Recommended Posts

In May of 1975 with no runners on base, Dave Concepción hit a home run for the Reds in Cincinnati ... and sprinted like Carl Lewis around the bases. He was four seconds late getting to home plate.

It was a speedometer thing.

Some fan with a new electronic calculator (they were the rage of 1975, as popular as Rubik's Cubes would be five years later and came with booklets of careful instructions!) and a Baseball Encyclopedia had discovered a few months back that 1975 was going to be the year that the millionth run in Major League Baseball history was scored, and by early May each stadium had a running total on the scoreboard, updated in real time as the big number approached, presumably by radio relays or long-distance telephone. When Concepción hit the solo homer, every scoreboard in major league baseball where a game was in progress showed the number 999,999.

But across the country in San Francisco, the Astros Milt May had hit a three-run homer, perhaps a few seconds after Concepción's shot in Cincinnati, but on second base was Bob Watson, who passed away last May after a four-year battle with kidney disease. Watson also sprinted home and won the prize of $10K (the value of one million pennies) and one million Tootsie Rolls, which tells you who sponsored the promotion.

Later it was determined that the original calculation did not include other short-lived major leagues, and even letting that omission go, there are people studying baseball history from microfilms of old newspapers who discover errors in the Baseball Encyclopedia all the time. Nobody knows who scored the millionth run in AL/NL history because the totals change every year as more errors are discovered. But for three months of the 1975 season, it was a great promotion!

Now:

In Sumo, the 6 annual honbasho schedule begins in 1957 and I wondered how many ozumo bouts there have been since then.  Possibly someone with fine sumodb skills will be able to work this out.  But we can guess fairly well:

Let's start with a guess of how many rikishi there are on the banzuke in an average honbasho.  Currently this number is 120, 201, 226, and 54 in the lowest divisions, and 70 sekitori as always, a total of 671.  We can make that a round 700 by adding 70 sekitori again since they battle twice as often, and reducing some for kyujo rikishi, then multiply 700 by 7 matches (we already adjusted for the extra matches sekitori have) and divide by two (two rikishi in each bout) to get a ballpark figure of 2450 bouts per honbasho, which is 14,700 per calendar year.  We've had 64 years of 6 honbasho sumo (missed one basho last year and two (?) in 2011 but at the end of the current one will have had three already this year) which is...

940,800 bouts.  Approximately.  Very approximately.  Many assumptions in the previous paragraph may fluctuate wildly over 64 years.  The guess of 2450 bouts per honbasho is 167 per day, and as I write this on Day 8 there are 171 matches on today's torikumi.  No doubt there are a hundred more factors affecting the total.

It could be already more than a million, it could be considerably less.  We need to clearly decide first which bouts to include: I would say 'yes' to all six divisions and playoffs, 'no' to maezumo, torinaoshi, and 'before my time, I have no idea' about May 2011's 'technical examination tournament'.  You may agree or disagree.  But unlike 1975, with computers and a clear idea of what is in and what is not, we should be able to get a clear figure, and that millionth bout just might be coming up in the next month or year or decade at some point.

Or maybe not.  We might have missed it.

Don't you want to know?

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Unfortunately the dB doesn't have every bout for all divisions back to 1957. I believe we have full, consecutive year information from 1989 to now.

If we take the number of bouts per basho and divide it by the total number of rikishi listed at that basho (minus maezumo and banzuke-gai of course) from 1989 until now (excluding the current basho) you get an average of 3.64 bouts per rikishi. This makes sense as it takes two rikishi to conduct a bout and most rikishi are participating in 7 bouts.

I believe we DO have accurate rikishi count since 1957. So we can multiply the number of rikishi in each basho by this average to get an approximate number of bouts. HOWEVER somewhat painfully the lower divisions did 8 bouts per basho up to Natsu 1960. So to correct for that, I add 0.45 to the average for those basho, a number I pulled out of my butt.

I calculate since 1957-Jan, at the start of the current basho, we have had 1,001,926 bouts. So, we crossed the million last basho. Since there were 2300 bouts last basho the estimated millionth bout occurred on the 374th match.

This was Jd28w Mori with a yoritaoshi over Jd27e Yoshimura.

It would be interesting if anyone else has different approaches.

 

Edited by Tsuchinoninjin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think May 2011's technical examination tournament should be included, as to all intents and purposes it was pretty much a regular basho, and Hakuho counts the yusho from it as one of his 44. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Alternatively, you could go to the Torikumi count by Naganoyama every basho; for instance:

Makuuchi 19

Juryo 14

Mk 28

Sd 48

Jd 53

Jk 11

Total 173.

