FanDuel - WFBC

May 30, 2006

Top 10 Baseball Records: If the biggest name in baseball can hit his 715th home run and nobody outside the 415 area code even claps, that should tell us something...It's time to reevaluate the home run and what it means in our culture. And it's time, especially, to reevaluate what we've always looked on as our favorite records in the record book.

posted by BullpenPro to baseball at 04:37 PM - 46 comments

Great read, BPP. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 04:47 PM on May 30

I'd love to see someone challenge Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak. I'm not holding my breath.

posted by justgary at 04:57 PM on May 30

I read not too long ago that DiMaggio's streak is the only statistical anonomly in MLB's records. In other words, the stats guys say that with all the games of MLB they'd expect someone to throw 380+ strikeouts in a season, or back-to-back no hitters, but nothing accounts for 56 consecutive games with a hit.

posted by ?! at 05:59 PM on May 30

I can't believe Rube Marquard's 19 consecutive wins only merited an honorable mention.

posted by L.N. Smithee at 06:18 PM on May 30

"If the biggest name in baseball can hit his 715th home run and nobody outside the 415 area code even claps, that should tell us something. And not just about the man hitting the home run." What an idiot.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 06:49 PM on May 30

Where is Eric Gange and the consecutive save streak? Not even on the radar? (Disclaimer: I am an Orioles fan, not a Dodger homer.) 53 save opportunities. 53 saves. 108 strikeouts. 13 walks. 3 runs. 0 homers. In this day and age, with the game on the line, 66 innings with 0 homers. ERA during the streak; 0.409. There has never been a hotter streak by a pitcher.

posted by gradioc at 06:56 PM on May 30

And so, now we read that BAROID is considering playing next year and likely will make a serious run at Hank Aaron's record of 755 dingers. I for one will not applaud his passing of Hammerin Hank and to be honest, even without the steroid controversy, the fact that a JAG like Bonds would take possesion of that record has always left me cold. Henry Aaron as a player and a man in general has always exhibited far more class than Mr. Bonds will ever exude, record or no record!

posted by R_A_Mason at 08:12 PM on May 30

Ok, I'm guessing the list left off Rickey Henderson's career stolen base mark because someone had a complete brain freeze or something. I mean, the guy stole 1,406 bases in his career, which is 468 more than the next guy on the list (Lou Brock). Nobody is even close to that record and nobody will come close to that record because of the way the game has changed. Nobody steals bases at the rate those guys did anymore. A great season now is maybe 60 swipes, which would take 23-plus years off similar totals to reach Rickey's mark. And as for Joe DiMaggio's streak being No. 1? That is a joke. It is one of the most attainable records in sports and will be broken in the next 10 years. In the last few years we've had two regular players make a decent run at the streak, ending in the mid-30s. Someone will get over that hump and break that record, it's only a matter of time. Same goes for someone batting .400. And what is the deal with Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA being on the list? The description after his mark says it all about the legitimacy of this mark. The pitching was so dominant that season that all of the pitching marks set should've been tossed out. The strike zone was from the chest to the knees and the mound was considerably higher. This record is even more tainted than Bonds' HR mark because of the overwhelming factors in Gibson's favor. Six other picthers with ERAs under 2.00? That's a joke, not a record. I also guess that records that were partially set pre-1900 get downgraded for this list because Cy Young's 511 pitching wins is the most untouchable record in all of sports. Different time and era, I guess, but who is ever going to break this mark?

posted by donnnnychris at 08:22 PM on May 30

the ligitimacy of bob gibson's era mark cannot be questioned as far as i can see. according to everything I'VE read....ALL pitchers pitched from the same height mound, they didn't inject more dirt when gibson pitched. i can't believe that cy youngs record for most wins is not listed. 511....yeah that seems A LITTLE impressive!

