Do you need winners to win? An analysis of the expectancy that a world series-experienced player is needed for future success in major league baseball




Tennison, James Allen

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In professional sports, winning is paramount to owners, general managers, and coaches, and teams will look to any source possible as they seek to gain an advantage over their competitors. A Major League Baseball (MLB) general manager (GM) questioned the strategy of whether teams should seek to acquire personnel that are already experienced at winning, or at least participating in, the World Series to help their team excel, or if building and training a set of players that has not attained that goal is preferable. As teams seek to add players with World Series experience, they are employing the concept of experiential learning, or direct experience learning. Owners and general managers then hold to the Expectancy Theory that their efforts will lead to greater success than previously could be attained. This research seeks to answer the question, using the sport of Major League Baseball as a backdrop, in order to aid teams as they create a strategy for winning that will one day lead to a World Series Championship.

The purpose of this study was to test the effects of a team’s strategy of acquiring players through a mid-season acquisition with previous World Series experience on their winning percentage (WP%) and post-season success in an MLB season. Utilizing a One-Way Repeated Measures ANOVA, no significance was found in a team’s WP% after acquiring the new player. An independent t-Test found no significance in the number of World Series-experienced players (WSEP) on winning and losing teams. A Chi-Square Goodness-of-Fit found no significance between the success of playoff teams from 1995-2014.

MLB teams that employ the strategy of acquiring WSEPs are attempting to bolster their team for better in-season performance as well as better post-season performance but the data shows that this is not the case. The New York Yankees seem to do this with frequency and success, and it encourages other teams to follow suit believing that it displays commitment to fans. The results of this study encourage MLB teams to seek to develop leadership, experience, and development.



Pure sciences, Social sciences, Baseball, Experiential learning, Major league baseball, Trade, Winning, World Series