Baseball Player Height and Weight By Year

My last two posts have been about the average height and average weight of MLB players.  While I will be looking at performance relative to height and weight as well, I wanted to make a quick post to show height and weight over time.  Have players gotten taller on average since 1960?  Do players weigh more now than in 1960?  The answer to both is yes.

MLB Player Height Over Time

Height went from 72.6 to 73.4 which doesn’t seem like a significant change over a 50 year time span.  MLB players are not even an inch taller, on average, than they were in 1960.

MLB Player Weight By Year

Average weight went from 188.6 to 196.4 in about 50 years.  Baseball players on average weigh about 8 pounds more than they did in 1960.

The graphs look more shocking than they actually are given height didn’t even change an inch, and weight changed only about 8 pounds.  What do you think of the graphs?  Any conclusions you’d draw?  The next series of posts will be regarding performance relative to height and weight.

It is important to note that the height and weight data used only appears in the data once, as opposed to an updated height and weight for each player every season. I hope to talk with Sean Lahman about his database to understand at what point in the career that type of information is corrected.  As it stands the trends shown above likely reflect that new players coming in are taller and weighing more, as opposed to an individual player getting taller and heavier over time.

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Comments

  1. Matt Hooper says:

    Stats like these are useless unless they specifically focus on 'starters'. Having 5 —6' 5 pitchers in the bull pen playing 10 innings over a season wipes out all accuracy of actual player comparisons from bygone Era's. Humans are not getting bigger—-Lazy Scouts are playing it safe and drafting the larger player when given a choice. Japan has proven this scouting method is folly.

    • Christopher Lee says:

      Thanks for the comment, Matt. While I do think these statistics have some limitations (as you point out), I still think they show an interesting trend in terms of the height and weight of MLB players on rosters. As you suggest, it would be interesting to look at starters, or players who hit over .300, etc to see how the size of starters has changed over the years.

    • I couldn’t agree more about the scouting. The traditional wisdom is that you can teach anyone the basic skills but you can’t teach someone to be naturally athletic. But what very good managers have realized is that it is much more important to find people who love to practice and will work hard. That’s how you get guys like Dustin Pedroia, 5’7”-5’8” and right handed but with the skills and hard work to be the AL MVP

  2. detroitjames says:

    I know this article is from a few months ago but I was curious about these statistics and found this site. What spurred my curiosity was seeing players like Albert Pujols, Ivan Rodriguez, among many others who curiously lost a significant amount of mass after the steroid scandal came to light a few years ago and since the usage of steroids has been more patrolled in the MLB. Im curious to see what the average baseball player size change would be between 1995 and 2011. I would be willing to bet that the graph would show a significant increase until 2008-09 or so and then drop off.

  3. In light of the new rule for 2015, restricting home plate collisions, I think these stats do support the reasoning before the rule. The bigger, faster, stronger motto that drives all of our sports now a days does effect the catcher the most….especially when they are coming at you like a freight train

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