posted by tommytrump at 08:37 PM on May 30

The mound was at least six inches higher (not sure of the exact number but it's around six inches) during the season Gibson set his ERA mark tommytrump. They lowered the mound the next season (not to mention the strike zone was changed from the chest-to-the-knees to the little window the wonderful umpires use today) so the likelihood that someone could be that dominant again is very remote. I think the biggest difference was the changing of the strike zone. Could you imagine if Greg Maddux had a strike zone that big? Or Randy Johnson? Or Roger Clemens? We might've seen a sub-1.00 ERA from one of these guys. Gibson's mark is very impressive but it needs to be put into perspective what conditions he set it under. He was the only one to go that low, however, so I do give him props for an amazing season. As for Cy Young's mark, it is on the honorable mention list but I think it is absurd to not have his mark on the main list. Think about it...20 wins a year for 25 years and a pitcher would still fall 11 wins short!!!! That's No. 1 in my book.

posted by donnnnychris at 08:45 PM on May 30

donnnnychris, the pitchers mound was 15 inches high when gibson set his mark, and is now 10 inches high.

posted by tommytrump at 09:06 PM on May 30

Almost every record is set when the conditions are favorable.

posted by spira at 09:12 PM on May 30

L.N. Smithee: I can't believe Rube Marquard's 19 consecutive wins only merited an honorable mention.
Well, it's 19 to start a season- the record is 24 in a row (over two seasons) by Carl Hubbell. Clemens did 20 in a row over two seasons, which is the AL record, and at one point in that second season was at 20-1 I believe besting Marquard's 19-1 start. So it's not distinctive enough to be a ".406" or "755" or "56" type record, since there's that fuzziness over the various scenarios of most wins in a row in a single season vs. to start of a season vs. in a row over any span of time, etc.

posted by hincandenza at 09:58 PM on May 30

Where is Eric Gange and the consecutive save streak? The problem I have with a saves record (streak, career total, single season total) is that it's probably the most manufactured "stat" in baseball. Any statistic that requires more knowledge than what is available in a simple box score (IP, H, BB, K, R, ER), and is bound to a certain set of rules (score differential, # of innings pitched, team result, when the innings are pitched) seems to me to be a "junk" stat. For example: If the following pitching lines are shown, can you tell me if the pitcher got a save? 2IP 2H 0R 0ER 0BB 4K Obviously, you can't. Even if I were to give you almost all of the information for you (he was the last pitcher of record for his team, his team won, there was nobody on base when he entered the game), you still couldn't tell me if it was a "save". Hits are hits. HR are HR. Strikeouts are strikeouts. Games played are (99% of the time) games played. Stolen bases are (99% of the time) stolen bases. Saves (and in some way "wins") are not always what they seem. As for Cy Young's mark, it is on the honorable mention list but I think it is absurd to not have his mark on the main list. Think about it...20 wins a year for 25 years and a pitcher would still fall 11 wins short!!!! That's No. 1 in my book. The article was about records that are memorable AND could be broken. That's why the 511 wins, the 7000K, the 41 wins, the 1400 stolen bases aren't listed. The authors of the article believed they were almost impossible to break, so they weren't listed (which is mentioned in the Nolan Ryan 383 strikeout section).

posted by grum@work at 10:29 PM on May 30

And as for Joe DiMaggio's streak being No. 1? That is a joke. It is one of the most attainable records in sports and will be broken in the next 10 years. In the last few years we've had two regular players make a decent run at the streak, ending in the mid-30s. So what does that prove? Getting to 28 games is very, very, very far from being half way there, if that's what you're tring to argue. Here's a frequency table for consecutive game hitting streaks: There have been 16 streaks of 34 games or more. There have been 8 streaks of 38 games or more. There have been 4 streaks of 42 games or more. See a pattern here? Without getting into the math in too much detail, we can make the following (very rough) generalization: if you have hit successfully in N consecutive games, you've got about a 50% chance of making it to N+4. The most recent long streak by Jimmy Rollins reached 38 games. Rollins needed 18 more games to tie Dimaggio, which means he had about a 4% chance. Keep in mind that only eight men in the history of baseball have even put themselves in that 4% position. Someone will get over that hump and break that record, it's only a matter of time. True, but how much time? Put another way: if there had been a hundred 30-game hitting streaks in the history of baseball, then we would expect to see one of those become a 56-game hitting streak. There have been forty 30-game hitting streaks in the history of major league baseball. So given another century or two (give or take) I am sure we will see another 56-game streak.

