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[FanBuzz] Study Finds that Experienced, Older Male Umpires are Actually the Worst-Performing in Major League Baseball

Mark Williams

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July 7, 2022

FanBuzz recently posted an article featuring insight from Mark T. Williams, Executive-In-Residence and Master Lecturer of Finance, on MLB umpires’ accuracy levels in calling pitches.

Mark and his team of graduate students studied around four million pitches across thousands of MLB games from 2008-2018. His results show that umpires who were older males, with “adequate” experience made poor calls around 14 percent of the time.

“The 10 best MLB umpires in this study averaged 2.7 years of experience, were around 33 years old, and had a bad call rate of only 8.94 percent.”

Mark Williams

Though it seems counter-intuitive that those with more experience are more likely to make bad calls, the results of Mark’s analysis suggest our perceptions of what makes a good umpire need to be revised. Major League Baseball would benefit from incorporating his findings into its selection criteria for umpires going forward.

Mark T. Williams is a risk-management practitioner, academic and financial author with three decades of experience. His expertise includes risk management in banks, hedge funds, energy trading and utility companies. Specific focus areas include Fed monetary policy; corporate governance; business ethics; banking trading fraud and compensation practices; fraud detection and prevention, pension investments and return assessment; energy commodities risk measurement and precious metals trading. Current research has focused on financial literacy, financial inclusion and Fintech, including virtual currencies and blockchain.