Tuesday, August 1, 2006
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Sometimes there is no selection bias
After David Ortiz hit his latest walk-off home run, I kept telling myself like a good social scientist, "Yes, we remember these events, but we don't remember the times when he has the opportunity and fails." In other words, much as I love David Ortiz, I was sure that the statistics would demonstrate that his walk-off capabilities were overrated.
Turns out, in this case, that perception is reality. From The Joy of Sox:
Since the end of the 2004 regular season, Ortiz has come to the plate in a walk-off situations 19 times -- and reached base 16 times. He is 11-for-14 (.786), with 7 HR and 20 RBI.Hat tip: Gordon Edes.
UPDATE: Bill Simmons has an enertaining column comparng Ortiz to Larry Bird in terms of coming through in the clutch:
Basketball stars have a 45-50 percent chance of coming through in the clutch. In Bird's case, he was a 50 percent shooter and a 90 percent free-throw shooter, so even if he was being double-teamed, 60/40 odds seem reasonable, especially if someone raises his game in those situations. But a star slugger gets on base 40 percent of the time, only Ortiz dials it up to the 60-70 percent range in big moments (as the stats back up). I can't believe I'm saying this, but Big Papi's current three-year stretch tops anything Bird came up with simply because the odds against Ortiz were greater.Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin has a discussion thread on this very important debate.
posted by Dan on 08.01.06 at 08:53 AM
No comparison-it is infinitely easier to put a basketball through a hoop, whether double-teamed or not, than it is to hit a baseball 400 feet against major league pitching. Is the record for baskets in a year about, oh, 73?posted by: John Salmon on 08.01.06 at 08:53 AM [permalink]
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