Thelmer Damron. He's arguably a werewolf but does that even matter? Maybe. Thelmer impresses us weekly with his outrageous facial hair styles and freakish ability to grow hair really fast. But his talents don't end there. He also happens to be a fantastic wiffleball player on top of all that. In fact, he's one of the best players in the league. He's one of the top 5 pitchers and batting .818 (2nd best overall in the league). He's a great fielder and base runner and a fine captain as well. Yes, Thelmer does it all. But what's the secret to his success on the field? Athletic ability and wit? Probably. But that would make for an incredibly boring and predictable article. The better question to ask is can there be a correlation between facial hair and good hitting?
I decided to do a little digging to find the answer to that question. By my last count there are 9 players in the league who regularly sport some facial hair - that's roughly one-third of the league. Those players are: Thelmer Damron, Greg Sowards, Brandon Woolum, Ryan Briers, James Clagg, Randy Steele, John Moore, Ryan Miller, and Andrew Hankins. I gathered the data on their hitting statistics through week 8 and graphed it. I also did the same thing for the rest of the players of the league and compared the data. The findings were interesting.
The light green does represent those without facial hair but consider that two-thirds of the league represents that particular demographic. Also, keep in mind that despite that the majority of the league is sans facial hair the harrier players hit more home runs and had almost as many RBIs as players without facial hair. The difference in batting average really says it all. The harry fellows (.588 AVG) get on base nearly 10% more than those without facial hair (.508 AVG).
But you still may not be convinced. I was not either at first. But then I decided to do a little extra research by seeing if my performance was different by doing something as simple as not picking up the razor for a week. Yes, I did not shave for a week just to see if it would make a difference. When you're 4 games under .500 you are willing to try things you would not normally think to do. Anyway, after enduring days of an itchy neck I played as I normally would and tallied the results of my Week 8 stats versus my stats from the first 7 weeks. Below are my findings. Before Week 8 my batting average was .644 and I hit 8 home runs and 19 RBIs. But that night alone my average was .846 with 3 home runs and 4 RBIs. That's quite a difference and that's perhaps my best weekly batting average in a week. The improvements did not end at the plate. I went 2-0 on the mound with 8 Ks compared to my 2-5 record and 18 Ks from before.
Seeing it in bar graph form should illustrate my point that those Week 8 numbers are really good when you consider the averages from before Week 8. I increased my amount of home runs by almost 25% and my RBIs by 20%. I also got on base 20% more than I would have on average prior to Week 8. Also, my average RBI count per week prior to Week 8 was 3.1 and I had 4 RBIs on Week 8. As for home runs my average up to this point was 1.3 but I doubled that in Week 8 by hitting 3. Could it just have been a good night? Perhaps. Could it be that not shaving for a while gives you mystical powers in wiffleball? You tell me.