Ron Blomberg and “Sabbathmetrics”

Saturday night marks the beginning of Chanukah, the eight-day Jewish celebration commemorating the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.  At the VORG, it means its time for another edition of “Sabbathmetrics“.

Today, we’ll look at the differences in Sabbath versus non-Sabbath performance for Ron Blomberg.  Blomberg’s claim to fame is that he became the first designated hitter, when he walked to the plate for the Yankees on April 6, 1973.  A one-time #1 overall pick, Blomberg was a talented hitter with a suspect glove.  “Boomer” joined the Bombers for good in 1971.   Injuries throughout his time with the team derailed his career.  He tore up his knee in 1977, and after a short comeback attempt with the White Sox, retired in 1978 with a career 140 OPS+ in about 1,500 plate appearances.  He was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

We parsed out all of Blomberg’s games by Sabbath/non-Sabbath and here is what it showed:

Games 331 130 461
PA 1058 435 1493
AB 947 386 1333
R 127 57 184
H 278 113 391
2B 52 15 67
3B 4 4 8
HR 38 14 52
RBI 167 57 224
BB 96 44 140
SO 103 31 134
HBP 4 1 5
SF 9 3 12
BA .294 .293 .293
OBP .358 .364 .360
SLG .477 .461 .473
HR% of PA 3.6% 3.2% 3.5%
BB% of PA 9.1% 10.1% 9.4%
SO% of PA 9.7% 7.1% 9.0%

Blomberg’s stats were very consistent from Sabbath to non-Sabbath.   He had slightly more power in non-Sabbath games, as well as a higher strikeout rate, but his batting average didn’t vary, and his on-base percentage only differed by six points.

For more on the life of “Boomer”, I recommend you check out the book “Designated Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Story“.

Prior entries in the “Sabbathmetric” series:
Shawn Green
Al Rosen
Ian Kinsler
Sandy Koufax

6 thoughts on “Ron Blomberg and “Sabbathmetrics”

  1. Very interesting series. I may have missed it in previous entries, but how do you define the “Sabbath.” Since it starts Friday night, and sunset usually occurs after night games start, do you take into account the stats before AND after sundown, or do you just consider games played before sundown on Saturdays?

    • Ron ….. I consider any Friday night or Saturday afternoon game (as listed in Retrosheet files) to be a Sabbath game. Saturday nite games and all others are non-Sabbath for this analysis.

  2. I actually have a signed copy of that book. The Dodgers edition of Phil Pepe’s “Few and Chosen” series had just come out, with the ex-player co-writer being Duke Snider, and the authors were doing a book signing in a bookstore in Bergen County. Not publicized, Ron Blomberg was also there signing his book, so we got one of those as well.

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