Ranking outstanding sports records
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Ranking Outstanding Sports Records. by Bruce L. Golden R. H. Smith School of Business Univ. of Maryland and Edward A. Wasil Kogod College of Business Admin. American University. 10/87. Goal of Paper. Address several key questions -- - What makes a “great” sports record?

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Ranking outstanding sports records

Ranking Outstanding Sports Records

by

Bruce L. Golden

R. H. Smith School of Business

Univ. of Maryland

and

Edward A. Wasil

Kogod College of Business Admin.

American University

10/87


Goal of paper

Goal of Paper

Address several key questions --

- What makes a “great” sports record?

- What factors separate “good” records from “great” records?

- What are the “great” sports records?

Rank the greatest active sports records –

- season records

- career or multiple-year records

- daily or single-game records

1


Motivation

Motivation

It’s fun to argue the merits of your favorite sports records. E.g.,

- Ted Williams vs. Joe DiMaggio?

- Eric Dickerson vs. O. J. Simpson?

- Michael Jordan vs. Wilt Chamberlain?

- Will Beamon’s record fall by 1990?

It’s a challenge since comparison of sports records must be carried out in a rigorous and comprehensive manner and employ a formal ranking method.

2


Two levels of paper

Two Levels of Paper

Sports fans should find paper to be thought-provoking.

Nontrivial application of analytic hierarchy process (AHP).

- data requirements are numerous

- subjective judgments are required

- each hierarchy is full

- complicating issues

3


The records themselves

The Records Themselves

Measurable achievements

Relatively recent (after 1920)

Historical data available

Professional athletes in team sports (primarily)

4


Great season records

Great Season Records

B: Baseball BA: Basketball F: Football H: Hockey

5


Great career records

Great Career Records

* includes point totals from the AFL

** includes point totals from the WHA

6


Great day game records

Great Day/Game Records

TF: Track and Field

7


Data collection obstacles

Data Collection Obstacles

  • Lots of data

  • Different leagues (e.g., NFL & AFL)

  • Different length seasons

  • Degree of specialization

8


Runs batted in data set

Runs Batted In Data Set

Best Marks of All Time

  • Hack Wilson1930190

  • Lou Gehrig1931184

  • Hank Greenberg1937183

  • Lou Gehrig1927175

  • Jimmie Foxx1938175

9


Runs batted in data set continued

Runs Batted In Data Set -- continued

Best Marks Prior to 1930

  • Lou Gehrig1927175

  • Babe Ruth1921171

  • Babe Ruth1927164

  • Hack Wilson1929159

  • Al Simmons1929157

10


Runs batted in data set continued1

Runs Batted In Data Set -- continued

1930 Contemporaries

  • Lou Gehrig174

  • Chuck Klein170

  • Al Simmons165

  • Jimmie Foxx156

  • Babe Ruth153

11


Comparison methodology

Comparison Methodology

The Analytic Hierarchy Process

- Developed by TL Saaty

- Uses pairwise comparisons

- Eigenvalues lead to priorities on weights

- Allows the combination of subjective with objective

judgments

12


Comparison methodology continued

Comparison Methodology -- continued

Example:

DurationImprovement Other

Duration 1 3/2 3

Improvement 2/3 1 2

Other 1/3 1/2 1

13


Ranking outstanding sports records

Select Best Active Season Sports Record

Duration of Record

Incremental Improvement

Other Record Characteristics

Years Record Has Stood

Years Record Is Expected To Stand

% Better Than Previous Record

% Better Than Contemporaries

Glamour

Purity

DiMaggio 56 game hitting streak

Maris 61 home runs

Ruth .847 slugging average

Wilson 190 runs batted in

Chamberlain 50.4 scoring average

Dickerson 2105 yards gained rushing

Hornung 176 points scored

Gretzky 215 points scored

14


Ranking outstanding sports records

Select Best Active Career Sports Record

Duration of Record

Incremental Improvement

Other Record Characteristics

Years Record Has Stood

Years Record Is Expected To Stand

% Better Than Next Best Record

Glamour

Purity

Aaron 755 home runs

Brock 938 stolen bases

Rose 4256 hits

Ruth .690 slugging average

Ryan 4277 strikeouts*

Abdul-Jabbar 36474 points scored*

Blanda 2002 points scored

Payton 16193 yards gained rushing*

Unitas 47 consecutive games, touchdown passes

Howe 2358 points scored

* athlete still active

15


Ranking outstanding sports records

Select Best Active Daily Sports Record

Duration of Record

Incremental Improvement

Other Record Characteristics

Years Record Has Stood

Years Record Is Expected To Stand

% Better Than Previous Record

Glamour

Purity

Chamberlain 100 points scored

Payton 275 yards gained rushing

Van Brocklin 554 yards gained passing

Beamon 29’ 2 ½” long jump

16


Ranking outstanding sports records

Select Best Active

Season Sports Record

.500

.333

.167

Duration of Record

Incremental Improvement

Other Record Characteristics

.800

.200

.750

.250

.667

.333

Years Record Has Stood

Years Record Is Expected To Stand

% Better Than Previous Record

% Better Than Contemporaries

Glamour

Purity

Ruth

DiMaggio

Chamberlain

Wilson

Gretzky

Maris

Hornung

Dickerson

17


Ranking outstanding sports records

Select Best Active Career Sports Record

.500

.333

.167

Duration of Record

Incremental Improvement

Other Record Characteristics

.800

.200

1.000

.667

.333

Years Record Has Stood

Years Record Is Expected To Stand

% Better Than Next Best Record

Glamour

Purity

Unitas

Ruth

Payton

Howe

Aaron

Blanda

Abdul-Jabbar

Ryan

Brock

Rose

18


Ranking outstanding sports records

Select Best Active Daily Sports Record

.500

.333

.167

Duration of Record

Incremental Improvement

Other Record Characteristics

.800

.200

1.000

.667

.333

Years Record Has Stood

Years Record Is Expected To Stand

% Better Than Previous Record

Glamour

Purity

Chamberlain

Van Brocklin

Payton

Beamon

19


Results of comparison

Results of Comparison

  • Season Record

    - Babe Ruth .847 slugging average

    - Joe DiMaggio 56 game hitting streak

  • Career Record

    - Johnny Unitas 47 consecutive games, touchdown

    passes

    - Babe Ruth .690 slugging average

  • Daily Record

    - Wilt Chamberlain 100 points scored

20


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