Did you know that by baseball standards a 60% failure rate is a huge success?
I’ll prove it in just a moment.
For the 2018 season, the Major League Baseball (MLB) batting average was .248. In other words, in 2018, in the highest level of professional baseball, hitters batted their way to first base (or beyond) only one out of four tries.
In fairness, batting average does not account for being walked (base on balls) or being hit by a pitch. By the way, if ever got hit anywhere on my body by a 98-mph fastball I’d demand more than a free trot to first base. I’d expect a guided tour of all the bases and credit for one run scored.
Meanwhile, the highest league batting average for an entire season was in 1930 when the percentage soared to .296 which is nowhere in the ballpark of getting a hit even a third of one’s trips to the plate.
The most successful season for a batter was Ted Williams in 1941 when he hit .406. That means the best single-season hitter in the history of baseball failed to get a hit 60% of the time he went up to the plate. In baseball a 60% failure rate will land you in the Hall of Fame.
No other sport allows you to make a living with such a dismal success rate. Imagine …
An NHL goalie with a 60% failure rate
“In hockey new, last night Pekka Rinne faced the San Jose Sharks who had 52 shots on goal. Rinne managed to stop a career high .406 per cent of those shots and the Preds lost to the Sharks 31—5.”
A goalie in any sport who gives up 60% of shots on goal should quit and become a hotel doorman, a Walmart greeter, an Uber driver, or a trail guide — any job that involves helping other people get where they want to go.
An NFL kicker with a 40% success rate
Broadcaster 1: Well, Alex, as we watch Pearson line up this 38-yard field goal, let’s flip a coin to see if he makes it.
Broadcaster 2: Heads, he makes it. Tails, he’s wide left.
Broadcaster 1: The kick is on its way … and knocks over the Gatorade cooler on the sideline.
A boxer with a 60% failure rate
Announcer: In the left corner, in the black & gold trunks, weighing in at 237 pounds, fighting out of Nashville, Tennessee, with a record of 19 wins and 30 losses, 27 of those losses coming by knockout, let’s hear it for Concussion “Get Another Job” Jackson! Will someone please help Jackson find his way back to his corner …
Good careers for high failure rates
It occurs to me that there’s only a few career positions that allow you to be accurate less than 50% of the time and still keep your job: stock broker, politician, TV weatherman, and sportswriter.
Stock broker: “I encourage you to hang onto your Sears and JC Penny stock. Sure, they’ve been nosediving for years like a Cessna with total engine failure, but I think they’re perfectly positioned for a resurgence and big gains.”
Politician: “Although I have fulfilled none of my campaign promises and have not managed to get any bills passed or resolutions approved, my ineffectiveness is solely due to the constant opposition from members of the other party as well as my own.”
Weatherman: “Well, to those of you in our viewing area who were shoveling 7 inches of “partly cloudy” from your sidewalk this morning…”
Sportswriter: “With their penchant for lackluster recruiting and the recent hiring of an essential oils expert as their head coach, my pre-season pick to win the NCAA championship and upset Duke University in the finals, is Huntsville Community College.
As my wife is printing out her boarding pass at this very moment, I bet she is hoping that the air traffic controller monitoring her flight is not an ex-baseball player or a former columnist for Sports Illustrated.
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson