State of Players

With both of the top players in the Royal's farm system coming from warm weather states (Eric Hosmer – Florida and Mike Moustakas – California), I wanted to see if it was do to the state's extra days of sunshine or just the state's large population. To make the comparison, I looked at the data using the following guidelines:

  • I compared the baseball data to the 2000 Census – I could have used some combination of multiple census's (censi?), but figured the 2000 Census should be a reasonable example.

  • Without spending way more time than I have, I used the state that the player was born. I know that they could have moved, but the number should be similar.

  • Players born after 1950 were used because expanding the search before that point biased the results towards states that existed. Also the baseball numbers would more closely resemble the 2000 Census.

  • I compared the state's population to the number of players that appeared in any major league game (quantity),the Win Shares of these players (quality) and the combination of the two values.

With these constraints, all the results are available on Google Docs, but here are the states that produce the most and least players per state capita (the Overall Rank is based on a combination of the Win Shares and total player's rankings):

Overall Rank State State Population (Millions – 2000 Census) Person/WS People per MLB Baseball Player
1 California 33.9 844 4881
2 South Dakota 0.8 998 6621
3 Mississippi 2.8 1223 6822
4 Wyoming 0.5 1120 7964
5 Louisiana 4.5 1421 7813
6 Oklahoma 3.5 1584 7807
7 Delaware 0.8 1602 7836
8 Alabama 4.4 1521 8519
9 Illinois 12.4 1614 8489
10 Ohio 11.4 1663 8733

42 Wisconsin 5.4 3269 18689
43 Maine 1.3 4099 20237
44 Idaho 1.3 3635 23106
45 Colorado 4.3 5522 22286
46 New Mexico 1.8 664 32483
47 Nevada 2.0 6364 27373
48 Utah 2.2 7919 29002
49 New Jersey 8.4 16762 13885
50 Vermont 0.6 7805 30441
51 Montana 0.9 16707 25061


The numbers seem to indicate that most players come from Sunbelt states and Midwest states. I wonder if the high ranking of the Midwest states if do to the long culture of baseball young kids are encourage to be big leagues. These Midwest states, though, produce about 2/3 the number of MLB ballplayers than California per capita. The states of Delaware and Wyoming don't seem to fit in that group, especially since they have a lot more in common with the bottom ten states that are colder mountainous states.  I have never lived in New Jersey and can't explain why it is ranked so low and maybe someone that lives or lived that can inform everyone.   As always. I am open to comments and suggestions.

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