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.