May 17, 2013
Q. It was 1941 when New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio went on his record-setting 56-game hitting streak. One obvious result of such batting tears is that the team can win more games. What surprising effect on the teammates had long gone unnoticed until statisticians pointed it out?
A. “Like a popular politician with long coattails, a baseball player on a hitting streak seems to lift the performance of those around him,” says Nathan Seppa of Science News magazine. Mathematical analysis by Joel Bock and colleagues of the California software engineering firm Scalaton has shown that batting streaks where a player gets at least one hit in 30 or more consecutive games also raise the batting averages of the streaker's teammates by 11 points on average, as reported in PLOS One. There have been 28 such streaks since 1945.
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