BIG BATS is a search through historical data (1903-2013) for performances by players who seemed like they were literally playing with a larger bat than everyone else.

By comparing a hitter’s World Series performance to their regular season performance, we were able to see who bested themselves when it mattered most.

OPS

On-base Plus Slugging

The ability of a player both to get on base and to hit for power, two important offensive skills. (Wikipedia)

THE DATA

By comparing a player's regular season OPS to their World Series OPS, we can single out players who significantly increased their offensive effectiveness. By comparing them to the league average in the same year, we can visualize just how much “bigger” their bat was.

To illustrate the approach, let’s look at Babe Ruth in the 1923 World Series.

Babe Ruth

New York Yankees, 1923

OPS

Reg. Season

1.309

OPS

World Series

1.556

OPS

Difference

+.247

Just by looking at his WS stat, we can see Babe Ruth brought his “big bat” to the series. What’s more interesting (at least for this project), is that he actually increased the “size” of that big bat in an attempt to win his fourth World Series ring.

As it turns out, Babe Ruth isn't the best.

THE LIST

Top 10 players with the largest positive change in OPS from regular season to World Series.*

Year Team Player OPS
Reg. Season
OPS
World Series
OPS
Difference
Result
2013 Boston Red Sox David Ortiz .959 1.948 +0.989 Won
1977 New York Yankees Reggie Jackson .925 1.792 +0.867 Won
2012 San Francisco Giants Pablo Sandoval .789 1.654 +0.865 Won
1928 New York Yankees Babe Ruth 1.172 2.022 +0.85 Won
1980 Kansas City Royals Willie Aikens .789 1.638 +0.849 Lost
2006 Detroit Tigers Sean Casey .724 1.556 +0.832 Lost
1980 Kansas City Royals Amos Otis .699 1.495 +0.796 Lost
1990 Cincinnati Reds Chris Sabo .819 1.611 +0.792 Won
1953 New York Yankees Billy Martin .710 1.478 +0.768 Lost
1954 Cleveland Indians Vic Wertz .751 1.493 +0.742 Lost

*with >100 AB reg. season and >15 AB in the Series.
Download full data set

THE BIGGEST BAT

In 2013, David Ortiz, coming off an injury in the previous year, had a good regular season and a remarkable World Series. His performance at the plate in the World Series catapulted him into arguably the greatest post-season player of all-time.

If Reggie Jackson (#2 on our list) is Mr. October, then Big Papi certainly deserves the moniker "Señor Octubre" as number one.

David Ortiz

Boston Red Sox, 2013

OPS

Reg. Season

.959

OPS

World Series

1.948

OPS

Difference

+.989

THE OTHER LIST

Top 10 players with the largest negative change in OPS from regular season to World Series.*

Year Team Player OPS
Reg. Season
OPS
World Series
OPS
Difference
Result
1983 Philadelphia Phillies Mike Shmidt .923 .100 -.823 Lost
1939 Cincinnati Reds Lonny Frey .840 .056 -.784 Lost
2008 Tampa Bay Rays Evan Longoria .874 .100 -.744 Lost
1996 New York Yankees Mariano Duncan 0.852 .105 -.747 Won
1970 Cincinnati Reds Tony Perez .990 .246 -.744 Lost
1975 Boston Red Sox Cecil Cooper .899 .155 -.744 Lost
1976 Cincinnati Reds Ken Griffey .851 .114 -.737 Won
1956 Brooklyn Dodgers Sandy Amoros .902 .195 -.707 Lost
1950 Philadelphia Phillies Dick Sisler .815 .118 -.697 Lost
1911 New York Giants Red Murray .781 .087 -6.94 Lost

*with >100 AB reg. season and >15 AB in the Series.

Babe Ruth also shows up on this list at #13, and so does Mickey Mantle at #12.

Download full data set

THE OTHER BAT

Our data showed having a great regular season does not equate to having a great World Series as Mike Schmidt demonstrated in the 1983 World Series.

In ‘83, Schmidt led the NL in home runs for the sixth time in his career. His hot hitting continued into the NLCS, but when the Phillies met the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series, Schmidt’s bat virtually disappeared. The first ballot Hall of Famer went a paltry 1-for-20.

Even the great ones have their slumps.

Mike Schmidt

Philadelphia Phillies, 1983

OPS

Reg. Season

.923

OPS

World Series

.100

OPS

Difference

-.823

PLAY BALL

Of course, batting isn’t everything and it certainly takes more than a single player to win a championship. But a hot batter or a cold slumper is sure to affect a team - for better or worse.

We look forward to an exciting World Series in 2014...where anything can happen. Thanks for looking.



A creative technology studio specializing in physical interactive experiences. Brooklyn, NY.


The ACME Catalog

Matthew Epler

Mo Twine


Data Verification

Marc Gameroff


Final Bat Production

Jesse LaCasse of LaCasse Bats


Special Thanks

Ben Light for his lathe expertise.


Contact Us

theacmecatalog.com

info@theacmecatalog.com