December 7, 2022

Analytics – Ruining Baseball Since . . . 1897

Players Rank Not Always Shown By His Fielding Average
The Ground He Covers and the Balls He Shirks Not Recorded

It always has been maintained that fielding averages are misleading in the estimate of the real abilities of players. That a player, for example, who leads the league at second base, according to the figures compiled by Mr. [Nick] Young [National League president] every fall, does so because he is a cautious player, who does not take the chances that other men in the position go after and who in doing so make errors that may put them far down in the list in the so-called "averages." On this account many close critics always watch the totals of chances recorded opposite each player's name and attach more importance to that column than they do to the "percentage of chances accepted," which is supposed to determine the rank of the player.

. . . In order to give some estimate of the work of the National League players in this particular, the Chicago Tribune has compiled a table of percentage of chances to the game accepted by players [chances per game] the last season, in accordance with the official figures given out by President Young. The worst defect about the table will be the fact that no allowance can be made for instances where players have participated in only part of a game.

The Sporting News, November 20, 1897

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