Fall 2014 Baseball Research Journal
A Ballpark Opens and A Ballplayer Dies: The Converging Fates of Shibe Park and “Doc” Powers
This story tells the tragic tale of Michael “Doc” Powers, a catcher who played primarily for the Philadelphia Athletics and whose baseball career was cut short by his untimely death.
The 1914 Stallings Platoon: Assessing Execution, Impact, and Strategic Philosophy
This year marks a century since the historic run of the 1914 Boston “Miracle” Braves, who famously rallied from last place on July 4 to overtake the New York Giants for the National League pennant. The accepted wisdom is that manager George Stallings had an epiphany about platooning and that his use of platoons to wring the maximum production from his roster was, in the words of Bill James, nothing short of “revolutionary.” Thanks to Retrosheet and Baseball-Reference.com, it is now possible to dissect with precision Stallings’s master manipulation of his outfielders.
The Third Brother Dean: “Elmer the Great”
The brothers Dizzy Dean and Paul “Daffy” Dean are remembered as perhaps the greatest brother pitching duo ever. They combined to win win 49 games for the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals, and four more in the World Series. Now, meet their older brother Elmer Monroe Dean, “Elmer the Great,” “long recognized as the ace goober salesman of the Texas League” and “almost as celebrated in his line as his younger brothers are as pitchers.”
Henderson, Cartwright, and the 1953 U.S. Congress
Several references can be found citing a commendation by the 83rd Congress on June 3, 1953, officially recognizing Robert Henderson for "proving" Alexander Cartwright as the inventor of baseball. But does any evidence exist that either Cartwright or Henderson were ever recognized by Congress?
- "What’s My Line?" and Baseball
- Fact vs. Fiction: An Analysis of Baseball in Films
- Remembering the 1954 Waco Pirates and the Mejias Streak
- Giving Up the Stars and Reaching for the Moon
A Season-Ending Doubleheader and its Impact on the 1966 World Series
Seldom are the occasions when a team emerges as back-to-back champions in the National League. Rarer still when that team’s manager could call upon a well-heeled mound corps that includes three future Hall of Famers. Yet despite these advantages, Dodgers manager Walter Alston's hands were tied entering the 1966 World Series. This article chronicles the waning days of the 1966 season, including the event-filled season-ending doubleheader in Philadelphia three days before the start of the World Series.
High Altitude Offense: An Empirical Examination of the Relationship Between Runs Scored and Stadium Elevation
Although calculations have been made, computer simulations have been analyzed, and the coefficients of restitution and drag of baseballs in flight have been measured in laboratories, the actual relationship between number of home runs hit and stadium elevation has not been empirically observed over a wide range of elevations in order to compare with predicted values. In this study, the author uses data from minor league baseball games to determine the relationship between home runs and stadium altitude.
Do Hitters Boost Their Performance During Their Contract Years?
Each season, baseball fans and journalists alike identify which players are in the final years of their contracts because a lot rides on how the players produce in their “contract year.” Will a player boost his effort and performance in an effort to improve his value and bargaining power? Or will he crumble under the pressure? Or are players’ performances uncorrelated with where they stand in their contract cycles?
Revisiting the Ex-Cub Factor
Baseball is a superstitious sport. Players skip over foul lines on the way to the dugout, refuse to change their socks during a hitting streak, and avoid talking to a pitcher while he is hurling a no-hitter. Some superstitions have as their subject not only an individual player but an entire team. In 1981, Ron Berler, then a columnist for the Boston Herald American, invented and popularized another superstition that is also related to the Chicago Cubs: the Ex-Cub Factor.
World Series Game Situation Winning Probabilities: How Often Do Teams Come Back From Behind?
You’re ecstatic that your favorite team won the League Championship Series to get into the World Series, but your pitching ace performs poorly and the team loses Game One. There is a general perception among many baseball fans that losing the first game of a seven-game series is not a big setback, but is this fact or an unsubstantiated belief?
- A New Formula to Predict a Team's Winning Percentage
- Probabilities of Victory in Head-to-Head Team Matchups
- Matchup Probabilities in Major League Baseball