From Scientific Baseball to Sabermetrics: Professional Baseball as a Reflection of Engineering and Management in Society

By Puerzer, Richard J. | Nine, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview

From Scientific Baseball to Sabermetrics: Professional Baseball as a Reflection of Engineering and Management in Society


Puerzer, Richard J., Nine


Throughout its history, professional baseball has been a mirror of many aspects of American society. This relationship extends to the evolution of attitudes and practices of management in baseball, both on the field and in the front office, and in society as a whole. From the advent of scientific baseball in the late 1800s to the use of sabermetrics and strict pitching regimens today, baseball has reflected the application of engineering and management practices for the improvement of both on-the-field and business performance.

Managing a baseball team is far more complicated than the plan attributed to Casey Stengel of "keeping the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided." When formally examined, team management in baseball is a multidisciplinary task requiring knowledge of statistics and mathematics as well as an understanding of the diverse areas of ergonomics, organizational behavior, and management theory. These topics are all prominent areas of study in the field of engineering, specifically in the discipline of industrial engineering. In fact, links to the field of industrial engineering can be seen throughout the history of professional baseball. One reason that this relationship is so strong is that baseball, like industry, is ever evolving. In discussing baseball of the late 1800s, Bill James states what he believes is a fundamental misunderstanding about the way baseball is and always has been played. He says that the way baseball is played is not defined largely by the rules. Instead, it is defined by the conditions under which the game is played--specifically, the ballparks but also the players, the ethics, the strategies, the equipment, and the expectations of the public. [1] Continuous changes in the game of baseball have necessitated and will continue to necessitate the constant evolution of baseball management to lead this process of change. Likewise, developments in industrial engineering have been and continue to be a bellwether of business and industry trends acceptable within and relied upon by society. Thus industrial engineering serves as a change leader in industry.

This paper will analyze the development of methods and trends in industrial engineering that have also been applied to baseball throughout its history. This analysis will demonstrate the inextricable bond between the evolution of management in baseball and in industrial engineering. Likewise, it will suggest that perhaps a closer formal working relationship, such as the hiring of industrial engineers in the baseball management field, would be advantageous to the business of baseball.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING

Before looking at its relationship with baseball, we must discuss industrial engineering as a discipline because it is a little-known and often-misunderstood field of engineering. Industrial engineering can be described generally as the study of methods for the improvement of the great variety and multitude of systems used in the working world. These described improvements can be characterized as improving productivity and cost-effectiveness in accomplishing a task; improving the safety, comfort, and satisfaction of workers; and optimizing related systems achieving work. [2] In more general terms, industrial engineers strive to make things better, faster, and cheaper.

Industrial engineering has four major areas of study operations research, ergonomics, manufacturing, and management. All four areas are covered to some degree in an undergraduate program in industrial engineering. Operations research encompasses the many mathematical tools used in industrial engineering, including statistical analysis, linear programming, and simulation modeling. Ergonomics is the study of improvements in the design of the work environment for human beings. The manufacturing area studies the improvement of methods for the manufacture of goods. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

From Scientific Baseball to Sabermetrics: Professional Baseball as a Reflection of Engineering and Management in Society
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.