Wednesday night marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the “Jewish New Year”. That means its time for another Sabbathmetrics post, in which we look at whether certain Jewish players performed better on worse on the Sabbath.
Our focus today is on Steve Stone. Stone pitched for four MLB teams between 1971 and 1981. In 1980, he was the AL Cy Young Award winner, and an American League All Star, finishing the season with a record of 25–7. That’s all the more remarkable considering his lifetime mark of 78-79 prior to that season. According to JewishMajorLeaguers.com, Stone is fourth all-time in wins (107) amongst Jewish pitchers.
After his playing career, he became a highly-respected baseball radio/TV announcer. He is currently working with the Chicago White Sox TV crew, alongside Hawk Harrelson.
So did Stone perform better or worse on the Sabbath? We parsed out all of his games by Sabbath/non-Sabbath and here is what it showed:
*GameSc- Game Score, a metric devised by Bill James to measure starting pitcher effectiveness. Each pitcher starts with 5o points.
Stone’s won-loss record was better when not pitching on the Sabbath, but practically every other measure improved on the Sabbath. He walked a few more and struck out a few less on the Sabbath, but his ERA was nearly a full run lower, his home runs per nine innings were down by a quarter, and his “Game Score” was 3.5 points higher on average.