posted by Amateur at 10:29 PM on May 30

Thank you doin' the math amateur. I think it elucidates what most of us already knew: It is probably the least attainable offensive stat in baseball. If I may add another perspective: To appreciate 56 in a row, consider that Lou Gehrig never hit in as many as 20 games in a row, Ted Williams' longest streak was 23 and Babe Ruth's ended at 26. The longest streaks of two of the best hitters of the last 25 years, Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs, were 25 and 28 games, respectively. Pete Rose's streak of 44 was 12 GAMES SHORT! I wonder if any one knows the percentage of major league ball players that have ever had a 12 game hit streak? I guarantee you it is very small! And that is no joke.

posted by mjkredliner at 12:18 AM on May 31

So given another century or two (give or take) I am sure we will see another 56-game streak. Who knows if Rollins would've made it if he had been able to continue his streak last year without the season ending. That's my point, it was a bad break for him that the season ended. Granted, going another 18 games would've been brutally tough, with the pressure of approaching DiMaggio's mark and just the difficulty of getting a hit each game, but I would've liked his chances if he could've kept going. Someone will get something like that going again and won't have to stop. I just think that a record, to be in the top 10, should be basically unreachable (i.e., Cy Young's 511 wins; Nolan Ryan's strikeout career mark; Rickey Henderson's career stolen bases). I just don't think DiMaggio's streak falls into that category, that's all. I think we can agree to disagree on that point. donnnnychris, the pitchers mound was 15 inches high when gibson set his mark, and is now 10 inches high. Ok, so I was off by one inch. Regardless, the combination of those five inches and the oversized strike zone gave Gibson and his fellow pitchers of the day a HUGE advantage. For that reason, Gibson's record is not in my top 10, nor is it in my top 20. To qualify as a top baseball record, the mark should've been set without overriding advantages that allowed it to happen. For example, Ted William's .406 season falls into that category, although the likelihood someone will hit .400 some day soon is a pretty good one, considering the close calls there have been in the past 20 years or so (Rod Carew, George Brett, Tony Gwynn). Orel Hersheiser's 59-inning streak is another example of a record that didn't have any extra help when he set it, he just did it. That said, even though I'm a fan of Barry Bonds, I don't consider his record something that should should be in the top 10 (I'm talking about the 73 home runs) because it "allegedly (haha)" had help. It's a simple definition that I use personally. If it doesn't work for you, that's fine as well.

posted by donnnnychris at 12:18 AM on May 31

Looks like we were brainstorming at the same time, donnnnychris! I meant to say that the Cyclone's record of 511, Nolan Ryan's career K mark, and Rickey Hendersons career SB record, are all pretty damn safe as well! But who knows what will the sport be like in the future? These may all fall by the wayside, eventually. I hope the game is still played 100 years from now.......

posted by mjkredliner at 12:35 AM on May 31

Ok, I'm guessing the list left off Rickey Henderson's career stolen base mark because someone had a complete brain freeze or something. Well, the article stated that it was about the records people cared about most, not the hardest to break. Going by that measure, the 56 games streak is going to be in the top 3 easy. Stolen bases? A long ways down the list. Only the most dedicated stats fan would know what the record is. I just think that a record, to be in the top 10, should be basically unreachable (i.e., Cy Young's 511 wins; Nolan Ryan's strikeout career mark; Rickey Henderson's career stolen bases). I just don't think DiMaggio's streak falls into that category, that's all. I think we can agree to disagree on that point. Each to his own, but just realize you're going against every opinion, from fan and player, that I've ever heard. Most people hold DiMaggio's streak as the best example of an unbreakable record. I don't think anything in recent times shows the streak to be in jeopardy. The pressure would shoot through the roof. I don't think a few people reaching 35 games means anything. Imagine the pressure once a player reached 50. Basically, what amateur said, plus 10.

