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Accuracy of Pre-Computer Age Sports Statistics

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by user Alex Holowczak

I read DNL's article about sport statistics. It struck me that perhaps, they were not quite as foolproof as you'd think.

I looked at Babe Ruth's statistics. In 1920, after his trade to the Yankees, he had 172 hits. In the pencil and paper days, how can we be certain about this? I can't imagine the statistics gurus of 1920 sitting down with God knows how many baseball game statistics in front of them, and adding them up to get 172.

In the modern computer age, it is fair enough, because all that needs to be done is for someone to type the game into a computer, and the stats are produced.

But try this challenge. Take a fixture list of a baseball season, and rosters for all the teams, and gradually work through the season. Keep the array of statistics manually, without formulae, and I'll bet after the first day of the season, the whole thing will be in tatters.

This will be for two reasons...
1. With the volume of statistics keeping track is hard (you will have to check all the time).
2. After half an hour you will be bored out of your mind.

Does STATSinc have records of every game of baseball ever played in MLB, so that they can ensure there is no error with them?

Does anyone know of any statistics from the pre-computer age that have been found incorrect, or in the computer age?


Tue 05/16/06, 10:07 am EST

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