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WVRed
06-28-2009, 08:45 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124511558996917441.html


Judging by his résumé, Craig Breslow is the smartest man in baseball, if not the entire world. A lefty reliever for the Athletics, Mr. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry before trying his hand at professional sports.
[Craig Breslow] Getty Images

The Count ranked every ballclub by its education. Players who earned college degrees got twice the points as players who just attended. Starting players were weighted more heavily, as were players who attended elite schools. Managers were also included in the formula.*

HIGHEST GRADES LOWEST GRADES
Oakland (32 pts.) Atlanta (4)
Tampa Bay (31) Texas (12)
Arizona (31) Cincinnati (13)
Boston (31) Florida (14)
Toronto (30) KC/LAA (tie, 15)

* - Includes each player who made at least one appearance through June 1

Where did those brains get him? He has yet to find a permanent home, playing for five different teams in four seasons. Yet with Mr. Breslow in their bullpen last year, the Twins led the AL Central until the final day of the season. So can smart players actually help propel a team toward success? Is it time for an educational audit?

By scouring 30 team media guides, The Count investigated how many ballplayers went to four-year U.S. colleges or universities, which of them graduated and whether there is, in fact, a correlation between education and victories. Starting players were weighted more heavily in our rankings, as were players who attended elite schools.

Shockingly, while many current major leaguers had college experience, we found only 26 (including managers), who have earned degrees. The brainiest team was the A's, with three graduates and seven key members of the lineup having university experience.

However, three "All-Brains" division leaders -- Oakland, Arizona and Washington -- are in last place in real life, while Texas and the Dodgers were last in their divisions in smarts but first in the standings. So much for baseball being a thinking man's game.

For what it's worth, though, there's hope for Mr. Breslow yet. He has a 1.86 ERA since joining those brainy A's.
—Jason Turbow

BCubb2003
06-28-2009, 08:51 PM
Who are the brainiest Reds players? I like Chris Dickerson and Edinson Volquez, based on their interviews, but they don't have degrees.

OnBaseMachine
06-28-2009, 08:53 PM
Who are the brainiest Reds players? I like Chris Dickerson and Edinson Volquez, based on their interviews, but they don't have degrees.

I agree, and I'll add Votto to that group.

Spitball
06-28-2009, 11:11 PM
The Count ranked every ballclub by its education. Players who earned college degrees got twice the points as players who just attended. Starting players were weighted more heavily, as were players who attended elite schools. Managers were also included in the formula.*

A team's drafting philosophy would play into this formula. If a team tends to draft college players, it would have a higher point total than a team that prefers high school players.

dougdirt
06-28-2009, 11:12 PM
Curtis Granderson, one of the 26 with a degree in MLB had an article up about Bryce Harper a little over a week ago and I find it interesting that despite being one of the few in the majors with a degree, he doesn't think its something that athletes, particularly incredibly skilled ones need.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/The-Grandstand-Baseball-and-the-importance-of-e?urn=mlb,171245#remaining-content

Yachtzee
06-28-2009, 11:25 PM
Curtis Granderson, one of the 26 with a degree in MLB had an article up about Bryce Harper a little over a week ago and I find it interesting that despite being one of the few in the majors with a degree, he doesn't think its something that athletes, particularly incredibly skilled ones need.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/The-Grandstand-Baseball-and-the-importance-of-e?urn=mlb,171245#remaining-content

Maybe not to play baseball, but it might help after they retire. You can't be shortsighted when you're career might last 8-15 years if you're good.

cincinnati chili
06-28-2009, 11:45 PM
College degrees are more a product of opportunity than ability (and I'm someone with three degrees). I have no idea if I'm smarter than Pedro Martinez or Ichiro, but there's a very good chance I'm not. I'm pretty sure the former didn't finish high school and I'm pretty sure the latter hasn't enrolled in a single college course. But I guarantee you that both have the IQ and the intellectual curiosity to have excelled in academia if they had grown up in different socioeconomic circumstances or just plain old different circumstances.

Unlike football, so many baseball players are plucked right out of high school (in the case Latin players - who can be signed at 16 - PRIOR to finishing high school).

I don't buy the argument that intelligence doesn't factor into success at the Major League level. It's just that there are limits to using college degrees as a measure of intelligence. It might tell you something, on a macro level, about GMs. Not about players.

