Dunn Field, May 8, 1965

Article and box score from the 1966 Official Baseball Guide about the then-record 27-inning game down the road at Dunn Field. Amazing how few pitchers & position players were used. This game was later surpassed by a 33-inning affair in 1981. Still, the Elmira game might be the longest pro game completed in one day. Belanger and Piniella were to be the big names from this Pioneers team. Earl Weaver piloted the squad.

Outfielder Errors

In Strat-O-Matic, outfielder errors result in the batter reaching second or third. What kind of errors do outfielders really make?

I looked at the 2,386 errors made in MLB 2005-2009. (From Retrosheet, natch.) That’s about one every five games. I divided them into the five categories shown in the chart below.


Only a quarter involve the batter reaching base on the error. The majority involve advancement of other baserunners, most after a hit.

A little more detail in the table below, which shows how many bases the batter advanced on the error.


An error that allows the batter to go to second on a single is, by far, the most common occurrence. The table hides a lot of detail, though, like the base situation and the advancement of those other runners.

Historical Time-of-Game Data

Joe West’s recent comments prompted me to look at some data I’ve always been curious about. We all know (or think we know) that games have gotten longer, but exactly how has game duration changed over the years?

The Retrosheet Game Logs contain time-of-game data, but the data is very incomplete prior to 1956. (There are also a few data errors, for example, a game that supposedly lasted 413 hours in 1947. I considered everything over 500 minutes to be a data error and ignored it.)

The graph below shows the average game time through the years. All games, extra-inning and less than nine, are included.


What surprised me here was the huge increase from 1944 to 1955, where average game time increased 32 minutes over just eleven years! What happened? More pitching changes was a factor, but I don’t think that can account for it all.

After 1955, things settled down, then in 1979 times started to zoom up again, reaching a new plateau in the late ’80s.

I wanted to look at normal, nine-inning games, but it’s not easy to filter those from the Retrosheet data prior to about 1955. The Game Logs contain the number of outs in the game, so my definition of a normal, nine-inning game is one with 51 to 54 outs. The graph below shows the data for nine-inning games, giving a little more insight into the more recent trends.


Actaully, the average game time has been relatively stable for the last twenty years. Still too long IMHO.


Strat Pitcher Hitting Cards

A beef I’ve always had with SOM is that the pitcher hitting cards are offered in basic format only. If you use them with the advanced game, then you’ve got a monochromatic, portrait-orientation pitcher card mixed in with the black/blue/red, landscape-orientation position-player cards. Yuck.

So, as a little Photoshop exercise, I created some pitcher hitting cards in the advanced style.


Right now the results are identical against left- and right-handed pitchers, but I may add some differences later and produce separate cards for RHB & LHB pitchers.

Titusville: ranking changes from last season

Ranking figures for 2010 keeps.

For batters, a positive change is an improvement.

          2009   2010   change
          ====   ====   ======
Howard     144    165    +21
Ramirez    122    133    +10
Zobrist    136    144    + 8
Hawpe      123    123      0
Victorino  105    105      0
Utley      134    128    - 6
Rollins    101     84    -17
Soto       113     68    -45

Rollins & Soto will ride the bench this season and hope for a return to form.

For pitchers, a negative change is an improvement.

          2009   2010   change
          ====   ====   ======
Jimenez    124    101    -23
Lilly      122    106    -16
Garza      126    122    - 4
Hamels     100    131    +31

Street     117     63    -54
Rhodes     155    120    -35

Cole will probably cool his heels on the taxi team. Not sure what to do with Garza.