Matt Jackson at Beyond the Box Score writes about the discovery of fielding-independent pitching by a fellow named Voros McCracken.
If you don’t know anything about baseball, you will not care about this. But it really is a remarkable discovery that changed how people view baseball. If you’re a baseball fan with a fascination for statistics, by which I mean if you’re a baseball fan, it’s worth consideration if you’ve never thought of it before.
McCracken had the idea that pitchers can do very little to control what happens after someone hits the ball into the field. Home runs, walks, strikeouts—those things they can control. But where the ball goes in the field of play mostly has to do with the skill of the hitter. It was a revelation that made no less than Bill James, the father of modern baseball statistics, proclaim, “I feel stupid for not having realized this 30 years ago.”