Nasty_Boy
06-28-2009, 11:58 PM
Isn't doing what's best for you and your family in trying to make a living what its all about? I have a college degree, but if my son has the opportunity to play professional baseball I would encourage him to do so. In today's age of technology, getting a degree online or even during the offseason wouldn't be that hard to do. You can always go back to college... You don't always get the chance to play pro baseball.

jojo
06-29-2009, 12:09 AM
A college degree is supposed to train you to do something with the caveat that the American model embraces an approach where one's overall intellect is supposed to be developed beyond one's specific discipline.

If a kid like Bryce Harper can get someone to pay him $5M to agree to be trained to do something, why go to college first?

jojo
06-29-2009, 12:12 AM
Isn't doing what's best for you and your family in trying to make a living what its all about? I have a college degree, but if my son has the opportunity to play professional baseball I would encourage him to do so. In today's age of technology, getting a degree online or even during the offseason wouldn't be that hard to do. You can always go back to college... You don't always get the chance to play pro baseball.

College degrees are like Doritos in the sense that they'll make more. Colleges drool over "non-traditional" students (i.e. returning adults) so if your son had structured his life such that college was doable in terms of obligations after he finished making a run at the bigs, college would still be there waiting.....

BCubb2003
06-29-2009, 12:30 AM
Well-educated ballplayers are usually seen as oddities. The Reds had Jim Brosnan, who not only wrote books but read them. But nobody compares to the remarkable Moe Berg.

Team Clark
06-29-2009, 08:50 AM
Nearly al the players signed in the first 20 rounds (sometimes beyond) get the Major League Baseball Scholarship. MLB pays full tuition to the college of your choice. Pretty good program to take advantage of in the off season or after you are done playing.

redsmetz
06-29-2009, 09:06 AM
So I see the Reds are near the bottom, but do we have any players who have college degrees?

I see they count managers, so LaRussa is one of St. Louis', he has a law degree, as I recall.

Chip R
06-29-2009, 10:10 AM
I wonder what the graduation rates are like for the top college teams.

bucksfan2
06-29-2009, 01:01 PM
A college degree is supposed to train you to do something with the caveat that the American model embraces an approach where one's overall intellect is supposed to be developed beyond one's specific discipline.

If a kid like Bryce Harper can get someone to pay him $5M to agree to be trained to do something, why go to college first?

Lets look at the Bryce Harper situation. Lets assume that Harper is a top 10 pick next year and gets in the range of an $8-$12M signing bonus. That is a lot of money to someone like me, probably more than I may make in my entire professional career. The problem for many top athletes isn't the amount of money they make, it is the way they handle that money. There was an article posted on RZ about how and why professional athletes go broke. Even the athletes who you thought were the intelligent ones made a ton of stupid investments.

It is just my opinion but any person who has the ability to pursue a college degree should do so. While extended education doesn't mean you are an intelligent person, it sure doesn't hurt.

BCubb2003
06-29-2009, 01:33 PM
It's hard to find actual graduations. A lot of guys went three years then signed. It looks like Harang at San Diego State and Roenicke at UCLA are the only grads.

redsmetz
06-29-2009, 04:51 PM
It's hard to find actual graduations. A lot of guys went three years then signed. It looks like Harang at San Diego State and Roenicke at UCLA are the only grads.

You're right, it is difficult to ascertain who has graduated and who hasn't. We do have a lot of players who have attended college. I do wonder if Owings finished college. He started at Georgia Tech and then transferred to Tulane. The years would be enough to have gone four years, but it's possible one of those years he may have sat out because of the transfer.

We have a number of players who were drafted after their junior year. I wonder if any have gone during the off season to finish their degrees.

Rojo
06-29-2009, 05:09 PM
Lets look at the Bryce Harper situation. Lets assume that Harper is a top 10 pick next year and gets in the range of an $8-$12M signing bonus. That is a lot of money to someone like me, probably more than I may make in my entire professional career. The problem for many top athletes isn't the amount of money they make, it is the way they handle that money. There was an article posted on RZ about how and why professional athletes go broke. Even the athletes who you thought were the intelligent ones made a ton of stupid investments.

