This is cool.

Aside

Okay, this is cool. It could help change how fielding statistics are done, too!

$30.7 Million Dollars a year….

For $30.7 million dollars, you make enough money (before tax) each year to….

  • Stockpile 1697 pounds of gold a year
  • Stockpile over 52 tons of silver (short tons)
  • Make a little over three times the annual nominal GDP of the island country of Niue.
  • Finance 7.719 Gone With The Winds a year (note: not adjusted for inflation)
  • Finance 2.791 Star Wars: A New Hopes a year (again, not adjusted for inflation)
  • Actually, it would be enough to finance at least one equivalent production of any single movie ever made before 1963 before inflation. (Cleopatra was the first film that you couldn’t finance at least once with $30.7 million dollars)
  • (Also, while we’re at it, can I just say as an aside it’s amazing that the first Star Wars only cost $11 million dollars or so in the 1970s?)
  • Pay Babe Ruth‘s entire career salary (ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION) nearly twice.
  • Pay the total opening-day salary of the 2013 Houston Astros with over six-million dollars left over to spare.
  • Make about 76.75 times the average salary of the President of the United States (probably much more, given that they usually donate it to charity).
  • Be able to afford to pay one year of the contract of Clayton Kershaw under his new deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In short: Clayton Kershaw now is making a bunch of dough.

Great Stuff from the B-Ref Japanese Data

With Baseball Reference adding Japanese stats, it’s time to look at some of the coolest stuff from it.

First off, of course, there is arguably the greatest Japanese player ever and one of the greatest hitters on any continent: Sadaharu Oh. You probably know about his 868 HRs, but you probably didn’t know about his impressive 2786 hits. Going on a tangent here, I remember reading somewhere that, after statistical conversions between the leagues, it’s thought that Oh would have had a career in MLB similar to Mel Ott.

Much like how Babe Ruth had Lou Gehrig behind him, Oh had Shigeo Nagashima, who formed the N in what was called the Yomiuri Giants’ “O-N Cannon”. Together, they helped the “Yankees of Japan” win nine straight titles.

However, had you looked hard enough, you probably could have found their statistics elsewhere, and the same probably goes for Americans and other westerners who spent time in Japan since the 1970s, like Charlie Manuel and Randy Bass and recent Japanese imports like Yu Darvish. What makes the Baseball Reference data awesome is that it goes beyond that to Japanese baseball’s earliest professional seasons.

For example, I can’t ever remember seeing the stats of Wally Yonamine, the first American to play in Japan post-WWII. Nor do I ever remember seeing statistics for Eiji Sawamura, the ace pitcher (Japan’s Cy Young Award equivalent is named for him) who once struck out Charlie Gehringer, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx in succession during one of Ruth’s famous tours of Japan, but whose career ended premature when he died during WWII.

As a third example of a early-years Japanese player who has interesting stats to look at: Victor Starfin (sometimes spelled Starffin). The first pitcher to win 300 games in Japan, Starfin was able to (mostly) avoid WWII’s effects on Japanese baseball. Well, until he was released in 1944 due to “security concerns” and thrown into a detention camp for being a foreign national. That, by the way, is like the fourth most interesting thing in his SABR biography. Seriously, it starts with his family fleeing the Russian Revolution and ends with him tragically dying in a drunk-driving accident in January, 1957- not long after his final season (1955).

Those just scratch the surface of the treasures in Baseball Reference’s new Japanese pages… go check them out.

Baseball Streaks that nobody would want

The Baseball Reference Play Index is having a free trial until April 15, allowing people to look at some parts of B-Ref normally not open to unpaying eyes. And while you could use this to find things like the most home runs hit in a post-integration season by a left-hander who was never an All-Star (Travis Hafner‘s 42 in 2006) or the best June team batting average since 1916 (the 1930 Yankees, who hit .366), I instead have decided to look at some more… inglorious streaks.

