Thursday, September 23, 2010

500 Home Runs

ESPN the Magazine ran an article recently on players shooting for certain milestones, and the ability to tell statistically. They covered 300 wins, and 12,000 yards (this is a milestone?) but they missed the biggest milestone in all of sports: 500 Home Runs.
Can it be shown statistically that MLB players hang on to get 500 home runs? Lets look at the breakdown for retired players home run totals, grouped by hundreds:

Reached Actual Expected
700 3 2.1
600 3 4.9
500 16 11.3
400 16 26.3
300 69 61.1
200 168 141.9
While 500 has more than expected (Calculated with exponential trend lines), and 400 in noticeably less, assuming Poisson distribution neither is statistically significant.
Breaking it down into bins of 25 though gets interesting:

Reached Actual Expected
600 1 1.42
575 2 1.76
550 3 2.19
525 3 2.72
500 8 3.37
475 4 4.18
450 3 5.19
425 7 6.44
400 2 8
500 home runs is much higher than expected, and strangely 400 home runs in much lower. Both are now statistically significant at the 95% level. What does this mean? It appears that some players do purposefully try to reach 500 home runs (You think Eddie Murray plays to 41 without that?). Oddly, it also appears that there's a barrier at 400, nobody wants to just barely make 400 home runs. I suppose we may get a few more years than expected out of Carlos Delgado (473) and Vlad Guerrero (434).
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1 comment:

  1. Those are big words you are throwing around man. I would have expected 475 or 575 to be lower than expected, but seems not so much. What happens if you group by 50s - does the 500-550 still stay significantly high and the 450-500 become significantly low? And how about golf Majors - are we really going to have to watch Tiger - -hang around....... BKL

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