Sal MaglieI should write something about baseball and markets. I've written about the wisdom of Ted Williams for markets, and Larry Ritter, 100 market related things about baseball dare that was included in PracSpec with collab, and I've written about the hidden signs of baseball with all the thievery and spies of signs etc., and I've suggested some insights of Bill James, but the problem is I don't know anything about baseball, and I hate to write about something I don't know about like the chapter on poker in EdSpec which I wish i had never written since it was derivative and worthless. So if anyone can help me appreciate what baseball can teach about markets, I'd appreciate it. I'm particularly interested in the hidden rules, and I think I have a market system based on not running up the score, etc.

Allen Gillespie comments:

UK came back from a large deficit to tie UT with 2:13 left before loosing the game. Does the market do the same? One notes that the S&P regained its positive footing yesterday after being down for most of the year.

Also, one hidden rule is don't talk to a pitcher that is throwing a no hitter after 7 innings and give extra effort on defense. A market equivalent might be what happens over the next X batters after the first gets a hit if the market is down over the previous 21.

Jordan Neuman comments:

Baseball traditionalists love the idea of the bunt, the stolen base, and assorted "small ball" strategies. These are basically one-run strategies. And as Earl Weaver and Bill James have written, baseball people who actually do the counting, when you play for one run that is all you get. And you might not even get that.

The market equivalent has got to be all those maxims and strategies that emanate from the brokerages and the talking heads that are consistent money/opportunity losers. What is appealing in theory is more difficult in practice. I place covered calls in this category.

Stefan Jovanovich writes:

Any pitch above the shoulders is life threatening; you can die from being hit in the neck more easily than from the top side of the skull. Even so, throwing above the shoulders was within the Code even in the days before helmets had ear flaps. Sal Maglie did not get the nickname of "the Barber" because of his artful use of the straight razor. Drysdale and Early Wynn were notorious headhunters. The rule was and is a good deal more subtle. You can't throw at a batter's head if you also throw a curve ball that breaks away from him. You can't play even high level minor league ball without standing in against a pitch that is coming at your head because, if the guy is any good, that ball is going to break down and away for a strike.

Drysdale and Winn were fastball, change-up pitchers so their aggressiveness was tolerated; it was part of their game. Walter Johnson and Bob Feller are always written about as being "gentlemen" because they never threw at batters; they didn't because with their stuff (fast balls and right-handed down and in curve balls) it would have been attempted manslaughter. Sammy Sosa was "beloved" because he was a cripples hitter; he killed mistakes and ate up mediocre pitchers, but he was never feared by anyone who had stuff and knew how to use it. Barry Bonds was "disliked" because he ruined everybody and because he had the guts to wear protection for the batter's most vulnerable body part - his leading elbow and forearm - and not give a damn what the league or opponents thought about it. He also mastered what remains the hardest thing to do in hitting: swinging late and still getting around on the inside pitch. In that he was a throwback to the golden age when even someone with arms as long as Ted Williams would have his wrists pass over the inside of the plate. Modern hitters with their longer, lighter bats don't go there any more– which is why the Atlanta Braves during their glory years were always coached to pitch outside: "Having Leo Mazzone as a pitching coach lowered a pitcher's ERA by a little more than half a run."

The respect thing is wildly exaggerated. Players appreciate each other's skills but they get paid for winning and numbers, not for obeisance. Chuck Hiller, who was a wonderful catcher for the Giants, once said that if the league learned that a player had leukemia, they would be sad but, if the guy still had his stuff, the dugouts would be calling him "Luke" by the 3rd inning. Bang the Drum Slowly gets that right; everybody is sad for Robert De Nero who is dying but nobody on the team comes to the funeral except for Michael Moriarty.

Rodger Bastien comments:

A pitcher is expected to throw a brush-back pitch in the next half-inning if his teammate has been hit with a pitch, but it's taboo to throw that pitch above the batter's shoulders or behind the hitter ( a batter's instinct is to hit the dirt therefore he could be beaned that way). Good hard slides are a part of baseball but sliding "spikes high" is a no-no. Along with not stealing with a big lead you should not stretch singles to doubles or doubles to triples with a very large lead. If a batter leans over the plate, a pitcher is expected to throw inside to regain that part of the plate; a hitter with such a stance should expect a fair amount of inside pitches and should take his base without protest when hit by a pitch. When an umpire takes a nasty foul off of his unprotected areas or is shaken with a foul off of his mask, the catcher should go to the mound to give the umpire time to shake it off. And middle infielders protect themselves by throwing the ball to first during a double play right between the oncoming runner's eyes; its his responsibility to get down to avoid getting hit.





Speak your mind

6 Comments so far

  1. Michael Wilson on March 2, 2010 8:50 pm
  2. Jesse Livermore on March 3, 2010 11:14 am

    Robin Roberts, a HOF pitcher who played for the Phillies in the 1950’s, refused to throw inside and high. He wound up leading the Major Leagues in home runs given up with 505. He also managed to win 280+ games against arguably a decade of the best hitters the National League has ever produced.

  3. Paul Parsons on March 3, 2010 5:52 pm

    Baseball success is based on a clean hit, like buying a stock at a right price. The catcher is the specialist deciding the pitches. The pitcher is Mr. Market tossing out emotional random events. The batter/buyer needed to be patient and wait till the specialist gives him a real softy right down the middle.

  4. Steve Leslie on March 4, 2010 10:14 am

    If you want to learn about baseball I suggest a few books and articles that are very entertaining. George Will Men at Work the Craft of Baseball

    Also George Carlin did a very famous routine comparing baseball vs football. a video can also be found on youtube

    Best movies on baseball:

    Pride of the Yankees.
    Bull Durham
    Fear strikes out.
    Bang the Drum slowly
    A League of their own.
    The Natural
    The Sandlot.

    Here is a list and a synopsis of others.

    Some of my views on baseball are:

    Baseball has no time limit.

    Runs are scored in clumps. That is to say one inning usually decides the game. The rest is positioning.

    The best teams win 60% of their games. The difference between having a .500 season and a good season worthy of the playoffs is winning 10 games extra games.

    The best batters hit around .300 and the difference between an average hitter and an exceptional hitter is just about 25 extra hits an entire year. That is based on 500 at bats.

    Pitchers have a huge advantage over batters.

    All batters go through slumps.

    Streaks are rare enjoy them while they last.

    Seasons are ver long beginning in April and extending until November.

    Baseball is played every day. Sometimes twice a day.

    Great quotes:

    Bull Durham: Sometimes you win sometimes you lose sometimes you get rained out.

    A League of their own: Baseball is hard the hard is what makes it beautiful.

    Yesterday that may have been a ball, tomorrow that may be a ball but today that is a strike.

    The Natural: My father always wanted me to be a baseball player.

    Pride of the Yankees: Today, I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

    Field of Dreams: If you build it they will come.

    The Sandlot: Heroes are remembered, Legends never die, follow your heart kid and you will never go wrong.

    "I've been coming here every summer of my adult life, and every summer there she is oiling and lotioning, lotioning and oiling, smiling. I can't take this no more!"

  5. Mark Candon on March 4, 2010 4:25 pm

    Victor, did you happen to catch this article in the Post last Sunday?:

    I ordered the book on Amazon. It comes out March 9.

  6. vic niederhoffer on March 5, 2010 12:33 am

    Yes, Mark, I read the article. But the reference to Dickson is great as I 'm sure he did a better job. He's a master, in the same class as Larry Ritter and Bill James. That's the one I'll read first. vic


Resources & Links