The Griffey challenge
March, 6, 2010
By Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Info | ESPN.com
The joke going around Mariners camp is that Ken Griffey Jr. challenged Ichiro to get 300 hits this season.
This made me laugh, but it also got me thinking? What are the chances.Let’s work off a couple of presumptions, flawed as they may be:
1-That Ichiro works his way to 700 at-bats this season. He’s done that once- in 2004, when he had 262 hits.
2- That in any situation in which he registers an at-bat, Ichiro has approximately a 35 percent chance to get a hit.
What are the chances of an event that occurs with a 35 percent chance, happening 300+ times within a span of
I’m not an expert in probability, but I have a colleague who is, fellow researcher Alok Pattani. He ran the calculation and found that the odds are pretty slim: approximately seven in a million.
I wanted to look at this from the perspective of baseball history too. Let’s take one of baseball’s most successful runs of batting success:
During Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak in 1941, he hit .408 with 91 hits. If Ichiro could operate at a DiMaggio pace (1.63 hits per game) over 162 games, how many hits would he end up with?
The bad news: Only 263. To reach 300, you need to average 1.85 hits per game over 162 games.
The good news: There is a silver lining for failing to meet "The Griffey Challenge."
The 263 hits would break the major league record, set by Ichiro, by one.