Does Your Batting Average Suck?

Stats fascinate me. The numbers tell a story. The stories they tell may be hidden deep within the numbers or examples but they are there.

One sport that constantly looks at stats is major league baseball.

Aerial view of a major league baseball stadium

Photo by Tim Gouw

They have stats for everything. Some of the statistics baseball fans and announcers follow are:

  • Batting Average
  • At Bats
  • Home Runs
  • Singles
  • Doubles
  • Triples
  • Base On Balls
  • Hits
  • On Base Percentage
  • Slugging Average
  • Times On Base
  • Stolen Runs
  • Runs Scored
  • Base On Balls
  • Balks
  • Home Runs Allowed
  • Double Plays
  • Triple Plays
  • Games Played

Today, though, I want to look at the one statistic that gets the most focus. Everyone focuses on the batting average of hitters.

Looking at the batting averages of the best hitters gives me hope. According to the list of Major League Baseball career batting average leaders at Wikipedia, we may discover our batting averages in leadership doesn’t suck after all…

The list of the all-time leading baseball hitters starts off with:

Rank Player BA
1 Ty Cobb * .3664
2 Rogers Hornsby * .3585
3 Shoeless Joe Jackson .3558
4 Lefty O’Doul .3493
5 Ed Delahanty * .3458
6 Tris Speaker * .3447
7 Billy Hamilton * .3444
Ted Williams * .3444
9 Dan Brouthers * .3424
10 Babe Ruth * .3421
11 Dave Orr .3420
12 Harry Heilmann * .3416
13 Pete Browning .3415
14 Willie Keeler * .3413
15 Bill Terry * .3412
16 Lou Gehrig * .3401
George Sisler * .3401

The batting average numbers for the top players in baseball never reach .4.

What does this mean? This means the top ball hitters in baseball strikeout more than 60% of the time they’re at-bat.

Does Your Batting Average Suck?

We ask ourselves questions similar to this all the time. You may ask yourself:

  • How well is my team performing?
  • What is our close rate?
  • Is turnover high?
  • Are we meeting our numbers?

I’m not trying to minimize failure here. What I’m trying to do is to get you to understand even when we fail, we can win.

Baseball players do this all the time. They fail a majority of the time they go to bat. They fail to get on-base, to hit the ball, to move players forward…

Is this failure? Yes and no.

You can fail to hit your numbers. You can still succeed in improving your company.

Your turnover may be high… Yet you may succeed in getting the people who don’t fit in your organization out.

You may have a lower than desired close rate. But those deals yo do close? They’re hitting it out of the park.

You can’t let the numbers decide your success rate. Numbers can tell us a false narrative if we allow it to.

Look at your numbers. Ask them what they’re trying to tell you. Then listen.

You will hear your numbers telling you that you don’t suck. You may even hear the numbers telling you that you’re at the top of your game.

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