Author: Christopher Lee

  • Baseball Player Height and Weight By Year

    My last two posts have been about the average height and average weight of MLB players.  While I will be looking at performance relative to height and weight as well, I wanted to make a quick post to show height and weight over time.  Have players gotten taller on average since 1960?  Do players weigh more now than in 1960?  The answer to both is yes.

    NOTE: Updated charts to visual the effect are coming soon.

    Height went from 72.6 to 73.4 which doesn’t seem like a significant change over a 50 year time span.  MLB players are not even an inch taller, on average, than they were in 1960.

    NOTE: Updated charts to visual the effect are coming soon.

    Average weight went from 188.6 to 196.4 in about 50 years.  Baseball players on average weigh about 8 pounds more than they did in 1960.

    The graphs look more shocking than they actually are given height didn’t even change an inch, and weight changed only about 8 pounds.  What do you think of the graphs?  Any conclusions you’d draw?  The next series of posts will be regarding performance relative to height and weight.

    It is important to note that the height and weight data used only appears in the data once, as opposed to an updated height and weight for each player every season. I hope to talk with Sean Lahman about his database to understand at what point in the career that type of information is corrected.  As it stands the trends shown above likely reflect that new players coming in are taller and weighing more, as opposed to an individual player getting taller and heavier over time.

  • Baseball Player Weight By Position

    Following up on my post from yesterday regarding average height of baseball players, I wanted to look at the average weight.  I posed the question through my Twitter account, and heard back with pitcher, catcher, first base, designated hitter, and third base.  Again, I looked at all MLB players since 1960 who played at least five games at a position.  If a player, such as Maicer Izturis of the Angels played more than 5 games at 2B and 3B, then he would be counted at both positions.

    Which position has players that weigh the most? First base. 

    Which position has the lightest players in terms of weight in pounds? Shortstop.

    The average MLB historically has weighed 192 pounds.  The difference between the heaviest players (1B) and lightest players (SS) was a little under 26 pounds which is quite a bit!  While average height and weight by position might not show much, there is interesting data to further examine.  For example, how has average height and weight changed over the years?  How does height or weight effect performance?  These are questions I will answer in follow up posts.

  • Baseball Player Height By Position

    I was at a spring training game a few days ago and had an interesting conversation with my dad regarding average height of position players.  We guessed that middle infielders (shortstop and second basemen) are the shortest players on the field.  Being a numbers guy though I wanted to know for sure.  I looked at all MLB players since 1960 who played at least 5 games at a position.  Thus, if a player played 5 or more games at multiple positions, he was counted at each position.  Which position has the tallest players on the field?  Pitchers.  Which position has the shorts players? 2B.

    The average height of MLB players is just over 6’1″.  The difference between the tallest players (pitchers) and shortest players (2B) is three inches which relatively seems like quite a bit.  With that in mind, I’ll analyze performance based on height in a post tomorrow, in addition to looking at positions by weight.  Does the graph show what you expected?  What other ways can you look at height within baseball?

    Thanks to Sean Lahman’s Baseball1.com database for the information.

  • Have you registered your personal name as a domain name?

    I recently had a conversation with a sports executive (whose name is easily recognizable), and was surprised to learn he hadn’t registered his own name as a domain name.  In its simplest form, a domain is a web address like sportsologist.com, or espn.com.  Whether you are an executive in a sports organization, entry level worker trying to advance their career, professor at a university, or a student, registering a domain name is an easy way to control your identity online.

    Here are a couple of reasons to own your yourname.com in addition to any business domain you may own:

    • Use For A Consulting Business
      • You have a full time job but have developed a following due to your name and want to start consulting.
    • Develop A Resume or Portfolio Site For Career Advancement
      • Whether you’re a student looking for a job, or entry level worker looking to move up in the world owning your personal name is a start.
    • Forward To A Social Media Site
      • If you’re active on Twitter or Facebook, simply register yourname.com and have it forward to your Twitter or Facebook account, until you are ready to develop a personal site
    • Protect For Future Use
      • Even if you don’t see a need now, it’s possible that down the road you’ll want a personal blog, personal website, and it will be too late.

