My least favorite mistake

In last year’s Hardball Times Annual, I led off my Ten Things article with a brash finding: Major league players had gotten younger at a record pace in 2008. I double- and triple-checked all my spreadsheets and databases and it seemed to be true. A vast youth movement had taken over the game.

I should have quadruple-checked. Turns out that one little cell in my hundreds of cells contained a bad reference which made everyone one year younger than they actually were. The major leagues did get younger last year, but only by a little bit.

It’s a good thing you can’t see me, because I am totally red-faced here. I take my analysis seriously, particularly analysis published in a book. It’s easy to correct something online, but once something is committed to paper and sent to the printer, corrections can’t be made. I didn’t live up to my high standards in this case, and I disappointed people who referenced my analysis.

So I pretty much know what one of my “Things I Learned in 2009″ items will be in the next Annual. I first wrote about aging, using Win Shares as my multiplier, because it’s such a fun thing to do, and I’ll probably keep doing it. I promise to get it right from now on.

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  1. Peter Jensen said...

    Everybody makes errors.  Its all us other analysts that should be embarrassed for not checking your work and finding the error before you did.  The whole system depends on the replicability of results and peer review and we don’t do enough of it.  You should be commended for doing your own review and acknowledging your mistake.

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