Huh? New study links home-run hitting to face size

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Not to get all "Today" show on you, but there's a new study published by two scientists out of London linking a baseball player's ability to hit home runs with his face size.

Hikaru Tsujimura and Michael J. Banissy, two researchers from the department of psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London studied two seasons of home runs hit in Japanese baseball and compared the home-run hitters by face size. Their findings were that players with wider faces hit more home runs.

Baseball has gotten quite interested in research, in breaking everything down in advanced statistical form, but this? Is The Stew going to get mocked by Bill James & Co. if we say we're not really buying this?

It sounds like a clubhouse prank. Can't you just imagine Nick Swisher running around telling guys, "Did you hear that if you hand is bigger than your face, you're better at hitting home runs?," then getting all fifth-grade and making teammates smack themselves in the face.

Skeptical as we might be, here are the results summed by Science Magazine:

A high width-to-height ratio has been linked to the strength of hand grip, the drive to achieve, and competitiveness. Following these implications to a logical conclusion, a team of researchers wondered if men with broader faces would prove to be better baseball players ...

No such link was found with other stats such as batting average, and only a slight association with runs batted in turned up in the second season. Previous studies have connected facial width-to-height ratio with sports performance, but only in Caucasians. The new finding in an Asian group suggests that the effect of facial width relative to height—even other characteristics—may cross cultural and ethnic boundaries.

Pictured above are the guys who led the American and National Leagues in home runs the past two years. Do their faces look particularly wide to you?

And now, an even more important question, does this mean Major League Baseball is going to start considering Botox a performance-enhancing drug?

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