It is just my opinion but any person who has the ability to pursue a college degree should do so. While extended education doesn't mean you are an intelligent person, it sure doesn't hurt.

Yep, take the up-front money. Why take a chance on hurting yourself before the big payday while you finish up your criminal justice degree?

Most would do well to just take a few personal finance classes.

Chip R
06-29-2009, 05:17 PM
There doesn't seem to be the stigma on baseball players and their respective collegiate programs for not graduating their players as there is for football and basketball. Of course there isn't nearly as much attention paid to baseball as there is to their counterparts.

TOBTTReds
06-29-2009, 05:49 PM
I vote Ross Ohlendorf as the smartest. Majored in Operations Research and Financial engineering at Princeton. IIRC, he only missed one question on his SAT's in high school. Another Princeton baseball player was asked if he was smarter than Ohlendorf, and I remember the guy said Ross was on a completely different level.

Chip R
06-29-2009, 05:54 PM
Norm Charlton triple-majored at Rice.

westofyou
06-29-2009, 06:23 PM
In the early 20th century there was a sudden influx of college players, it was said that Connie Mack prefered the college player over the rough hewed non college player, much was made about Christy Mathewson going to Bucknell (did not graduate) and Eddie Collins played for Columbia (graduated) MOST (like 90%) of them didn't graduate and many like Hal Chase (Santa Clara) never even went to school, more simply they more often were ringers first and foremost, not students.

Yachtzee
07-01-2009, 03:45 PM
Yep, take the up-front money. Why take a chance on hurting yourself before the big payday while you finish up your criminal justice degree?

Most would do well to just take a few personal finance classes.

No reason why someone can't play pro ball and go to school. A lot of people work full-time careers and continue to further their education. Baseball players are in the unique position in that they have a substantial off-season in which to pursue an education.

Chip R
07-01-2009, 04:29 PM
No reason why someone can't play pro ball and go to school. A lot of people work full-time careers and continue to further their education. Baseball players are in the unique position in that they have a substantial off-season in which to pursue an education.

True. However, the presence of a large bonus may be a disincentive to go back - or even go - to school. Imagine you are an 18-19 year old kid and you have just been drafted and signed by a MLB team. They gave you a multi-million dollar or even multi-hundred-thousand dollar bonus. Taking classes in the off season is going to be the last thing on these kids' minds.

cincinnati chili
07-02-2009, 12:54 AM
True. However, the presence of a large bonus may be a disincentive to go back - or even go - to school. Imagine you are an 18-19 year old kid and you have just been drafted and signed by a MLB team. They gave you a multi-million dollar or even multi-hundred-thousand dollar bonus. Taking classes in the off season is going to be the last thing on these kids' minds.

But what percentage of MLB players EVER got a large bonus?

This is not a rhetorical question. I'm really not sure. I had a better handle on this data several years ago. But if I had to guess, I'd say that no more than 25% of guys playing in the majors got 6-figure bonuses when they signed. IIRC, Miguel Tejada didn't even get a 5-figure bonus.

Some MLB players, along with their monetary bonus, get a pledge from the team to pay for completion of an undergraduate education at ANY SCHOOL. So theoretically, if Homer Bailey has such a clause and goes bust, perhaps the Reds will pay to put him through some $$$ private school.

Tony Cloninger
07-02-2009, 01:21 AM
They need to at least ...like it was said....take finance courses and quit investing money through outside parties. You should be able to go very far with just 1 million...let alone 5.

Chip R
07-02-2009, 11:16 AM
But what percentage of MLB players EVER got a large bonus?

This is not a rhetorical question. I'm really not sure. I had a better handle on this data several years ago. But if I had to guess, I'd say that no more than 25% of guys playing in the majors got 6-figure bonuses when they signed. IIRC, Miguel Tejada didn't even get a 5-figure bonus.

Some MLB players, along with their monetary bonus, get a pledge from the team to pay for completion of an undergraduate education at ANY SCHOOL. So theoretically, if Homer Bailey has such a clause and goes bust, perhaps the Reds will pay to put him through some $$$ private school.


Well, we are just talking about the players with the large bonuses. I'm not talking about guys plucked off the Dominican sandlots. This is about guys who actually have a choice between college and pro baseball. I think that it's great that teams give them the opportunity to get their degree but what I'm saying is that their bonus - minus the money for college - can have the opposite effect on them in regards to going to college.