posted by justgary at 12:39 AM on May 31

Ok, I'm guessing the list left off Rickey Henderson's career stolen base mark because someone had a complete brain freeze or something. Aww come on, it has his single season record on the list and it is a list of top ten non-HR records, not a list of top ten SB records held by Rickey Henderson. My personal favorite on the list has to be Denny McLain's 31 wins. Of course '68 was a magical year for Tigers fans and I remember following each and every game that summer, right up to their win in the World Series over the Cards. Everyone in my hometown was so excited about McLain and the Tigers that our teachers stopped all of the classes in school during the day games of the World Series and set up a radio in the gym so we could all listen. The hardest to believe part though is that it was 38 years ago.

posted by commander cody at 12:40 AM on May 31

Commander Cody, 31 wins is something today's generation could only dream about, with the way managers yank starters after 5 innings, won't pitch them on less than four days rest and keep innings around 200 per year. McLain's year was amazing. Just for information's sake, the record for wins in a season (modern), is 44, I believe, which is really unreal. I think it was set around the turn of the century by Ed Walsh. There was a few higher totals in the 1800s but Walsh's was in the early 1900s. And by the way CommanderCody, I was a young boy (12 years old, if I can remember that far back) the year Rickey went for 130 and that record was truly electrifying, when he broke Lou Brock's 118. I was watching on TV at my grandparent's house and I can remember going crazy when he set the record. Anyway, great discussion on DiMaggio. I respect everyone's opinion on his mark. I just think someone will get close and have a legitimate shot at it real soon. And if not, guess what, the word keeps spinning!!! As for Joltin' Joe, he was one of the all-time greats, no doubt about it. The most amazing part of that season to me wasn't that he hit in 56 games in a row, it's that after he was denied in game No. 57, he went on another tear of 26 games, making it 82 out of 83 (I think that's correct, but if it isn't, somebody let me know...it might've been 83 of 84). Going more than half a season (with the 154-game schedule in those days) and only having one game without a hit is completely mind-boggling.

posted by donnnnychris at 01:21 AM on May 31

Actually, I just thought about it and I change my mind on DiMaggio's record. Not that someone couldn't get there but in today's MLB there would be one wimp manager (LaRussa anyone?) who would walk the guy four times intentionally if the streak got close. Even DiMaggio had that happen to him during the streak, although he was able to reach across the plate and belt one of the Intentional Walk pitches for a hit to right field. So, yeah, it can't be broken because of today's managers. Bunch of pussies that they are.

posted by donnnnychris at 01:36 AM on May 31

I dont know about everyone else, but Ive always thought it would be cool to see a full 9 innings pitched, each out a strikeout. Clemens and Kerry Wood came close with 20, but I dont know if I can see it happening anytime soon...

posted by DJ8881 at 06:50 AM on May 31

Donnnny, I think it was a 16-game streak, giving Joe D 72 out of 73...

posted by ajaffe at 07:37 AM on May 31

I dont know about everyone else, but Ive always thought it would be cool to see a full 9 innings pitched, each out a strikeout. Clemens and Kerry Wood came close with 20, but I dont know if I can see it happening anytime soon... Here is a bit of information about that sort of accomplishment. (Brett Gray's minor league stats)

posted by grum@work at 08:00 AM on May 31

Not that someone couldn't get there but in today's MLB there would be one wimp manager (LaRussa anyone?) who would walk the guy four times intentionally if the streak got close. First of all, why? Second of all, would that break a hitting streak if you don't have an at bat in the game? So, yeah, it can't be broken because of today's managers. Bunch of pussies that they are. And that is begging the question. Topped with axe grindings.

