Historical Error Rates
by Clifford Blau


The below table shows error rates (1 - fielding average) at each position (all 3 outfield positions lumped together) in the National League. Five year averages were used to eliminate random year-to-year variations.  (1981 is excluded.) At most positions, error rates have dropped fairly steadily over time and reached an all-time low iin the late 1980's and early 1990's. One exception is pitcher, which is not too surprising, since pitchers are not selected for fielding ability. The other exception is unexplainable to me, and that is third base. Fielding average didn't improve from the late 1920's to the early 1990's. Perhaps that is because third base has become a more offensive-oriented position, and managers are willing to put up with weaker fielding.


5 Years Ended
P C 1B 2B SS 3B OF
1880 .102 .129 .048 .120 .127 .161 .159
1885 .103 .101 .038 .104 .137 .151 .135
1890 .097 .086 .026 .082 .112 .124 .099
1895 .088 .068 .023 .070 .104 .119 .086
1900 .083 .051 .021 .061 .089 .103 .062
1905 .065 .034 .020 .058 .080 .093 .054
1910 .053 .030 .015 .051 .071 .069 .040
1915 .052 .030 .013 .047 .070 .063 .042
1920 .040 .027 .012 .043 .064 .057 .036
1925 .042 .026 .010 .038 .053 .055 .035
1930 .038 .025 .011 .034 .051 .051 .030
1935 .040 .020 .010 .034 .051 .055 .026
1940 .041 .020 .010 .035 .052 .053 .025
1945 .037 .020 .010 .033 .048 .055 .022
1950 .039 .019 .009 .027 .040 .052 .023
1955 .044 .016 .010 .025 .041 .048 .021
1960 .040 .013 .011 .024 .038 .048 .022
1965 .047 .013 .010 .026 .038 .054 .025
1970 .045 .011 .009 .023 .037 .050 .025
1975 .051 .014 .009 .023 .036 .053 .022
1980 .049 .015 .008 .022 .035 .048 .021
1986 .047 .015 .008 .021 .035 .053 .021
1991 .046 .013 .008 .018 .034 .052 .018
1993 .047 .012 .008 .019 .033 .053 .019


Contact me at CliffordBlau@yahoo.com

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