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Mathletics by Wayne L. Winston

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WAS JOE DIMAGGIO'S 56-GAME HITTINGSTREAK THE GREATEST SPORTSRECORD OF ALL TIME?

In a beautifully written article, the late paleontologist and lifelong baseball fan Stephen Jay Gould argues that Joe DiMaggio's 56-game consecutive hitting streak is the greatest sports record of all time.1 In this chapter we will use basic probability and statistics to determine how likely it is that a 56-game hitting streak would ever occur.

In June 1938 Johnny Vander Meer pitched consecutive no-hitters. This has never been done by anyone else. Is this the greatest sports record of all time? After making some reasonable assumptions, basic probability and statistics can help us determine that the occurrence of a 56-game hitting streak was less likely than ...

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