Sunday, March 29, 2020

It Just Doesn't Add Up

I've been spending more time looking at each card when sorting lately. Time is one thing I have a little bit more of these days.

I enjoy playing games like, "What's his career home run total or batting average?"

Pausing while filing this Kyle Hendricks card away, I pondered, "What is Hendricks career ERA?"
 I knew it had to be in the low threes, but he did win the ERA title in 2016 so maybe it was in the high twos. I flipped over the card to reveal an ERA of 4.10.
I'm usually not that far off in my guesses. So I took a closer look.

Well, there you go. The ERAs from his first five MLB seasons are as follows: 2.46, 3.95, 2.13, 3.03 and 3.44. Naturally, his career earned run average is over 4 then.

Wait, what? Hendricks' WHIP is off as well, but every other column is correctly totaled.

Here's a screenshot from documenting what the 5-year totals should be.

So, The Professor's ERA and WHIP should be 3.07 and 1.110, respectively. How did Topps come to 4.10 and 1.48?

Only half joking: Did Topps make stat error variations in 2019?

I'm sure I can't fathom how they came to these numbers, but if Topps needs a stat checker I'm their guy.


  1. Either they know that ERA isn't the stat is used to be and are half-assing it, or they know people don't read card backs anymore and are half-assing it.

  2. There are lots of error notations in this set on TCDB, which sate that Topps didn't include many pitchers' 2018 innings totals in calculating their career ERA/WHIP numbers.

    1. I didn't know this. The math totally checks out. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    2. Yup, loads of stat errors in 2019 card backs. I noticed the Dodger ones right away last year.

  3. Nice catch. Now go and list that on ebay for $50 because it’s an error card.

  4. They need to fire there whole slew of research people. I would venture to say there dozens of errors that probably just go unnoticed by most collectors who just glance at the backs without adding the totals up. Nice catch.
    Besides firing the guys who do the stats, I would love to see the player selection department fired. I’ve been doing some research up through the 2009 set, and the amount of players who have 2 cards picturing them on the same team in the same year (including the traded set) is astonishing. Here are some numbers I came up with.
    1998: 1
    2000: 2
    2001: 4
    2003: 3
    2004: 1
    2006: 1
    2007: 9
    2008: 4
    2009: 6
    I’m sure the coming years will be even worse. I call for Topps to fire some guys and let real fans/collectors help with the 2021 set.

  5. Interesting. I’ve been trying to enjoy cards a little more as they come in right now.

  6. Star error variations? Please don't give them anymore crazy ideas.

  7. That's a fun sounding game! And I'm glad you played it with this card. It is an interesting fact. I recall a Robin Yount's 1994 Topps card has him hitting 111 triples in 1988. Yes, it received a red-diamond for leading the league.