Sports Reference Blog

The Stumble to 500,000 MLB Errors

Posted by sean on August 30, 2012

This is utterly random, completely meaningless and less than 100% accurate, but earlier this summer I noticed, that MLB was nearing 500,000 errors since 1876. We track all all-time stats on our seasons index. So as the half million mark approached, I decided to add a counter to the front page of the site. We'll also try to pinpoint the offending player on the day the milestone is broken.

Are we 100% certain this will actually be the true, honest-to-god, real 500,000th error since 1876? No, it undoubtedly isn't as there are lots of accounting discrepancies in the "official" record, especially in the fielding stats. I'm sure Elias has a different number and in our case our player-by-player and team stats don't even match up on error, putout or assist totals. For pre-1970's results, fielding records were mostly an afterthought and no effort was made to make sure they balanced at the end of the season. But it's a fun milestone, so we're going to track it.

UPDATE: One other issue that may affect things is that some errors are overturned at a later date, so even on the night we deign an error the 500,000th it may actually move up or down the last next week when mlb reviews borderline scoring calls.

So always remember this milestone is for fun and is accurate to the best of our ability, but in no way 100% accurate.

12 Responses to “The Stumble to 500,000 MLB Errors”

  1. Bravesfan1974 Says:

    In "honor" of this, you need to publish a post highlighting an "All-Time Error" team, comprised of the worst fielders at each position over the course of their careers (e.g., Jose Offerman at shortstop, etc.). I'm sure you'd have to have some sort of minimum standards in place (career error totals, most years leading the league in errors at their position, etc.) to assure you weren't getting guys who just had low fielding averages. I, for one, would find that quite interesting.

  2. Phil Haberkorn Says:

    MLB needs to support this upcoming milestone like they did the one millionth hit, and offer appropriate prizes to the "winning" player.
    Lifetime supply of something.
    Sticky tape?

  3. Tom Says:

    Nice work. This is just the sort of thing we love!

  4. Tim Says:

    They should present a trophy to the guy who makes the 500,000, but have the trophy covered in butter, so when they hand it to him, he drops it, and we can all have a good laugh.

  5. W.k. kortas Says:

    The event will also mark the 500,000th occasion where somebody bitched out the official scorer for screwing them when that was clearly a clean hit.

  6. Phil Haberkorn Says:

    MLB will get on the bandwagon with my contest idea, amd make arrangements for the broadcast networks to cut into live coverage of whatever game the 500,000th error occurs, which, as it comes to pass, takes place in the fifth inning.
    It's a hot smash one-hopper that handcuffs the third baseman, he staggers a moment, dodges fragments of the bat are flying his way after shattering upon impact with the ball, then grabs the ball and throws juuuuuuuuuusssssst a moment too late to catch the runner. Up flashes the "E" on the scoreboard. The third baseman immediately starts gyrating profane hand signals toward the Official Scorekeeper, indicating he believes the play should have been called a hit. But it's the first baserunner for the team at bat, and the Score Keeper is honoring the tradtion of not "breaking up" a no-hitter with his decision if it ends up being the only hit of the game.
    They will stop the game and hold the appropriate ceremony.
    The "lucky" player will be presented his lifetime coupon for SuperGlue, the Official Sponsor of the award, and proceed to drop the trophy which shatters into a million smithereens, at which time they cut to the SuperGlue commercial.
    The game resumes, the pitcher continues to mow down batters, three up and three down, until two outs in the ninth inning. Following a clean line drive single to left center field, b r e a k i n g u p t h e N o-H i t t e r, the Official Scorer "corrects" his earlier call to a hit, and the pitcher fans the next batter to end the game.
    The losing team's linescore reads 0 runs, 2 hits, NO ERRORS.
    At which time a representative from the commissioner's office visits the locker room and confiscate the SuperGlue coupon, which will now be held for the next MLB player to commit an error.
    Lawsuits abound in the aftermath of these events.
    The networks sue MLB for the sudden decline in ratings when their reality shows and talent competitions were interrupted.
    The ad agency goes to court when SuperGlue refuses to pay for another commercial the next time a player commits an error.
    The player sues the commissioner's office for the SuperGlue coupon rights.
    The player's agent can't figure out who to sue first, the Score Keeper for defaming his client, or the bat manufacturer for their faulty product which caused the crucial hesitation by his client which resulted in the late throw.

  7. Fourfriends1679 Says:

    @Bravesfan74: Base it on lowest (-)dWAR. Basically the guys who did the most damage over the course of their careers...

    Off the top of my head...

    C - Ted Simmons (?)
    1B - Dick Stuart
    2B - ?
    SS - Jose Offerman
    3B - Harmon Killebrew
    LF - Dave Kingman
    CF - ?
    RF - Dante Bichette
    P - ?

  8. Bravesfan1974 Says:

    Decent list so far...Kelly Johnson always seemed like an inadequate 2B to me, but I'm sure there were worse. As for catchers, how does Mackey Sasser compare to Ted Simmons? Sasser's gotta be down low somewhere....

  9. Andy Says:

    Gotta include Mickey Hatcher in CF when the MetroDome opened in '82. He even sported a glove the size of a pizza pan on his baseball card to no avail!

  10. Ramon Says:

    I am very old (pushing 92).
    I started loving Baseball in Venezuela, my country of origin. I most have been seven or eight years old.

    They always said over there: "AFTER THE ERROR COMES THE HIT" And… lo and behold, most often seemed to me, it happened!

    In anycase, specially if you added waks to the hits, it was noticeable above expectable statistics.

    When I moved to the USA --baseball paradise-- I observed that the "Venezuelan rule" was as much in effect as it was overthere. But nobody (except me and my kids) payed attention, commented or even noticed this phenomenom which for me was axiomatic (I don't know what this last word means but it sounds cool).

    You have here so many statistics that is enough for an oldie like me to become dizzy. No where though the little but significant "fact" was tabulated.

    I asked a few Summers ago a young intern in my Office to write a letter to some Sport Journalists or to the Elias Bureau about this subject. We were excited when Mr. Boswell from our city newspaper The Washington Post answered on a three page letter. He was so kind.

    But, alas, as much as the first paragraph was promissing soon he disgressed toward some very interesting, nevertheless ultimately unrelated anecdotes (I remember one from Lester Maddux Dad who worked On a Casino as a Roulette croupier and cited statistics of chance occurrences).

    Over the years, thinking every few games on this subject when I observed it happened, I thought it was logical that the pitcher would feel down and, excuse me, pissed off, when the error by a fielder teammate prolonged an innings work for him or, even worst, gave the other team some runs. Of course, etiquette would not allow to show disgust towards the guy comitting the error. It would be bad form.

    A last point: I seem to have noticed that Ozzie Guillen, the only Venezuelan mannaging today in MLB, ocasionally has change the pitcher right after an fielding error is committed. Perhaps he gauges that particular pitcher "upset-ratio" and prevents a weaker or enraged distraction when facing the next batter.

    I apologize if the stat I am missing already exists and I am just ignorant about it.

    Would you or some one from your readers please comment? Thank you very much.

  11. hubert Says:

    I just want to chime in . It use to bother me that i missed seeing Ted or Stan play. I feel honored though to have lived throught the 1 million runs scored and now soon to be 500,000 error. I consider myself the luckies fan having also been alive for 16 perfect games which contributed to neither of these two stats.

  12. DanK Says:

    Most amusing would be if the 500,000th error was Darwin Barney, to end his 100+ game errorless streak.