If this fall’s re-election campaigns of NYC Mayor Bloomberg and NJ Governor Corzine don’t provide sufficient distraction for the staff at The Marist Poll, you can count on the intense rivalry of baseball’s “Three Hundred Club” to test the statistical savvy of Poughkeepsie’s pollsters. Dating back to 1949, two Boston brothers each picked 10 major league batters to see whose total average would be higher. The “Three Hundred Club” was born.
Since then, a collection of baseball buffs have joined the fray, including many of the poll prognosticators at Marist. Unfortunately, as the ol’ professor Casey Stengel used to say, “It is very difficult making predictions, especially about the future.” For the most part, The Marist Poll’s record for picking political winners has exceeded its ability to field a winning lineup of baseball’s best batters.
The breakout year was 2004 when Marist Poll Director Barbara L. Carvalho and I ran one-two for most of the summer (Barbara had won the mid-season prize the previous year.) I faded in the stretch. Barbara was nipped in the final weekend of the 2004 season by mere tenths of a percentage point… well within the error margin she often pointed out, but not enough to win the Tiffany Bowl.
Fast forward to 2009 where current standings place Barbara in second among the club’s 85 contestants. I’m laboring in 11th position. Marist’s Director of Interactive Media Systems Mary Azzoli, Web Senior Editor John Sparks (a distant relative of Casey Stengel), and Program Manager Stephanie Calvano trail. Stephanie is in third place for pitchers. We’re all also keeping an eye on the homers and RBI competition.