Like, for example, do you know who holds the record for consecutive games grounded into a double play? Well, post 1916 (1916 is the earliest point where the Play Index is available), it’s a tie between Sid Gordon of the 1943 Giants and Greg Norton of the 1998 White Sox both grounded into double plays in six straight games they had an AB or Sac Fly in.

Okay, now what about the anti-Dimaggio, what everyday player (no P or replacement appearances allowed) has had the longest post-1916 non-hitting streak (again, in games in which they had an AB or sacrifice fly)? Well, again it is a tie: Tommy Dean went 15 games between 1970 and 1971 without a hit during any of the games where he started and had at least one AB or sac-fly, and Mick Kelleher– normally a defensive replacement (and in fact he DID get a hit during some of his defensive replacement games) went the same amount of games over 1981 and 1982 without a record. If you are curious as to what it would be like if I included replacements (but still kept out pitchers and the rare pitcher-used-as-PH), well, Eugenio Velez has that inglorious distinction, having gone 30 games and over a calendar year between 2010 and 2011 without a hit:

Rk Strk Start End Games AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SO BB SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
1 Eugenio Velez 2010-09-14 2011-09-28 30 46 1 0 0 0 0 1 12 2 0 0 .000 .042 .000 .042 SFG-LAD
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/12/2013.

What about all in one season? That goes to Phil Stephenson, who went 25 games without a hit in 1992.

Now, let it not be said that just because you have a streak that nobody wants that you must be horrible. After all, just ask the pitcher who has the record for consecutive games in which they gave up a home run: Bert Blyleven, who had 20 straight games between 1986 and 1987 in which he gave up a homer.

A few statistics that show Marvin Miller’s impact on baseball

Marvin Miller, the man behind the Major League Baseball Players Association’s rise from an ineffective organization to the most powerful labor organization in the history of the country, has passed away at the age of 95. There are many people who have written big in-depth looks at Miller’s impact, and you should check those out. Here, however, I’ll just let the numbers speak for themselves:

$6,000: The minimum salary of a MLB player when Marvin Miller took over the union in 1966.

$19,000: The average salary of a MLB player when Marvin Miller took over the union in 1966.

$241,000: The average salary of a MLB player when Marvin Miller retired in the early 1980s.

$480,000: The minimum salary of an MLB player in 2012.

$3.4 million: The average salary of an MLB player at the beginning of the 2012 season.

Whatever your opinion of Miller, the union or money in baseball, you cannot deny that he, and the union he built, has left a permanent mark upon the way the business of baseball is operated.

Great Baseball Lies: The Number of Hits Ty Cobb Had

On September 11, 1985, Pete Rose got his 4,192nd base hit, passing the immortal Ty Cobb for most hits in MLB history.

Except… he probably had already passed him a few days earlier, on September 8, 1985 at Wrigley Field. You see, earlier in the decade, somebody had found that, at one point, a game Ty Cobb had played in 1910 had been counted twice. However, the marketing machine and narrative about Rose was heating up, and the number of 4191 had such a nice ring to it and had been the established number for decades, so commissioner Bowie Kuhn declared that 4191 would remain the MLB record for hits (until Rose broke it, of course).
However, Baseball Reference says differently, as do most other non-MLB sources. Therefore, I am declaring Ty Cobb’s “4191” hit total one of baseball’s great lies.

The Orioles stink at everything, especially losing

Some interesting statistics and rankings of the 2012 Baltimore Orioles:
22nd: Their rank in team Batting Average (.245)

23rd: Their rank in team OBP (.310)

17th: Their rank in team OPS (.719)

18th: Their rank in runs scored (569)

17th: Their rank in team ERA (4.01)

9th most: Their rank in hits allowed (1196)

Tied for seventh most: Their rank in Home Runs allowed (152)

20th best: Their rank in WHIP [Walks and Hits per innings pitched] (1.31)

Tied for second most: Their rank in team errors (97)

2nd: Their rank in the American League East

1: Games back of the New York Yankees