    A few more tips:

    • Buy the .com.  Other domain extensions such as .org, .net, .info don’t garner the same respect as a .com domain.
    • If your name is really popular (like mine) consider variations such as first initial/last name, or first/middle/last name.
    • I recommend GoDaddy (especially for beginners) to register your domain because of reasonable prices and great customer service.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in comments!  I do quite a bit of work with domains and websites particularly in sports so I’m happy to help.  I anticipate having more posts in the future regarding domain names as well so stay tuned.

  • Information Sharing To Influence Sports Fans

    In my last post, I talked about the effect of simplicity on sales conversions.  There are many simple changes, such as altering site design, to yield significant improvements.  With that in mind, I’d like to propose another simple idea, that is supported by one of my favorite books, in addition to many social websites:

    PEOPLE are influenced by other PEOPLE.

    It sounds simple. Think about it.  People are influenced by other people.  Yet that idea is often not utilized to its potential.  With than in mind, I want to look at how sports organizations can use this theory to further influence fans.

    How often do fans know the actual number of tickets sold (or even available) at an event prior to considering a purchase?  Rarely.

    How often do fans know the actual number of people signed up for the teams’ email newsletter?  Almost never.

    Would it make a difference if fans did know?

    According to years of research the answer is simple.  YES.  In addition, lessons can be learned from social sites today that are not only setting the tone for the new age of the Internet, but marketing and sales as well.  For example, WeFollow.com (a popular Twitter tool) greets visitors with a simple pop up encouraging them to sign up.  They also show a message that says (when I last view the site) “Now listing over 684,078 Twitter users.”

    While that little bit of information might seem insignificant…its not.  Why does it work?  A non-customer goes to the site, is greeted by a simple welcome screen, and sees that over 650,000 people use the service.  Well if 650,000 people use the site it must be good, right?  That user likely became a customer, as Kevin Rose (the founder of Digg and WeFollow.com) can attest to as well.

    If fans knew that 1,500 people had purchases tickets through the teams website that day, or that 87% of tickets had already been sold for a particular game, wouldn’t that influence them to act?  Yes, because fans are influenced by other fans.

    Now there are a few caveats to this method.  First and foremost, the method should only be used when the relayed information is true.  If WeFollow.com doesn’t have 600,000+ users it would be inappropriate to market that.  Secondly, the strategy should only be used when it would help the organization.  For example, if WeFollow.com only had 7 users, it’s probably not a good idea to showcase that on their sign up page.   If the information works in your favor, as it could with attendance or email newsletters, it can certainly make a difference.

  • Simplicity in Sports Business

    Based on hours of research I’ve done from books (Yes!, Made To Stick, etc) to videos (Kevin Rose, etc) to websites (abtests.com, etc), a simple conclusion can be drawn: simple sells.  What is simple?  How does that translate to sports?

    Let’s look at ticket sales and website design to further examine this idea.  One of the primary drivers of revenue for a sports team is ticket sales.  Therefore when looking at an organization’s website, one of the goals is to convert a website visitor into a customer (someone who purchased tickets).  That suggests the following idea:

    Simple leads to ticket sales.

    I randomly selected a team website from each of the four sports as a visual example to see how “simple” factors into the design.  Take a look at the sites (click to enlarge):

    NOTE: The original team website images are now outdated. Feel free to choose any random four team websites to run an updated analysis.

    What is your first impression? Simple?  I don’t have any information on these sites conversion rates, but my guess is the sales conversions (assuming that is a goal of the site) are not as high as they could be.  What if a team site used a simple approach that is increasingly popular in the current web era (Google, Twitter, etc.)?

    For example, Gyminee.com (creator of popular iPhone and website applications) started with this site that looks similar to those above, and ultimately ran an AB Test to settle on their current design.  The final results?  The simpler design yielded a 20%+ increase in conversions.  Granted, its only one company, but feel free to look at several others who have had success altering their websites to make them simpler and clearer.

    What would a 20% increase mean to an organization?  Or even a 5% increase?  Organizations don’t necessarily have to hire new people or increase the number of cold calls to sell more tickets.  There are certainly other goals to a website (sponsors to please, stories to post) but simplifying the website design may yield some surprising results.