As fondly as we remember college, there were parts of it that weren't too great. The 8:00 classes, the jerk professors, studying, the exams. That part isn't too appealing. Plus that's more school on top of high school. If you're a teenager with a lot of money in the bank, more school might not seem like the number 1 priority in your life.

bucksfan2
07-02-2009, 11:34 AM
As fondly as we remember college, there were parts of it that weren't too great. The 8:00 classes, the jerk professors, studying, the exams. That part isn't too appealing. Plus that's more school on top of high school. If you're a teenager with a lot of money in the bank, more school might not seem like the number 1 priority in your life.

That is a part of college. That is a part of the learning experience. Its whether you decide to kiss up to a teacher to get a better grade or stick to you guns. Its about dealing with stuff that you have no control over. I would argue that those non appealing parts to college are as important as the education you get. I had the jerk professors, the 7:30 classes, the all nighters and I wouldn't have passed those up for anything.

The problem is unless you are a top talent, you likely aren't going to get all that big of a bonus. Its amazing how quickly you can blow through a $350,000 bonus. If you don't have an education to fall back on, what happens when your 40, out of work, and have lavish lifestyle to sustain.

reds1869
07-02-2009, 12:11 PM
I do wonder if Owings finished college. He started at Georgia Tech and then transferred to Tulane. The years would be enough to have gone four years, but it's possible one of those years he may have sat out because of the transfer.

College baseball does not currently require transfers to sit out a year when transferring...it is unlike many other NCAA sports in that respect. The rules are changing for the 2010 season, however, to be more in line with the revenue sports.

Chip R
07-02-2009, 12:29 PM
That is a part of college. That is a part of the learning experience. Its whether you decide to kiss up to a teacher to get a better grade or stick to you guns. Its about dealing with stuff that you have no control over. I would argue that those non appealing parts to college are as important as the education you get. I had the jerk professors, the 7:30 classes, the all nighters and I wouldn't have passed those up for anything.

Sure, that's the rational, responsible, mature, adult school of thought - no pun intended. But how many 17-18-19 year olds do you know that make those kind of decisions? Add onto that the fact that these kids are instant millionaires. Faced with the choice of dealing with the jerk profs, getting up early and studying or sitting at home playing Nintendo, going out with friends/girls, sleeping in, etc., a lot of kids in that position are going to choose the latter option because there's no immediate downside.


The problem is unless you are a top talent, you likely aren't going to get all that big of a bonus. Its amazing how quickly you can blow through a $350,000 bonus. If you don't have an education to fall back on, what happens when your 40, out of work, and have lavish lifestyle to sustain.[/quote]

No argument there but they aren't thinking that could happen to them.

reds1869
07-02-2009, 01:45 PM
Sure, that's the rational, responsible, mature, adult school of thought - no pun intended. But how many 17-18-19 year olds do you know that make those kind of decisions? Add onto that the fact that these kids are instant millionaires. Faced with the choice of dealing with the jerk profs, getting up early and studying or sitting at home playing Nintendo, going out with friends/girls, sleeping in, etc., a lot of kids in that position are going to choose the latter option because there's no immediate downside.


The problem is unless you are a top talent, you likely aren't going to get all that big of a bonus. Its amazing how quickly you can blow through a $350,000 bonus. If you don't have an education to fall back on, what happens when your 40, out of work, and have lavish lifestyle to sustain.

When I think of the poor decisions I made in my youth, I can only imagine what I might have done as a new high school graduate with a big signing bonus. Youth is youth regardless of education level, and most of us make poor decisions. Nothing anyone older or wiser told me seemed true until I did it all for myself. Even if present day me went back to speak to my 20 year old self, I would still make the same dumb decisions. It comes with the territory of being young and independent for the first time.

As far as using degrees to measure intelligence, I don't think it means a whole lot. My sister has a Ph.D. and is a respected Harvard medical researcher. She is one of the most brilliant people I have ever known. Her education is certainly equivalent with her actual intelligence. OTOH, I attended graduate classes--at a very good university--with people about whom I wondered how they made it through grade school, let alone earned a college degree. I have also worked with/for Ph.Ds who had the common sense of a bugzapper.