Like many American Sports, baseball lives and dies on the plethora of statistics that it produces, and with each of the plays in the game a discrete event there are plenty facts and figures that can be collected about every aspect of the game.
Unsurprisingly it was a devotee of another game obsessed by statistics, records and numbers that invented most of the basic statistical measurements in the game, English-born cricketer turned Brooklyn resident Henry Chadwick inventing the development of the box score, tabular standings, the annual baseball guide, the batting average, and most of the common statistics and tables used to describe baseball. Those who bet on baseball should spend some time studying these things.
Now those basic statistics developed by Chadwick form the backbone of all those reported on the game. The most common of these are split into three categories, batting pitching and fielding. The basic batting statistics include at bats (how many times a player bats), hits and runs. RBIs are also a valuable statistic on how the batter performs showing the number of runners who scored due to a batter’s action including the batter, in the case of a home run, and home runs are also recorded.
Moving on the basic pitching statistics look like this – wins and losses, a win is credited to a pitcher when on a winning team who last pitched before the team took a lead that it never relinquished – (a starting pitcher must pitch at least five innings to qualify for a win. Similarly losses are charged to a pitcher he is on a losing team who was pitching when the opposing team took a lead that it never relinquished. Other pitching statistics collected are saves, innings pitched, strikeouts and the winning percentage. But possibly the most important pitching statistics is ERA (Earned Run Average) – runs allowed, excluding those resulting from fielding errors, per nine innings pitched. Fans of baseball betting should remember this.
Rounding off the basic statistics are the ones collected on the fielders – putouts, assists, errors, total chances and fielding average.
We think it’s fair to say that the game of baseball could well suffer from statistical overload – Henry Chadwick has a lot to answer for.