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August 30, 2001

Aim For The Head

The Men In Black

by Keith Woolner

Let me admit up front that this week's article is a little short on the analysis. I'm heading off to Atlanta for a family reunion this weekend, but didn't want to leave our readers without any kind of AFTH fix to get them through the holiday weekend. So accept my apologies if this doesn't meet with the kind of thoroughness you've come to expect in this space.

This week's question comes from Walter Davis, who writes:

How about an umpire-by-umpire analysis, which seems to be the third rail of baseball. This would be similar to park effects--are more or fewer runs scored with particular umpires behind the plate. The sample size won't be huge--each ump should work about 40 games behind the plate per year--but it shouldn't be a problem to look at data over a few years, including season-dummies if necessary to control for that variation. Let's really find out who the hitters' and pitchers' umps are.

There were a couple of articles in the SABR Baseball Research Journal in the mid-1990s investigating umpire effects. I don't believe that they found any kind of consistent effect of the home-plate umpire on scoring, although I don't have the specific citation handy.

Generally speaking, umpire-specific data is subject to the same kinds of variability we see in other breakdowns. The usual caveat about small sample sizes applies, as fewer games leads to correspondingly higher expected standard deviations. Park effects come into play as well, since an umpire who happens to call more games in Colorado or Houston will look hitter-friendly, even if he's not. Schedule or team effects can make an umpire assigned to an Atlanta homestand look pitcher-friendly only because he's seeing more games thrown by Greg Maddux and John Burkett (side note: who'd have thought that GM and JB would be mentioned in the same breath like that at the season's start?). All of these come into play, even if the umpire has no actual influence on run scoring. Separating signal from noise, if it exists, may be even harder to do than it is for park effects.

I've started tracking umpire data this season, and it's interesting to at least see the range of observed values regardless of whether it arises from a specific umpire tendency or from external forces and randomness. I've presented the data, through August 27 in the table below. This data will soon be available on the Baseball Prospectus Web site, updated daily, as will several more new statistical reports.

Thanks to Walter for the question, and everyone have a great Labor Day weekend.


