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westofyou
06-07-2009, 12:57 PM
Good stuff in the Times regarding the error rate dropping.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/sports/baseball/07spotlight.html?ref=sports


On Tuesday, the Yankees made an error for the first time since May 13, snapping their major league-record streak of 18 errorless games. The Boston Red Sox set the previous record of 17 in 2006.

That this record has been broken twice in three years speaks to the fact that players are making fewer errors today than at any point in baseball history.

In 1960, the fielding percentage in the majors was .977 and teams averaged 0.87 errors a game. So far this season, through Thursday, the fielding percentage was .984 and teams were averaging 0.59 errors a game, which would eclipse the record of 0.61 set in 2007 and tied last year.

There are many contributing factors. With strikeouts on the rise and walks remaining fairly consistent, there are fewer chances for errors because fewer balls are put in play. More advanced scouting and videotape have helped players position themselves to get to more balls. An increased emphasis on home runs leads to more fly balls, on which fewer errors are made.

Ivy McLemore can be considered to be an expert on errors. He has been an official scorer for the Houston Astros off and on for more than 30 years. He was the official scorer for the 1980 National League Championship Series, the 1986 and 2004 All-Star Games and the 2005 World Series. He began scoring in 1977 at 19 years old after doing the play by play on a teletype machine in the press box for three years.

“If you ask 10 different people, you might get 10 different opinions as to why there are fewer errors,” McLemore said in a phone interview. “In my opinion, if you look at the last 30 years in baseball, there’s been a steady progression toward the long ball and great catches. A big part of that is that ESPN has changed the way the game is played. ‘SportsCenter’ highlights aren’t going to be run-scoring singles and stolen bases.”

McLemore, one of four official scorers for the Astros, says the decline in stolen bases has taken a lot of pressure off the defense. In fact, the Yankees’ errorless streak ended when catcher Jorge Posada threw the ball into center field on Elvis Andrus’s fourth-inning stolen base.

There were 255 fewer stolen bases in 2008 than in 1976, even though there were five more teams last season than in 1976.

“Small ball just isn’t played anymore,” McLemore said. “Why take the chance on stealing a base and getting thrown out when the next pitch may sail over the fence?”


The mention of the BB rate and the K rate taking away chances also is seen in the season assist total leaders. The majority of the highest assists for the 2 middle IF's has always occurred in eras that were bat on the ball eras, save a few outliers. As K's go up and BB mirror that we'll see less and less assists from IF's and that means less chances, which also means less errors.

Here's the 3 main IF positions assist leaders for a season.



ASSISTS YEAR A E
1 Ozzie Smith 1980 621 24
2 Glenn Wright 1924 601 52
3 Dave Bancroft 1920 598 45
4 Tommy Thevenow 1926 597 45
5 Ivan DeJesus 1977 595 33
6 Cal Ripken 1984 583 26
7 Whitey Wietelmann 1943 581 40
8 Dave Bancroft 1922 579 62
9 Rabbit Maranville 1914 574 65
10 Don Kessinger 1968 573 33


ASSISTS YEAR A E
1 Frankie Frisch 1927 641 22
2 Hughie Critz 1926 588 18
3 Rogers Hornsby 1927 582 25
4 Ski Melillo 1930 572 21
5 Ryne Sandberg 1983 571 13
6 Rabbit Maranville 1924 568 26
7 Frank Parkinson 1922 562 34
8 Aaron Hill 2007 560 14
9 Tony Cuccinello 1936 559 28
10 Johnny Hodapp 1930 557 30



ASSISTS YEAR A E
1 Graig Nettles 1971 412 16
T2 Brooks Robinson 1974 410 18
T2 Graig Nettles 1973 410 26
T4 Harlond Clift 1937 405 34
T4 Brooks Robinson 1967 405 11
6 Mike Schmidt 1974 404 26
7 Doug DeCinces 1982 399 21
8 Brandon Inge 2006 397 22
T9 Clete Boyer 1962 396 22
T9 Mike Schmidt 1977 396 19
T9 Buddy Bell 1982 396 13


3rd base is more varied the 2nd or SS, but the majority of the MI leaders played in the 20's when K's and BB were down and BA up. The 70's and the 80's with lower offense also produced less power batters and thus more ground balls. The guys with the most errors tend to have played on fields that were not 1/2 as pure as the ones we've seen in our lifetime, plus they were playing with gloves that were in essence as big as an oven mitt not a fishing net.

The OF with the most Put Outs occur during bat on the ball slugging eras (17 out of the top 25 can be termed as that)


SEASON
OF
ERRORS displayed only--not a sorting criteria

PUTOUTS YEAR PO E
1 Taylor Douthit 1928 547 9
2 Richie Ashburn 1951 538 7
3 Richie Ashburn 1949 514 11
4 Chet Lemon 1977 512 12
5 Dwayne Murphy 1980 507 5
T6 Richie Ashburn 1956 503 9
T6 Dom DiMaggio 1948 503 10
8 Richie Ashburn 1957 502 7
9 Richie Ashburn 1953 496 5
10 Richie Ashburn 1958 495 8
11 Andruw Jones 1999 493 10
12 Jim Busby 1954 491 6
13 Omar Moreno 1979 490 13
T14 Bobby Thomson 1949 488 9
T14 Al Bumbry 1980 488 5
T14 Baby Doll Jacobson 1924 488 7
17 Mike Cameron 2003 485 4
18 Lloyd Waner 1931 484 11
19 Richie Ashburn 1954 483 8
T20 Willie Wilson 1980 482 6
T20 Jim Busby 1953 482 6
22 Omar Moreno 1980 479 5
23 Tom Oliver 1930 477 9
24 Dwayne Murphy 1984 474 6
25 Lloyd Moseby 1984 473 5

Ashburn was stud that's evident.