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Thread: Making the (Fewer) Plays

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    Making the (Fewer) Plays

    Good stuff in the Times regarding the error rate dropping.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/sp...tml?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.

    Code:
    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)

    Code:
    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.
    Last edited by westofyou; 06-07-2009 at 01:01 PM.

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