Comments on: Similarity Scores – How Many Clicks to Babe Ruth? This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Jesse R. Sat, 18 Dec 2010 09:00:25 +0000 I wanted to connect Carlos Quintana to Babe Ruth, but I accidentally switched to pitchers when I clicked on Al Orth. I'm not sure if oscillating between similar pitchers and similar batters is within the rules, but I did stay away from the "Similarity By Age" lists; I know DavidRF considers that cheating. I was happy I included Terry Francona, too (who, apparently, hit about as well as dead ball era pitchers hit).

1. Carlos Quintana
2. Terry Francona
3. Al Orth
4. Red Donahue
5. Red Ehret
6. Jimmy Ring
7. Sid Hudson
8. Slim Harriss
9. Max Butcher
10. Jim Tobin
11. Ed Willett
12. Phil Douglas
13. Bob Rhoads
14. Charlie Ferguson
15. Carl Lundgren
16. Babe Ruth

By: Most similar players traded for each other » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Fri, 17 Dec 2010 11:34:12 +0000 [...] on to our fun with Similarity Scores, reader Rick Jennings wrote in with the following trivia [...]

By: Joseph Thu, 16 Dec 2010 19:40:38 +0000 Hey! This is a fun game. But I gave up on Enzo Hernandez after about 100 clicks--I did get it to Billy Ripken, who seems to be on most lists posted above-- thought that might be the way, but I just couldn't find it.

By: Pat Lynch Thu, 16 Dec 2010 19:19:30 +0000 Hehe! This is so funny, I've been doing this for years! I do sometimes cheat with ranked by age, but I swear I can get there faster than most of the others. Try some other games like trying to get from Ichiro to Sandberg, it's a blast!

By: Jeff J. Thu, 16 Dec 2010 15:41:41 +0000 @61

17K big leaguers is also not 6 BILLION people

By: Jeff J. Thu, 16 Dec 2010 15:40:45 +0000 @57

What would be cool is linking from Babe Ruth first as a pitcher/hitter, through someone like Monte Ward, and then back to Babe Ruth as a hitter/pitcher (the one that you didn't start with)

By: wendell Thu, 16 Dec 2010 14:54:07 +0000 I got from Rafael Belliard to Ruth in 45 clicks
Belliard hit a grand total of 2 HR but still played for 17 seasons.

By: Andy Thu, 16 Dec 2010 14:39:38 +0000 Pursuant to Michael's excellent comment at #61 and #1 about the Oracle of Bacon, we have here the Oracle of Baseball:

Where you can connect teammates. Just like Michael says, it rarely takes more than 6 links to connect any two baseball players.

By: Michael E Sullivan Thu, 16 Dec 2010 14:35:42 +0000 There was once a proof in a similar game that the number would not be greater than 6. Paul Erdos was a mathematician who published papers with a very wide variety of different colleagues. Someone (maybe Erdos himself, I don't recall) suggested that one could count a mathematician's (or anybody in related fields who published with mathematicians) Erdos number by how many people you had to go through to get to Erdos, where you can link through anyone you have published a paper with.

I believe that it was proven that all finite Erdos numbers were <=6 or some such fairly small number. There were a number of people who could not link to Erdos in this way, but everyone who did at all, could be linked within 6 or 7 steps.

This is related to the 6 degrees of separation concept, where it is astronomically unlikely that any given pair of people anywhere in the world cannot be linked in <= 6 steps through people where each link is between two people who personally know each other.

I would think similarity scores is a tougher nut, because we've artificially limited the space to top 10, while almost all people know many more than 10 people, and a fair number of mathematicians (for instance, Erdos) have co published with far more than 10 other authors.

But that said, 10^6 is around 1 million, which massively overwhelms the sample space of major league baseball players. So I'd hardly be surprised to discover that the largest defined Ruth number is fairly low. A lot of that meandering around with weak players until you find the key guy with decent stats can probably be cut to 2-3 links if we do a real analysis of the graph, and find those weak players who happen to link well.

Players with highly unusual stats should generally represent good link points in this game. In order to jump dramatically in quality, you need people who are much better than you to be more similar to you than most of the players who are about as good. If a player has highly unusual stats, there is a good chance that any player who is unusual in the same way will show up on their similarity list, even if they were much better or worse as a player.

By: Raker Thu, 16 Dec 2010 13:22:57 +0000 I've played this game for years. It started for me when I tried to click from Babe Ruth to Horace Clarke. I got my brother playing this also.

The interesting thing about this game is Babe Ruth is kind of a pivot point for all players because of his great pitching numbers. As it should be, The Babe is the connecting tissue for baseball's history.

I usually try to make connections by using only 5 clicks. For example, The Babe is only 2 clicks from David Segui and just 3 from Jay Payton! Also, because of the Babe, guys like Frank Robinson are only 3 or 4 clicks from guys like Dwight Gooden and Bob Welch.