-Bumped. Chianti Dan has some 'splaining to do. BN Eds.
I was looking at Dan Guerrero's Official Bio and noticed the following statement:
Guerrero received his Bachelor's degree from UCLA in 1974 and played second base in the Bruin baseball program for four years. His batting average in Pacific-8 Conference games over three seasons as a varsity performer was .343. Guerrero, known as "Warrior" during his playing career, was inducted into the UCLA Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.
Now I remember Dan as a decent college player, but something here didn't sound right. That's because had seen this entry in the UCLA Baseball media guide:
Guerrero, Dan, INF ’72-’73 .273, 4, 31
Checking up on these numbers was easier than one would think. The Los Angeles Times published box scores of all the conference baseball games through March, 1973 and those of the USC-UCLA games for the rest of that year. Old Daily Bruins (which are now online) filled in more information.
Here are the facts about Guerrero's UCLA baseball career:
In 1971, he was a little used reserve. However, in the final weekend of the regular season, UCLA needed a win to advance to the league playoffs which would determine which team would advance to the NCAA tournament. The Bruins were behind 1-0 with two out in the ninth with runners on first and third and for some reason Guererro was put in the game to pinch hit. He struck out.
In 1972, he played in 11 of the 18 conference games, going 14-43, a .326 average, but hit only .271 for the whole season, playing in about half the games.
In 1973, hampered by leg injuries, he played in only 18 games. His overall average was .285. He was only 3-14 in five games against USC. He missed at least four other conference games. That leaves nine conference games for which I have no data.
So is it possible that he hit .343 in his career for conference games? Possible yes, probable maybe not. Our data has him 17-57 (.298) in 16 conference games. In order to hit .343 in conference games in those two seasons, he would have had to hit for a very high average in however many of the nine missing games he played, yet a very low average in the non-conference games to end up at .285 for the entire 1973 season. Crunching a few numbers, it turns out that:
- If he played in all nine games, he would have had to hit .417 in those games, but .000 in the non-conference games.
- If he played in six of the nine games, he would have had to hit .458 in those games, but .179 in the non-conference games.
- If he played in three of the nine games, he would have had to hit .583 in those games, but .225 in the non-conference games.
Such high averages in the conference games become less likely when one takes into consideration that UCLA only averaged 2.8 runs in those nine games. One would also expect to face better pitching in the tough Pac-8 conference than in non-conference games against the likes of Cal Lutheran, Chapman, LACC, Occidental and Westmont.
So was the bio correct taking into account the missing games or did DG fudge the numbers? But even if he did hit .343 in conference games, a slim but mathematical possibility, that is not anywhere indicative of his injury riddled college career which totaled less than a full season of games on very mediocre teams which went 11-25 in conference play his junior and senior years. The important numbers are a career .273 average with 31 RBI's in three years, including an average of .182 against USC.