Rolling through my twitter feed this Friday afternoon and an interesting link from BronxBaseballDaily.com appeared. I clicked and found out that the difference between being born in the month of July or August can have an impact on whether or not you become a Major League Baseball player.
"Using information from Slate.com, we find that there is, in fact, a strong correlation between the month you are born, and your chances at making the Majors," writes Jess K. Coleman.
More after the jump...According to BBD's findings, the is no correlation between the July-August debate for non-American players, but among American-born players there was. Why?
"Since the mid-1900’s, all American non-school affiliated youth baseball leagues have set the cutoff date at July 31. Little League, Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth, PONY, and multiple other youth leagues use the same cutoff date. Latin America, however, has no such rule."
"Consequently, the oldest players in almost every American youth league are those born in August, while the youngest are those born in July. For example, a player born on July 31 will be the youngest player in a given league his first year, and of average age his second year. A player born on August 1 will be of average age his first year, and the oldest his second year."
"That 12-month advantage cannot be denied. Especially in a youth league, when kids are at the height of their growth, a 12-month head start will make a kid stronger, faster, and thus far more athletic and valuable."
Now, being a an August-born baseball player I had a very similar experience to what Coleman describes. I never was old enough to play with players in my grade, but was young enough to play in leagues I was one of the oldest (hopefully, that makes sense). Did that help me become a MLBer? Well, I am typing at the keyboard at the age of 24. So, no.
However, I did discover as I got older and played in college (just small-time JUCO ball) my skill set was better than in high school because, well, I was older. My body was finally catching up to other players, who had already morphed into young men. I 'retired' from baseball after my final year at junior college because I wanted to pursue a career is sports journalism, but always wondered what I could have been if I stuck with it and played at my four-year college when my body was more developed.
Anyway, I thought the article was interesting and might bring back some of your own youth baseball memories.
-- Find more about Jess Coleman at his Web site.