posted by yerfatma at 08:14 AM on May 31

Not that someone couldn't get there but in today's MLB there would be one wimp manager (LaRussa anyone?) who would walk the guy four times intentionally if the streak got close. It's stated in the baseball rules about streaks that a player has to get at least one at-bat in a game for it to count. If a batter is walked every appearance, deliberate or otherwise, then he's had ZERO at-bats (but has had plate appearances for the same of "games played" streaks). Therefore, that game would not count towards his hitting streak. Another statistical analysis of the 56 game hitting streak of Jolting Joe: Let's assume that Player X is a superstar and a consistent .400 hitter, and that every at-bat in a game is independent of the previous at-bats. The chance of a .400 hitter having 4 at-bats in a game and getting at LEAST one hit is 87.04% (1-(0.600)^4) To do that in back-to-back games, (0.8704)^2 = 75.76% chance. To do that in X consecutive games, (0.8704)^X. So, for any 56 game period, the chances of getting at least one hit in each game is close to 0.0420976%, or 1 in 2375. If we assume a hitter of DiMaggio's expertise that year (.357), then the chance of a 56-game hitting streak drop quickly to 0.0027096%, or 1 in 36905. If it's just some guy hitting .333, then it's an unfathomable 0.0004325%, or about 1 in 231205.

posted by grum@work at 08:27 AM on May 31

My problem with the article is that it is all over the place with what constitutes a record. Bonds passed 714, but 714 ain't the record-- 755 is. 714 stopped being magical a long time ago. Odd that Bud Selig, of all people, would get something like this right, but he did, and he should get credit for it.

posted by outside counsel at 10:08 AM on May 31

The Baseball Gods gave DiMaggio the streak to keep that crank Ted Williams from winning the MVP. It was a divine gift. If that record gets broken, I will march through Southie in a Jeter belly shirt carrying a sack of beer nuts. Ain't no way, kid. Joe D's streak is beloved because it has the air of attainability, not unlike the lottery. And players will routinely "approach" it every few years, so it will remain consistently in baseball's consciousness. (Beer Nut Jeter Belly Time, Beer Nut Jeter Belly Time, Beer Nut Jeter Belly with a baseball bat...)

posted by BullpenPro at 11:10 AM on May 31

A. Ted Williams was a crank? To the media, maybe. B. Just in case, South End != Southie.

posted by yerfatma at 11:42 AM on May 31

he was denied in game 57 Thanks to a couple of defensive gems, if memory serves right.

posted by mjkredliner at 11:46 AM on May 31

Is it just a coincidence that the two top choices (56 game streak and 406 avg) both happened in the same year? Or could there have been something different about the game in 1941. Maybe this stuff about raised/lowered mounds, lively balls, small strike zones etc, have more than just a small impact on the various records. One item not mentioned in the article was Roy Face's 18 and 1 record (as a reliever) in 1959. As he was primarily a closer, that must have meant a lot of blown saves and come-from-behind late inning rallies. I doubt we'll see such a thing again.

posted by drevl at 11:58 AM on May 31

Oh yea, another cool performance. I remember (back in the 50's when I was but a pup) Joe Adcock of the Braves had 3 home runs and a double in a 9 inning game. 14 total bases is pretty hard to beat.

posted by drevl at 05:02 PM on May 31

Joe Adcock of the Braves had 3 home runs and a double in a 9 inning game. 14 total bases is pretty hard to beat. You mean, he hit 4 HR and had a double (18 total bases). That was broken by Shawn Green who went 6-6 with 4HR, a double and a single. Here are the other 4 HR hitters.

posted by grum@work at 05:13 PM on May 31

Damn, thanks grum. And I thought 14 tb was good. I was 10 at the time, so forgive my poor memory (I was 58 when Green did it, so I guess more than memory is involved here).

