Productivity in Baseball: How Babe Ruth Beats the Benchmark

17 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2016

See all articles by Peter A. Groothuis

Peter A. Groothuis

Appalachian State University, Department of Economics

Kurt W. Rotthoff

Seton Hall University - W. Paul Stillman School of Business

Mark C. Strazicich

Appalachian State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 9, 2016

Abstract

Many count statistics are used to measure the productivity of hitters in Major League Baseball, such as the number of home runs and the number of runs batted in a season. However, comparing the talent of individual players across time is difficult as rules and technologies change. In this paper, we propose applying a practice commonly utilized in the finance literature when comparing the performance of individual stocks and other assets, namely, we “benchmark” the productivity of each player’s performance relative to their cohort. Applying our benchmarking strategy to annual Major League Baseball data from 1871-2010, we find that Babe Ruth is the greatest hitter of all time.

Keywords: Benchmarking, Major League Baseball, Structural Change

JEL Classification: Z2, J24, C1

Suggested Citation

Groothuis, Peter A. and Rotthoff, Kurt W. and Strazicich, Mark C., Productivity in Baseball: How Babe Ruth Beats the Benchmark (March 9, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2822082 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2822082

Peter A. Groothuis

Appalachian State University, Department of Economics ( email )

Boone, NC 28608
United States

Kurt W. Rotthoff (Contact Author)

Seton Hall University - W. Paul Stillman School of Business ( email )

400 S Orange Avenue
JH 674
South Orange, NJ 07079
United States
973-761-9102 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://pirate.shu.edu/~rotthoku/

Mark C. Strazicich

Appalachian State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Boone, NC 28608
United States

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