UMPIRE                G     INN     RA   H/9  BB/9  K/9    PA   AVG   OBP   SLG
Al Clark             13   229.0   4.56   9.7   3.4  5.5   998  .276  .346  .433
Alfonso Marquez      28   504.3   5.19   9.3   3.5  7.0  2189  .268  .339  .439
Andy Fletcher        26   472.3   5.85  10.3   2.9  6.3  2047  .290  .346  .481
Angel Hernandez      29   523.7   5.55  10.7   3.1  7.4  2331  .296  .356  .485
Bill Miller          29   514.7   4.16   8.4   2.8  7.4  2139  .248  .312  .399
Bill Welke           26   473.3   4.51   8.9   2.8  6.7  2002  .258  .324  .420
Brian Gorman         28   489.3   4.18   8.9   3.1  6.7  2088  .256  .326  .420
Brian O'Nora         26   462.0   4.81   9.4   3.0  7.5  1992  .269  .333  .429
Brian Runge          14   259.7   4.30   8.3   3.2  7.3  1083  .248  .318  .390
Bruce Froemming      28   508.7   5.33   9.7   3.9  6.2  2221  .280  .357  .460
C.B. Bucknor         26   454.7   4.55   8.9   3.3  7.3  1935  .258  .327  .411
Charlie Reliford     25   454.0   5.02   9.0   3.4  6.6  1958  .261  .331  .432
Charlie Williams      1    17.0   5.29   7.9   5.3  4.8    73  .238  .342  .365
Chris Guccione       23   401.0   4.94   9.1   3.4  6.2  1712  .263  .330  .410
Chuck Meriwether     26   469.3   4.26   8.3   3.5  7.1  1983  .245  .321  .392
Dale Scott           24   428.0   4.65   9.0   3.3  6.2  1827  .261  .332  .412
Dan Iassogna         29   516.3   4.17   8.9   2.7  7.1  2152  .261  .320  .421
Dan Morrison         12   215.3   4.64   8.9   3.8  6.8   934  .257  .338  .410
Dana DeMuth          27   483.7   4.65   8.8   3.8  6.0  2081  .257  .334  .405
Dave Phillips        14   248.7   5.03  10.0   2.7  6.2  1079  .278  .330  .433
Derryl Cousins       28   491.7   5.33   9.5   3.8  5.9  2155  .272  .347  .426
Doug Eddings         27   486.3   4.83   9.5   2.5  7.8  2066  .273  .328  .457
Ed Montague          26   463.0   5.21   9.4   3.5  6.3  1993  .272  .343  .435
Ed Rapuano           26   473.0   4.89   9.6   3.5  6.8  2044  .275  .346  .443
Eric Cooper          28   498.7   4.84   9.0   3.1  6.8  2121  .262  .323  .416
Fieldin Culbreth     26   466.0   4.77   8.9   3.5  6.8  2031  .256  .329  .390
Gary Cederstrom      26   461.0   4.35   8.5   2.7  6.4  1909  .250  .310  .414
Gerry Davis          28   496.3   5.11   9.3   4.0  5.8  2157  .269  .347  .421
Greg Bonin           13   228.3   5.20   9.3   2.6  7.3   969  .268  .326  .462
Greg Gibson          27   473.0   5.58   9.4   3.8  6.5  2064  .270  .345  .461
Hunter Wendelstedt   29   510.0   4.45   8.1   3.4  7.2  2150  .242  .317  .404
Ian Lamplugh          2    34.0   3.71   7.7   2.9  4.0   141  .228  .291  .346
Jack Samuels          1    17.0   7.41  14.3   1.6  3.2    76  .375  .395  .639
Jeff Kellogg         27   492.0   5.07   9.3   3.1  6.8  2095  .269  .334  .461
Jeff Nelson          26   489.7   5.07   9.7   3.4  6.8  2129  .278  .348  .438
Jerry Crawford       21   377.0   4.15   8.2   3.2  5.9  1577  .242  .315  .402
Jerry Layne          24   419.7   5.10   9.4   3.2  6.5  1787  .273  .335  .435
Jerry Meals          29   541.7   4.00   8.8   3.4  6.8  2294  .258  .330  .403
Jim Joyce            29   510.3   5.10   9.3   2.8  6.8  2170  .266  .325  .438
Jim McKean           17   307.7   4.74   9.4   2.8  6.9  1312  .270  .329  .425
Jim Reynolds         27   474.3   5.46  10.1   3.0  6.4  2049  .285  .343  .450
Jim Wolf             26   456.0   4.74   8.5   3.1  6.5  1913  .252  .319  .399
Joe Brinkman         28   494.3   4.90   9.4   3.9  6.0  2158  .271  .349  .438
John Hirschbeck      27   470.3   4.48   8.9   2.7  7.2  1969  .260  .316  .414
John Shulock         28   508.3   4.92   9.0   3.6  6.0  2172  .265  .338  .429
Justin Klemm          7   122.0   5.16   9.8   3.0  5.5   532  .276  .333  .429