posted by drevl at 07:19 PM on May 31

Someone will get something like that going again and won't have to stop. donnnnychris, we can agree to disagree on the central issue. Just let me make one little point. If there is such a thing as a "streak" or "confidence" effect and I am not admitting any such thing then the analysis I did should already take that into account. That's because I am only considering streaks of at least 30 games. The evidence shows that even a hitter that has hit safely in 30+ games has only a 50% chance of hitting safely in his next four. grum's analysis above explicitly excludes the possibility that there is such a thing as a "hot hand" at the plate; he assumes that all at-bats during a season are equal, statistically speaking.

posted by Amateur at 09:02 PM on May 31

Thanks to a couple of defensive gems, if memory serves right. You are right, mjkredliner, it was Ken Keltner of the Indians I believe who made two ridiculously great plays at third base to stop DiMaggio's streak. Joe D's streak is beloved because it has the air of attainability, not unlike the lottery. And players will routinely "approach" it every few years, so it will remain consistently in baseball's consciousness. BullpenPro, that is the best description I have ever heard of that record, comparing it to the elusiveness of the lottery. Not that long ago I missed the lotto by one or two numbers on all of the numbers. I was jacked until my brother said very matter-of-factly, "you still lost dude." I guess that's the case with this record. Everybody can get close but to make it there it's something special. It's stated in the baseball rules about streaks that a player has to get at least one at-bat in a game for it to count. If a batter is walked every appearance, deliberate or otherwise, then he's had ZERO at-bats (but has had plate appearances for the same of "games played" streaks). Therefore, that game would not count towards his hitting streak. If that's the case, grum@work, then I stand corrected. However, the rule must've changed since DiMaggio's streak in 1941 because there was a game during the streak where the manager tried to intentionally walk him each at-bat. Like I said before, DiMaggio snuffed out that attempt by reaching across the plate and belting a single to right field on one of the IBB pitches. Maybe the rule has changed but that was the case back in 1941. Either way, I still think if someone were to get real close then he would be walked by some of today's managers to deny him a chance to break the record. Meaning, after getting a few at-bats in a game and then having one more chance in the late innings. That would be sad. By the way, thanks for all the math workups that have been done. I just don't take much stock in all of that. Interesting numbers though, although I wouldn't consider a 1-in-231,205 chance to be "unfathomable," which is defined by the dictionary as: 1. Impossible to come to understand 2. So deep as to be unmeasurable 3. Of depth; not capable of being sounded or measured. Because you've done the math I think it's safe to say we can understand the numbers and they are certainly measurable. So wrong choice of words there.

posted by donnnnychris at 01:52 AM on June 01

I just don't take much stock in all of that. Interesting numbers though, although I wouldn't consider a 1-in-231,205 chance to be "unfathomable" How 'bout "fucking unlikely"? And can you explain why you don't put stock in "the math" of probability?

posted by yerfatma at 06:06 AM on June 01

Simple, yerfatma, because humans can't be broke down into numbers...if they could, the Oakland A's would win the MLB title every year, and nobody would get married since the probability of divorce is so high. People do it anyway because they are human. And try to keep the language down, there's no need to get hostile. I didn't when the board tried to math me into submission. Give me the same respect.

posted by donnnnychris at 06:24 AM on June 01

Also, what the "math" of probability has given us in baseball is the parade of pitchers that are trotted out every other batter because of "tendencies" and "probabilities." It would be nice to see a manager just let a starter gut out an inning once in a while, instead of slowing down the game with his righty-lefty strategy. But hey, it's good math though, right?

posted by donnnnychris at 07:15 AM on June 01

Simple, yerfatma, because humans can't be broke down into numbers...if they could, the Oakland A's would win the MLB title every year, and nobody would get married since the probability of divorce is so high. I have no response in the face of such overwhelming logic. Well, none other than to suggest a perusal of probability theory and/or Public choice for a little background. The whole point of these things is that mass behavior can be broken down into numbers if you filter out the noise. Your "Oakland A's would win the MLB title every year" is ridiculous. Why would they win every year when they don't have the best numbers? You and Joe Morgan should actually read Moneyball before you tell us what it is about. The subtitle itself points out the A's are trying to gain an edge because they can't afford to buy an edge. Nowhere does it claim they have the best teams stat-wise. I'm sorry I can't even rationally disagree with you because of your glass wall of illogic.

