FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Career Length Musings

While I was at the recent SABR convention I attended the Bio Project committee meeting where the aim is to record a biography for each of the more than 16,000 players who have played major league baseball. That got me to think about a) the difficulty of such a project as more players enter the league each year than biographies being written, and b) how many of these players are ones most of us have never heard of. And that got me to thinking about career length so I took a few minutes tonight to create the following two graphs.

The first is a pie chart that shows the percentage of players whose careers have spanned a certain number of years. Note that this includes 16,418 of the 16,556 players in the Lahman database (only those who show up in the batting or fielding record). And what it shows is that fully 53% of the players have careers that span four years or less and 74% span eight years or less (and I say span because it includes first and last appearance and not individual seasons).

The second graph shows the average career length by debut year. In other words beginning around 1900 career lengths were between four and five years which steadily rose until World War II when it dipped considerably as players who debuted in 1944 and 1945 had career lengths that averaged 3.5 and 3.3 years. The march continued on until it peaked around 1986 at 8.2 years and then began declining because an increasing number of players who debuted after that are still active. I could have excluded them but then of course that would have skewed the numbers for 1986 and after downward to include only players who are no longer active. The more recent are also skewed downward since it is common for minor leaguers to not appear in one or or more seasons after their debut.

Interestingly, there is also a dip in the 1977-1980 period which may be associated with the advent of free agency (coupled with expansion) as teams tried to stock up on younger players(?). I assume that the increasing career length can attributed to a number of causes which include (in descending order by importance); better medical care for players that enables them to play longer; higher salaries and therefore greater investment by teams and greater incentive by players to continue playing; the greater skill required to play the game at this level which engenders greater incentive to continue to improve and retain one's position.

It's also interesting to note that career length dipped slightly in the expansion years of 1961, 1969, 1977, and 1993.


Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa

Resume said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

Resume Writing Services

Study in UK said...

This is generally a wonderful website i should say,I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me.

Web Design said...

In reality your creative writing abilities has inspired me to begin my own Blog website now.

cctv karachi said...

You have some interesting thoughts! Perhaps we should contemplate about attempting this myself.

karachi online shopping said...

I always learn something new from your post!Great article. I wish I could write so well.

Ronald said...

Good one , thanks for sharing such wonderful posts, learned a few important things which can be implemented in my stream

Sarah Hall said...

You have done a marvelous job! I appreciate your effective attempts to help those poor young researchers, with understanding of Career Length Musings. Our custom essay writers are indeed very professional!

Kathy Smith said...

Thanks for share the article.
Thank you so much.