Delaware Chapter ASA

Dinner Meeting: May 2013


Meeting location: Townsend Hall on the University of Delaware campus -- Commons Area. Townsend Hall    

Speaker:   Thomas F. O'Brien
Retired Chemical Engineer
How Improved Analysis of Statistics Has Changed Baseball    speaker slides


The game of baseball is noted for its massive accumulation of statistics relating to both teams and individual players. Some of the measures traditionally used to rate players (e.g., runs batted in; games won by a pitcher) are notoriously skewed and are not always good indicators of performance. In recent decades, a more scholarly approach has caught on, and we now have what to the uninitiated is a bewildering variety of derived statistics. This talk will introduce listeners to the science of sabermetrics,* with its new methods for rating pitchers, fielders, and batters. Baseball clubs have adopted these with varying degrees of enthusiasm. After brief mention of pitching and fielding, the talk will concentrate on offensive statistics. The final outcome will be a description of how one arrives at a player's "wins above replacement," or his contribution to his team beyond what might be expected from an average replacement player.


Tom O'Brien is a retired chemical engineer who specialized in the electrochemical industry. Besides a great number of technical studies, he also worked in design, engineering, operation, or safety analysis of about forty operating plants in twenty different countries. He participated in many technical seminars, once serving as chairman of the Society of Chemical Industry symposium in London. He contributed nine chapters to the eight-volume series Modern Chlor-Alkali Technology. He is the principal of three collaborating authors of the Handbook of Chlor-Alkali Technology and recently published a chapter on Salt and Related Chemicals in the Handbook of Industrial Chemistry and Biotechnology. Tom is a lifelong certified baseball nut and a devoted St. Louis Cardinals' fan. He regards learning to throw a screwball as his greatest accomplishment. In recent years, he has become interested in the mathematical analysis of the inner workings of baseball. This led to development of a short course for the University of Delaware's Lifelong Learning Institute and to a presentation made to the Society for American Baseball Research at its recent meeting at Drexel University.

Date: Thursday, May 16, 2013

Social time -- 6:00 pm
Buffet -- 6:30 pm
Speaker -- 7:15 pm

Townsend Hall
South College Ave.
University of Delaware
Newark, DE   Directions/Map

Cost: $20 for members/others, students $5, FREC students free
Reservations to: 

Irina Baldycheva by Tuesday, May 14, 2013.
Phone: 302-885-9136
Email: Irina Baldycheva.


Note: Please be sure to RSVP by this date.

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