The Earl Weaver Effect on Sacrifice Bunts

From Bill Petti at Beyond the Box Score on March 24:

[Earl] Weaver’s famous quote that “on offense, your most precious possessions are your 27 outs” wonderfully encapsulates the view of many saberists (and backed by run expectancy analysis) that sacrificing outs to move runners into scoring position is not that valuable over the long haul.


Prior to Weaver’s arrival in mid-1968, the Orioles typically bunted as much or more than the average team (78 bunts per year vs 75 for the league). With Weaver at the helm, the Orioles still used the sac bunt, but they did so an average of 20% less than the rest of the league. If you just isolate 1972-1986, Weaver’s Orioles averaged 27% less bunts than the league, reaching over 40% in five different seasons.

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Originally published: March 24, 2011. Last Updated: March 24, 2011.