On August 11th, 1993, Roger Clemens fans Danny Tartabul for his 2,000th career strike out. Clemens is the only pitcher to twice record twenty strikeouts in a game, the oldest winner of the Cy Young Award (his seventh), an eleven time All Star and two-time World Series Champion. Despite all the amazing statistics, Clemens has not been nominated to the Hall of Fame due to accusations that he used performance enhancing drugs late in his career.
Clemens first run at the record books was during a mid-April tilt in 1986. A cold night at Fenway drew so few fans it presaged the empty ballparks of the COVID era. But those who braved it, witnessed a new MLB record for strikeouts. Had his record-breaking game been called off after three innings and the rest of it statistically determined by the trends of the first third of the game, it would have drastically changed the box score. Clemens would have thrown a perfect game as he didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning, but the strikeout record would have stayed at nineteen. Baseball is a nine-inning game for a reason, and statistical sampling can often hide both good and bad surprises. I am reminded of this fact once again as we parse reports on GDP that will be significantly revised in coming months. Investors would be unwise to try and enhance their own performance based on dubious statistics.
Don't wait for history to happen...