Most accounts of the impact of Tuesday’s 5.8-magnitude earthquake on the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions have been the same: little damage, minimal disruptions. That is unless you were a home team hosting a MLB game in a city that felt the effects of the quake. In this case the baseball damage was (and historically has been) catastrophic. Prior to yesterday’s quake I found two instances where earthquakes had affected MLB games. The first was the extremely well known and devastating Loma Prieta earthquake that occurred minutes before the start of Game 3 of the 1989 World Series in the California Bay Area. The second instance was a similar quake to yesterday’s (5.9-magnitude) which occurred in San Diego last year during the Padres vs. Blue Jays game on July 14th, 2010. In each case the home team lost, making quake hosts 0-2 and prior to yesterday’s widely felt quake. It should be noted though Game 3 of the World Series was not played on the day of the quake.

Game 3 of the 1989 World Series was delayed 10 days.

Here, at By the Numbers our studies are guided by the strictest statistical principles. As a result we do not want to over-react to small sample sizes and claim that quake hosts are cursed based on two different games. However, after yesterday’s quake we could add another WHOPPING 7 games to our data set. With a total of 9 games we can begin to appeal to the law or large numbers and draw some statistically significant conclusions (NOTE: THIS IS NOT REMOTELY TRUE). The table below shows the results of all nine quake games.


Vistor Quake Host Score Result Date
SEA CLE 5-7 WIN 8-23-11
SEA CLE 12-7 LOSS 8-23-11
MIL PIT 11-4 LOSS 8-23-11
ARI WAS 2-0 LOSS 8-23-11
OAK NYY 6-5 LOSS 8-23-11
NYM PHI 4-9 WIN 8-23-11
ATL CHC 5-4 LOSS 8-23-11
SDP TOR 6-3 LOSS 7-14-10
OAK SFG 13-7 LOSS 10-27-89

Including our two previous data points and last night’s 7 games, quake hosts are a combined 2-7 in games that were scheduled on the day an earthquake was felt. This yields a .222 winning percentage which is .167 below the worst team in the MLB (our beloved Orioles) and is .442 points below the average home team winning percentage (.562) in 2010. Clearly and undeniably earthquakes are having an extreme negative effect on host teams. In the interest of parity and fairness we can only hope that quakes exclusively occur in Boston and New York for the remainder of this season.

Note: On occasion we like to cut loose and have a little fun at By the Numbers. Thank you for indulging us with your readership.