Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1889444
 


 



On the Distribution of Career Longevity and the Evolution of Home Run Prowess in Professional Baseball


Alexander M. Petersen


IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies; Boston University

Woo-Sung Jung


Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)

H. Eugene Stanley


Boston University - Center for Polymer Studies

September 1, 2008

Europhysics Letters, 2008

Abstract:     
Statistical analysis is a major aspect of baseball, from player averages to historical benchmarks and records. Much of baseball fanfare is based around players exceeding the norm, some in a single game and others over a long career. Career statistics serve as a metric for classifying players and establishing their historical legacy. However, the concept of records and benchmarks assumes that the level of competition in baseball is stationary in time. Here we show that power law probability density functions, a hallmark of many complex systems that are driven by competition, govern career longevity in baseball. We also find similar power laws in the density functions of all major performance metrics for pitchers and batters. The use of performance-enhancing drugs has a dark history, emerging as a problem for both amateur and professional sports. We find statistical evidence consistent with performance-enhancing drugs in the analysis of home runs hit by players in the last 25 years. This is corroborated by the findings of the Mitchell Report (2007), a two-year investigation into the use of illegal steroids in Major League Baseball, which recently revealed that over 5 percent of Major League Baseball players tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in an anonymous 2003 survey.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 5

Keywords: Major League Baseball, Performance Enhancing Drugs, PED, Career Longevity, Success Metrics

JEL Classification: D39, J24, J44, L83

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: July 21, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Petersen, Alexander M. and Jung, Woo-Sung and Stanley, H. Eugene, On the Distribution of Career Longevity and the Evolution of Home Run Prowess in Professional Baseball (September 1, 2008). Europhysics Letters, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1889444

Contact Information

Alexander M. Petersen (Contact Author)
IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies ( email )
Complesso San Micheletto
Lucca, 55100
Italy
HOME PAGE: http://www.imtlucca.it/whos_at_imt/personal_page.php?n=Alexander+Petersen&p=7084
Boston University ( email )
595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
HOME PAGE: http://physics.bu.edu/~amp17/
Woo-Sung Jung
Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) ( email )
Pohang
Korea
H. Eugene Stanley
Boston University - Center for Polymer Studies ( email )
Boston, MA 02215
United States
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