posted by yerfatma at 08:28 AM on June 01

Yerfatma, regarding batting streaks specifically, I am not so well versed in math, economics or human behavior (I don't get out much) but intuitively I am wondering if "mass behavior" applies to the likelihood of any single individual breaking the streak. We're talking about the achievement of an individual within a group, not the behavior of a group. ?! mentioned above that the streak is "the only statistical anonomly in MLB's records." That sounds like it goes beyond even the most remote of outliers. It seems to me that there are unforeseeable and incalculable influences (the media, the weather, health factors, etc.) that, over the course of two months or so, make this feat even harder than your basic probability calculator would conclude. (Trying to break this dang glass wall of illogic, but we store clerks can't throw these stones too well...)

posted by BullpenPro at 11:07 AM on June 01

Either way, I still think if someone were to get real close then he would be walked by some of today's managers to deny him a chance to break the record. No way. In fact, if that hitter came up in a tight spot, it would be even harder to walk him. With all the media that would be surrounding that event, no manager is going to want to be known as the guy that ended the streak, at least not that way. if they could, the Oakland A's would win the MLB title every year, and nobody would get married since the probability of divorce is so high. Well, nice try, but you're stretching. Divorce rate is what, 50%? You need to come up with something that compares to the odds of 1-in-231,205 and yet happens frequently to make a comparison work, and you ain't gonna find it. Because you've done the math I think it's safe to say we can understand the numbers and they are certainly measurable. So wrong choice of words there. He was referring to the act of hitting for 56 games being unfathomable, not the numbers. Simple, yerfatma, because humans can't be broke down into numbers. In this case, they pretty much can. It seems to me that there are unforeseeable and incalculable influences (the media, the weather, health factors, etc.) that, over the course of two months or so, make this feat even harder than your basic probability calculator would conclude. Agreed. The statistics aren't taking into account the pressure during the 40th game, the 50th. So when you take in aspects outside of statistics, it makes the possibility of another streak even more remote.

posted by justgary at 11:50 AM on June 01

I am wondering if "mass behavior" applies to the likelihood of any single individual breaking the streak. We're talking about the achievement of an individual within a group, not the behavior of a group. Poor choice of words on my part, but we do have a mass of at bats in the history of baseball. How many, I dunno, millions? And yet in all those games only one person has had 56 consecutive occurences of a game with a hit. It seems to me that there are unforeseeable and incalculable influences (the media, the weather, health factors, etc.) that, over the course of two months or so, make this feat even harder than your basic probability calculator would conclude. Only because we are restricted by our own infallibility. If the universe does speakee the mathee, it should not be indeterminable. Just hard to do. Butterfly flapping its wings and all that. Or a bird flying in front of a pitched ball.

posted by yerfatma at 12:44 PM on June 01

Wonders if yerfatma is a writer or consultant for that TV show Numb3rs.

posted by Folkways at 01:38 PM on June 01

Y'know, I meant to mention in my previous comment that I'm not very good at math, certainly not anything above trig (and even that I probably couldn't pass at this point), but I'm going to skip all that so I can complain that Numb3rs really had a fucking sophmore slump. Adding that chick from Loveline (Diane Farr?) as the new female lead was a huge mistake unless your audience consists solely of people who get off on Fargo-quality accents. And maybe give me some actual math once in a while. I know they have math profs as consultants, but just throwing some obscure theorem name in the middle of an ep is no excuse to go bust drug runners in a gunfight. Of course, I'll probably still watch, but mainly for Judd Hirsch and the dude who plays The Eradicator on Harvey Birdman. In sum: the goddamn DVR has me watching too much TV.

posted by yerfatma at 02:13 PM on June 01

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