Throw It Like a Ballplayer

providing baseball commentary and ponderings since April 2010

Posts Tagged ‘home runs’

800 Days Inside the Park with Peter Moylan

Posted by dannmckeegan on June 15, 2010

Peter MoylanWhat a disappointing day for Peter Moylan.  On March 30, 2008, Atlanta reliever Moylan surrendered an opening day walk-off home run to Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.  The only run he allowed until an arm injury sidelined him in mid-April, that home run was a starting line for an impressive streak that sadly just came to an end in a most ignominious fashion, one that reinforces my on-again, off-again ranting against the untruthful concept of the “three true outcomes.” Read the rest of this entry »


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Punctuated Home Run Equilibrium: Part III

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 27, 2010

From Coming Home Through Expansion: Waves #2 and #3

This is the third in a multi-part series examining the history of home run rates in Major League Baseball. Inspired by my disagreement with J.C. Bradbury’s opinion on the importance of steroids in the rise in home runs over the last 15 years, this research attempts to look beyond statistical expectations.  Rather than providing explanations for changes in home run rate, this series hopes to provide the reader with causal relationships not drawn from correlation, but rather from actual events.  Part One introduced Mr. Bradbury‘s argument, as well as my initial concerns with the position.  Part Two explores the Roaring Twenties and the decade’s end, where we see that a small piece of large puzzle can explain what appears to be widespread instability.

Following a plummeting rate of home runs per game (HR/G) during World War II, the return of the stars and the subsequent evolution of the American way of life led to what appears as a dramatic spike in power at the big league level.  Today’s entry examines what history has to say not from a purely numerical level, but also from a historical examination.

To be perfectly clear, I am not attempting to weave a narrative in retrospect.  Rather, my argument is that the peaks and troughs throughout history are largely evolutionary and incidental, byproducts of other socio-historical factors endemic to the game or experienced by the players.  The ups and downs that appear as data points are functionally independent of one another.  Extremes either high or low have historically tended to correct, if not overcorrect, themselves from year to year.  We will see this a number of times in today’s article. Read the rest of this entry »

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Punctuated Home Run Equilibrium: Part I

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 25, 2010

J.C. Bradbury's chart of Home Runs per Game since 1921. In its original place, it can be found by clicking the article link below. Notice the general upward trend over time, but ignore the black line segments snaking their way through independent data points. Resist the urge to find a pattern. You'll see why later this week.

Browsing the shelves of my local library recently, I happened upon J.C. Bradbury’s The Baseball Economist: the Real Game Exposed.  So far, it’s not doing a ton for me, but I’m willing to finish it and see if it can pull off the comeback.  The author’s angle is a cousin of sabermetrics.  He is attempting to look directly at baseball through an economic lens.  I went over to his website and began to browse some previous entries.  In late January of this year, he asks “What caused the steroid era?”  Unconvinced that steroids are that big a factor, he looks to a number of issues ranging from juiced baseballs to talent dilution via expansion as potential factors in addition to the gas.  Here is a short text excerpt, alongside the above chart to which I will be referring for the remainder of this week: Read the rest of this entry »

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