 1900s. Similarly, 1910 is the beginning point for teams playing in the 1910s.

Going into this research, I expected the 1910s to contain a lot of turnover due to two events: U.S involvement in World War I in 1917 and 1918, which resulted in ballplayers in the military, and competition from the Federal League in 1914 and 1915. Let’s see whether that was borne out.

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Originally published: January 14, 2019. Last Updated: January 14, 2019.