With regard to your fine article on the Career Average Margin, a simple, yet important, improvement can be made. All CAM measures is the difference between an individual's batting average and the league average. And this difference can be misleading. For instance, if a batter were to hit, say, 50 points above a league average of .280, this would not be nearly as impressive as the accomplishment of a hitter who batted 50 points above a league average of, say, .239. Some method of including the average difficulty of getting a hit should be included to accent how impressive (or dismal, as the case may be) a hitter's performance really has been.
This can be accomplished by dividing a given player's batting average for the year by the league average for that year, and then totaling these numbers over the player's career and dividing by the length of his career. Thus, if a mythical batter were to hit for exactly the league average each year, he would end up with a Career Average Ratio (CAR) of 1.000. On the other hand, if another player were to have a CAR of, say, 1.150, this would mean that he averaged 15% better than the league average over the length of his career.
This method, I believe, is a distinct improvement over CAM. However, Reed Browning is to be congratulated for coming up with CAM in the first place.
PETER G. HEYTLER JR.
East Lansing, Mich.
Career Average Margin (CAM) can be improved in two ways: after computing a player's annual margin (the difference between his average and the league average), 1) multiply that margin by the player's number of times at bat that season, and 2) divide by the standard deviation of all batting averages from the league average for that particular season.
This second adjustment is called standardization, and the new statistic derived from it could be named Career Average Standardized Margin (CASM). After adding a player's standardized figure for all the seasons in which he performed, divide by the total times at bat in his career (rather than by the number of seasons). CASM values for some of the immortals might be as high as 5.
DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES
Thank you for the wonderful photography of Walter Iooss Jr. in the April 7 issue (A Midsummer Day's Dream). It captures the heart of baseball, which can be done only by going to the ball park, not by watching the game on TV.
For the most part, I think Midsummer Day's Dream is a waste of space. I would have appreciated a more elaborate pictorial display of the Long Beach Grand Prix. Empty seats, blue backdrops and obstructions in the stands are what nightmares are made of. I did like the pictures of Coach Walt Hriniak picking out some balls and the players standing around the cage, though.
RICHARD G. GOODE
Walter Iooss Jr. captured some of the rare scenes of baseball. One thing bothered me, however, as I glanced through the colorful pages. Why was the ultimate daytime park overlooked?
I can just picture the smartly clad Chicago Cub pitching staff running through pregame drills against the beautiful green ivy on the Wrigley Field wall. What a sight! I'll be able to see it this summer, but think of the great injustice you've done to millions of fans who won't be as fortunate.