What If?

Statistics play out unfinished 1994 MLB season.

Could the 1994 Cleveland Indians have brought home that long-awaited World Series title?


We’ll never know, of course, because the season was cut short by the 232-day baseball strike that left 655 games unplayed and resulted in the first cancellation of the World Series since 1904.

But a student researcher from Case Western Reserve University is using statistics to see how that unfinished season might have played out.

Using a formula he devised, 2011 graduate Zachary Hass found that Cleveland made the playoffs 82.7 percent of the time, and the Montreal Expos breezed into the postseason 98.7 percent of the time.

Hass, who will pursue a master’s degree in statistics at Purdue University in the fall, worked through some 1,000 season simulations to arrive at his results. He got the idea for his predictive model from a case presented by Boleslaw Kopocinski of Wroclaw University in Poland, who used a program called Poisson Regression to estimate the goals for Poland’s 1939 soccer season, which was cut short by World War II.

Hass reported his findings in the paper “Recovering the Lost Season: Simulating the End of MLB’s 1994 Strike Shortened Season,” which he wrote for his senior capstone project.