The Importance of Hometown Scorers to Pete Rose
Pete Rose was for a portion of his career one of the best in baseball history at reaching base on an error. Given his reputation for hustle and his career as primarily a ground ball, non-extra base hitter, this seems to fit well with the overall image. However, his number of ROE (reach on errors) declines precipitously twice in his career, once at the height of the Big Red Machine and again at the end of his career. Interestingly, the numbers vary by whether he was at home or on the road. Let me run the numbers for you to show you the findings. Make of them what you will.
What happens in the two dips? While it is true that the Reds are in the midst of consecutive World Series in the first dip, it is also the time at which Rose is approaching 3,000 hits. From 1973-1977, Rose’s reaches base on an error 54 times, 21 at home and 33 on the road. Yet he has almost identical numbers of plate appearances in both locations. From 1963 to 1972, though, Rose reached on an error 119 times, 57 at home and 59 on the road. During the second dip, Rose is challenging Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record. From 1981 to 1986, Rose reaches on an error 45 times, 20 at home and 25 on the road. From 1978 to 1980, in contrast, Rose reached 36 times, 18 at home and 18 on the road. So what do we have? Hard to say. There is room for questioning the objectivity of hometown scorers when a player with nearly identical home/road splits on a judgment call like an error suddenly develops a split when approaching 3,000 hits or the all-time hit record. These splits occur regardless of home park, meaning this is not just a product of Cincinnati. But the numbers are tiny. With any numbers this small, the variation could easily be random. Nevertheless, I find the information interesting enough to pass along.
Now we can sit back and wait for the Hall of Fame results to roll in.
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