Thursday, April 17, 2008

On birthdays and baseball pros.

“Why do so many pro-baseball players have their birthdays in August?” asks Slate in this article, and then proceeds to offer an explanation.

The pattern is unmistakable. From August through the following July, there is a steady decline in the likelihood that a child born in the United States will become a major leaguer.

One possibility, of course, is that the zodiac sign under which a person is born is a key determinant, as was argued in the book, The Baseball Astrologer.

But, there is a a better explanation.

“The magical date of Aug. 1 gives a strong hint as to the explanation for this phenomenon. For more than 55 years, July 31 has been the age-cutoff date used by virtually all nonschool-affiliated baseball leagues in the United States. Youth baseball organizations have long used that date to determine which players are eligible for which levels of play… The result: In almost every American youth league, the oldest players are the ones born in August, and the youngest are those with July birthdays. …. Twelve full months of development makes a huge difference for an 11- or 12-year-old. The player who is 12 months older will, on average, be bigger, stronger, and more coordinated than his younger counterpart, not to mention more experienced. And those bigger, better players are the ones given opportunities for further advancement. Other players, who are just as skilled for their age, are less likely to be given those same opportunities simply because of when they were born.


It will be interesting to see if there is such a pattern in schools. In Chennai schools, for instance, the cut-off date for admission is July 1st. Meaning that the child should be three years old on June 1st of the year, to qualify for admission into kindergarten. Do children born in June shine better as students, as they would be the oldest in class?

4 comments:

utbtkids said...

It is true that in a classroom containing older and younger children, the older children have an advantage. This is definitely true ine initial elementary years. The older children have more mental and emotional maturity :)

I guess all kinds of maturity gets lost when puberty comes knocking. Younger, older all posess the same amount of craziness.

Raj said...

utbtkids, but the older ones attain puberty sooner, no?

utbtkids said...

I was talking about maturity in the 0-7 yrs age grp.

Reg puberty, its a range and combination of several factors. It does't work like FIFO. Don't you think?

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