MLB: Is This the Face of a Baseball Manager?

Landis MarksSenior Analyst IApril 1, 2008

Steve Wang is a baseball fan first and a doctor of statistical research second. His fascination with baseball lead him to the study of paleontology and evolutional biology.

Yeah, that is what I said.

I am always searching for ways that baseball reflects our culture. This guy quantifies it, by showing how it translates into the different faces of baseball managerial styles.

Faces are used as a cultural avatar.

The linked article outlines how baseball managers decision making processes can be represented by cartoon faces.

Wang use a mathematical representative process known as Chernoff faces.

Chernoff faces are a method of visualizing multi-dimensional data developed by a statistician named Herman…ah, well Herman something or other.

While reams of categorical data can be imposing and hard to parse, translating the differences among them into facial characteristics can communicate distinctions with striking clarity. By turning rates of bunting, stealing and pinch-hitting into hair sizes, nose shapes and smile widths, Dr. Wang used a kind of statistical Mr. Potato Head to portray the spectrum of managerial characteristics in a way that intrigued even the skippers themselves.