The Contagion in Baseball

ImagePeople will argue as to what makes a team great. Is it one player? Is it how well the team can work together? Either way, when a baseball player comes up to the plate, he’s on his own. However, the success of his teammates might in fact play a role in his performance.

Researcher Joel Bock has been examining baseball records and has noticed an interesting trend. It can’t be proved, but it would seem that hitting is contagious. Surpassing 30 games in a hitting streak is an impressive accomplishment, and since 1945 it has only been done 28 times. It was no surprise to see that the batting average of the players increased during their hitting streak, but what about their teammates? In the periods of the hit streak, players on the same team who batted at least twice a game averaged 11 points higher than normal.

To anyone who follows baseball such as myself, it would be apparent that those statistics are significant and most likely more than just a coincidence. Scientifically, there is no proof for contagiousness. Is there a confidence boost? Is there a subconscious stimulation to try harder? Or are the pitchers the batters are facing simply not as difficult during that time? Regardless, there is some unknown factor at play.


Written by Shane Lawson.


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