Kerwin Danley        28   486.3   4.61   9.2   2.9  6.9  2072  .265  .325  .425
Kevin Kelley          2    35.0   3.60   8.2   1.8  8.5   137  .248  .285  .419
Lance Barksdale      31   544.3   5.09   9.5   3.1  6.7  2341  .271  .333  .438
Larry Young          23   404.7   5.03   9.0   3.4  7.8  1752  .258  .330  .428
Laz Diaz             28   504.7   5.03   9.1   3.1  6.7  2145  .262  .328  .448
Mark Barron          15   267.0   5.33   9.7   3.1  6.3  1151  .277  .340  .467
Mark Carlson         28   504.0   5.18   9.7   3.7  6.8  2202  .279  .352  .419
Mark Hirschbeck      29   529.0   4.07   8.3   3.5  7.1  2243  .244  .320  .378
Mark Wegner          27   474.0   4.48   8.5   3.6  6.9  2009  .252  .329  .411
Marty Foster         28   500.0   5.26   9.6   3.2  6.4  2153  .275  .338  .444
Marvin Hudson        25   433.0   4.24   8.8   3.0  6.8  1820  .255  .317  .413
Matt Hollowell       19   333.7   4.59   9.3   2.9  6.3  1418  .267  .327  .433
Mike DiMuro           8   140.0   4.56   9.5   3.5  6.8   599  .280  .357  .422
Mike Everitt         29   515.0   5.45   9.5   2.6  6.7  2199  .270  .325  .442
Mike Fichter         24   420.7   5.67   9.7   3.6  6.9  1846  .277  .350  .454
Mike Reilly          28   488.0   4.83   9.4   4.1  7.0  2129  .269  .349  .428
Mike Van Vleet        2    36.0   5.50  10.8   3.8  5.0   160  .303  .363  .493
Mike Winters         28   504.7   4.83   9.2   3.1  7.4  2140  .267  .328  .426
Morris Hodges         3    52.7   5.13   8.2   4.3  6.2   224  .251  .348  .435
Patrick Spieler       5    89.0   5.36  10.9   2.9  6.2   394  .301  .353  .474
Paul Emmel           25   461.3   5.25   9.6   3.2  6.2  2000  .275  .344  .450
Paul Schrieber       26   456.3   5.17   9.7   3.4  6.9  1979  .276  .342  .436
Phil Cuzzi           28   493.0   3.83   8.3   2.9  7.5  2040  .245  .308  .398
Randy Marsh          23   405.7   4.48   8.7   3.7  6.5  1729  .254  .329  .393
Rich Rieker          18   315.0   4.89   8.9   4.1  5.9  1367  .260  .345  .433
Rick Reed            28   505.7   4.95   9.1   3.4  6.8  2189  .261  .330  .420
Rob Drake            20   361.3   4.26   8.0   3.4  7.4  1495  .242  .320  .413
Rocky Roe            19   334.3   5.38   9.3   3.6  6.3  1453  .268  .341  .449
Ron Barnes            9   164.0   4.77   9.7   2.7  5.9   700  .277  .333  .436
Ron Kulpa            29   518.0   5.00   8.7   3.3  6.1  2208  .253  .325  .424
Scott Higgins        11   198.3   6.63  10.3   4.5  6.6   902  .286  .370  .453
Scott Packard         3    53.0   3.57   8.3   1.7  5.3   217  .243  .286  .411
Steve Rippley        21   378.7   4.63   9.4   2.9  7.7  1602  .272  .332  .424
Ted Barrett          28   494.0   4.74   9.3   3.4  7.7  2132  .267  .336  .439
Terry Craft          25   436.0   4.52   8.9   3.4  6.2  1879  .256  .326  .414
Tim McClelland       27   486.7   4.92   8.7   3.4  6.3  2077  .255  .325  .429
Tim Timmons          31   544.0   4.75   9.2   3.3  6.8  2330  .266  .333  .423
Tim Tschida          29   525.0   4.75   9.2   3.6  6.7  2293  .264  .339  .423
Tim Welke            27   489.3   4.75   9.1   3.2  6.9  2112  .262  .328  .421
Tony Randazzo        25   442.3   4.88   9.2   2.9  7.1  1883  .263  .326  .449
Travis Katzenmeier    4    70.0   6.69   9.4   2.8  5.0   294  .273  .330  .479
Wally Bell           30   532.3   4.97   9.5   2.9  6.6  2267  .273  .333  .442

Keith Woolner is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by clicking here.

Keith Woolner is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Keith's other articles. You can contact Keith by clicking here

Related Content:  Mark Walter,  Tim Timmons,  Mike Dimuro

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