Bob Melvin and “Sabbathmetrics”

Monday night marks the beginning of Passover, the celebration of the Israelites’ freedom from slavery in Egypt.  That means its time for another Sabbathmetrics post, in which we look at whether certain Jewish players performed better or worse on the Sabbath.

Our focus today is on catcher Bob Melvin. He currently serves as the manager of the Oakland A’s. From his A’s bio:

A 10-year Major League veteran, Melvin’s playing career included stops in Detroit (1985), San Francisco (1986-88), Baltimore (1989-91), Kansas City (1992), Boston (1993), the New York Yankees (1994) and the Chicago White Sox (1994). He posted a .233 batting average with 35 home runs and 212 RBI while playing in 692 games. The former catcher was drafted by Detroit as its first choice in the secondary phase of the 1981 January draft and hit .220 in 41 games in his rookie season of 1985. Melvin spent the next three seasons sharing the catching duties with Bob Brenly for the Giants, hitting a career-high 11 home runs in 1987. After three seasons in Baltimore, he batted a career-high .314 in 32 games with Kansas City in 1992

As a manager, Melvin was named the National League Manager of the Year in 2007 and the American League Manager of the Year in 2012.

As an aside, here is Melvin’s managerial W-L record on Sabbath vs. all other games, through 2016:



No real difference there.  Melvin’s teams don’t play any better or worse on the Sabbath.  So, did Melvin perform better on the Sabbath during his playing days?

As you can see below, Melvin’s averages were pretty similar in both circumstances, with the exception of batting average, where he was 11 points worse on the Sabbath. He walked more frequently and struck out less often on the Sabbath. In a bit of a statistical quirk, he hit all six of his career triples in non-Sabbath games.

GAMES 544 148 692
PA 1634 461 2095
AB 1528 427 1955
R 131 43 174
H 360 96 456
2B 62 23 85
3B 6 0 6
HR 27 8 35
RBI 173 39 212
BB 71 27 98
SO 317 79 396
HBP 1 0 1
SF 18 2 20
BA .236 .225 .233
OBP .267 .270 .268
SLG .337 .335 .337
HR% of PA 1.7% 1.7% 1.7%
BB% of PA 4.3% 5.9% 4.7%
SO% of PA 19.4% 17.1% 18.9%

Prior entries in the “Sabbathmetrics” series:

Art Shamsky
Scott Radinsky
Norm Sherry
Kevin Youkilis
Steve Stone
Mike Lieberthal
Ron Blomberg
Shawn Green
Al Rosen
Ian Kinsler
Sandy Koufax

My thanks to Baseball Reference for their help with some of this data.

1 thought on “Bob Melvin and “Sabbathmetrics”

  1. Jewish players have a tendency to share a very rare psychometric behavioral profile. It is rare in the general population but rather common in the Jewish culture. Medicine, Law, Entertainment, and Baseball are all benefitted.

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