Lets start with the story of Babe Ruth. The “Babe” used to come to every at bat with the desire to win the game. So early in the game, aware that at the end of the game it would fall on him to win the game, the “Babe” would deliberately strike out on pitches that he really could hit. Later in the game, the pitcher would remember the pitches that had gotten the “Babe” out and “Babe Ruth” could hit with ease, winning the game defying the statisticians. So, Babe Ruth used sports analytics in the 1930’s in reverse, hoping to entice the pitcher to throw that very pitch he could hit in a tight situation later in the game. His very success illustrates that in sports analytics sophistication is needed.
For sports analytics to track Babe Ruth, it would have been necessary to look at the pitches he could hit at the end of the game, not just everything that came at him. How sophisticated is that? You have to know your players to do good sports analytics.
Babe Ruth is at the center of one of the sad stories of sporting in Boston. The Boston Red Sox baseball team, in 2003, had not won a world series since Babe Ruth was sold to New York, the so called “Curse of the Bambino.”
John Henry, a financial analytics wizard came along and purchased the Boston Red Sox along with other partners and he took the team to three world series using sports analytics as the dominant force for running the team and building fan enthusiasm.