Sam

A statistical analysis of the 1968 Detroit Tigers amid the Detroit Metropolitan weather vector

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2011 at 5:18 am

Abstract: We analyzed localized Detroit weather patterns for each game on the 1968 home schedule of the Detroit Tigers. Using statistical models with an allowance for wind speed, precipitation and temperature we were able to determine a predictable association between batting averages of Tiger starters and prevailing weather conditions.

We had three data brackets as follows:

FW – (fair weather) less than 0.4 % sky cover; Wind speed: < 16 MPH
PC – (partly cloudy) more than 0.4% sky cover ; Wind speed < 16 MPH
OVC – (overcast) Wind Speed < 16 MPH

Left handed hitters in the Tigers lineup Jim Northrup, Dick McAuliffe and Norm Cash hit an average of .24 pts higher on overcast to partly cloudy days (.301) as opposed to clear days. (.277.) while right-handed hitters e.g. Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Bill Freehan, Don Wert and Mickey Stanley were only 12 pts higher on overcast to partly cloudy days. Pitchers on average hit .6 pts higher on clear days. When the wind speed exceeded 16 MPH, right-handed hitters tended to be on average .18 pts higher while left-handed hitters showed no variance. We theorize that this was owing to a location in Tiger Stadium behind the first base concessions area where convective air currents ( CAC) – horizontal rapid air movement at low altitudes – have been measured. When emanating from the right side of the field, CAC favor a right-handed hitter.

More home runs were hit by the Tigers on partly cloudy days than on either OVC or FW days. The exception was Wednesday FW afternoon contests with a low dew point (lower than 40 º F ) at game time. There is a strong correlation between the body’s thermoregulatory abilities and bat grip – more evaporation of perspiration at a lower dew point = greater bat grip – and this would explain with some degree of certainty why we would see more home runs on FW/ dew point < 40 º F days. But we cannot speculate as to why there were more home runs on Wednesday day games – a total of 24 home runs were hit by Tiger batters on Wednesday day games – than on any other day. Further research is needed to answer this question.

Sherman L. Peabody PHD
Winston Collingworth PHD
Reddenbacher Institute for Sports and Gender, University of Tulane

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