CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Futures Guide 2014 is Now Available in Paperback and Three E-book Formats.

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: S... (03/25)
No Previous Column
Next Column >>
Premium Article Moonshot: Cracking the... (04/01)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Notes from the Field: ... (03/25)

March 25, 2014

Moonshot

Attrition Over Time

by Robert Arthur


Of the four major sports that permeate American culture (football, basketball, hockey, and the best, baseball), none has existed in its current form for as long. Yet despite its relative stasis, baseball has evolved. Although the basic rules of the game have remained the same, it is not isolated from the broader currents of time and technology. One of those currents has been medicine’s ceaseless march toward the curing of disease and the extension of healthy life.

We’ve seen this current manifest in baseball via the introduction of new treatments and surgeries. Only 30 years ago, the notion of Bartolo Colon going abroad to get stem cell injections to heal his arm would have been science fiction. One year ago, this treatment was likely behind the success of a 40-year-old pitcher with a 92 mph fastball and a 2.65 ERA.

More broadly, Colon’s medical miracle raises the question of whether medicine is prolonging careers and if so, how. Technically and statistically, studying career length is not trivial. But, as before, I’ll use a Cox Proportional Hazards model, borrowed from epidemiology, to understand how career length has varied over baseball’s long history.

The Marvel of Modern Medicine
I’ll draw once again on Lahman’s database, from which I use only the time period 1910-1989. I compute each player’s year as the first year in which he appeared in an MLB game (his debut), and his dominant position as the one at which he fielded the most innings.

As a point of departure, I ask the simplest question possible: Are careers getting longer or shorter over time?

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Related Content:  Health,  Attrition,  Career Length

5 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: S... (03/25)
No Previous Column
Next Column >>
Premium Article Moonshot: Cracking the... (04/01)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Notes from the Field: ... (03/25)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article The View from the Loge Level: Ode to Joe
Premium Article What You Need to Know: July 25, 2014
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Kendrys Redux
Premium Article Skewed Left: The Mismatched Incentives of Dr...
Premium Article Notes from the Field: What's Wrong With Appe...
Premium Article The Call-Up: Chris Taylor
Premium Article Raising Aces: Shelby Miller's Fall From Grac...

MORE FROM MARCH 25, 2014
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL East 2014 Preseason P...
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: NL Central 2014 Preseaso...
Premium Article Notes from the Field: Backfield Scouting Not...
Premium Article Minor League Update: Spring Training Games o...
Tout Wars Recap
Fantasy Article Daily League Strategy: Introduction
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: ERA

MORE BY ROBERT ARTHUR
2014-04-14 - Premium Article Moonshot: Does April Velocity Last?
2014-04-08 - Premium Article Moonshot: Miguel Cabrera and the Bearable He...
2014-04-01 - Premium Article Moonshot: Cracking the Location Code
2014-03-25 - Premium Article Moonshot: Attrition Over Time
2014-03-14 - Premium Article Attrition By Position
2014-03-12 - The Art and Science of Sequencing
2014-02-06 - Baseball ProGUESTus: Entropy and the Eephus
More...

MORE MOONSHOT
2014-04-14 - Premium Article Moonshot: Does April Velocity Last?
2014-04-08 - Premium Article Moonshot: Miguel Cabrera and the Bearable He...
2014-04-01 - Premium Article Moonshot: Cracking the Location Code
2014-03-25 - Premium Article Moonshot: Attrition Over Time
More...