Visualization: Handedness through historyby Dan Lependorf
May 23, 2013
References and Resources
- The width of every bar is the same, which corresponds to 100 percent of all plate appearances in the league for every given year. The only thing that changes is the position of each bar. For example, in 1950, 65.8 percent of the plate appearances in the league came from right-handed batters. Therefore, the blue bar corresponding to righties lines up with 65.8 percent on the middle axis. The green 1950 bar for lefties makes up the difference.
- Managers have purposefully put left-handed batters in to bat against right-handed pitchers for years. I expected the batter and pitcher charts to roughly mirror each other, where managers would note the rising tide of left-handed batters and hire more lefty pitchers to match. That doesn't seem to be the case, interestingly enough.
- What happened in the late '90s and the early '00s? Why was there a swell of right-handed pitchers that entered the league? Barry Bonds was a left-handed freak, but there's no way he was singlehandedly that good, was he? We're talking about an 11 percentage point swing from 1990 to 2000.
- All data from Baseball-Reference's wonderful new League Splits tool in the Play Index.
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