The Batting Average Paradox

In the normal course of my web browsing, I stumbled upon the home page of Stephen E. Schwartz, an atmospheric scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and chief scientist of the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Science Program.

The page gets pretty technical for those of us who are not atmospheric scientists, but near the bottom of the page he mentions “the batting average paradox” – which contains a surprising bit of math that any of us can appreciate…

The batting average paradox. Able has a higher batting average than Baker in the first half of the season and also in the second half. You might think that that means that Able has a higher average for the season. But you would be wrong. Click here to see why averaging ratios can be misleading.”

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