[He has helpfully numbered each bout, so you can simply read off the total each day for each division]

Assuming this is a typical day, then 173 x 15 = 2595; then take off some because lower divisions are ~ over by day 14.  Just about the same.

Or, you could do even more taxing labor and just copy the numbers down every day of the basho.  That should be exact (counting walkovers).

Edited by Yamanashi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't read this. I'm not doing this. You can't make me. 

  • Like 2
  • Haha 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Ichimawashi said:

In May of 1975 with no runners on base, Dave Concepción hit a home run for the Reds in Cincinnati ...

...to get a ballpark figure....

I see what you did there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(6-basho era since 1958, not 1957.)

Easier approach than via torikumi:

71 rikishi with 15 wins (1065)
199 rikishi with 14 wins (2786)
334 rikishi with 13 wins (4342)
566 rikishi with 12 wins (6792)
1062 rikishi with 11 wins (11682)
1975 rikishi with 10 wins (19750)
3566 rikishi with 9 wins (32094)
5451 rikishi with 8 wins (43608)
5276 rikishi with 7 wins (36932)
16305 rikishi with 6 wins (97830)
40039 rikishi with 5 wins (200195)
63488 rikishi with 4 wins (253952)
62061 rikishi with 3 wins (186183)
37435 rikishi with 2 wins (74870)
13635 rikishi with 1 win (13635)

Total: 985716

Would need to be adjusted for draws, double fusenpai matches assuming any fusen matches are meant to remain included in the first place, and jonokuchi losses or wins against shinjo maezumo rikishi (which way to go depends on whether those matches should count/not count). And playoffs, although I don't think they should be counted and it's impossible to do exactly anyway since the historical records are actually rather incomplete for the lower divisions.

And errors, of course, which exist in the DB data as well. Pretty sure there are a number of basho for which the win and loss totals don't match. In at least some cases the errors are probably "official" in that banzuke changes were made based on wrongly recorded results, which makes them impossible to spot after the fact. (Although the opposite almost certainly exists, too; correct results having gotten treated with wrong/illegal banzuke movements.)

 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting thought overall, but isn't the begin of the 6-basho period a bit arbitrary?

I have collected all torikumi that I could get my hands on going back to 1760, and of course this only captures sekitori bouts for the most parts. But even my largely incomplete list has already surpassed 1 million quite a while ago. The millionth bout in my database took place on Day 7 in March 2004 in Jonidan (Hamamiryu defeated Daishofuji, in case that someone is interested... (Laughing...)). 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

...and to shoot more holes into this foolish endeavour: what about torinaoshi?

Edited by Jakusotsu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jakusotsu said:

...and to shoot more holes into this foolish endeavour: what about torinaoshi?

We're definitely never in a million (heh) years get to the bottom of this, but fooling around YouTube I found this the other night. No less than three torinaoshi in a row, and all in the same fashion. Kirishima v Mitoizumi, May 1988.

  • Like 4
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Atenzan said:

We're definitely never in a million (heh) years get to the bottom of this, but fooling around YouTube I found this the other night. No less than three torinaoshi in a row, and all in the same fashion. Kirishima v Mitoizumi, May 1988.

Good lord. You could sort of see the "are you kidding me" by the second mono-ii, and by the fourth time round no one was bothering about Kirishima being over the shikiri, so obviously knackered were they.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TLDR. But anything is possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny how attitudes change in 45 years.  I remember reading a newspaper story about the millionth run in 1975 a few weeks before it happened and the 12-year old version of me thought it was cool that this fan had sat at his kitchen table adding numbers over the winter to make the discovery.  Just as I did, he probably began with an estimate and realized that 1 million might be close to the number if you went back to a suitable point, in this case the beginning of AL/NL play in 1901.  He probably tried several different stats as well.  In the latter part of the 1970s, probably also fueled by the availability of calculators, the Society of American Baseball Researchers went full bore into statistics, creating new ones and discovering the discrepancies in old totals and even coining a new word sabermetics, from the acronym of the organization.  And now in 2021 we have, it seems, no real interest in finding out if the millionth match of the six-basho era might take place tomorrow, instead complaining that it is an impossible calculation.  They probably knew that in 1975 but they made up a number, had a fun promotion, and told the details guys to keep it quiet.

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ichimawashi said:

And now in 2021 we have, it seems, no real interest in finding out if the millionth match of the six-basho era might take place tomorrow, instead complaining that it is an impossible calculation.  They probably knew that in 1975 but they made up a number, had a fun promotion, and told the details guys to keep it quiet.

Maybe next time you start a thread you can include a list of approved ways for other forum members to respond so this doesn't happen again.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me this thread was worthwhile enough, if only to get another glimpse at other people's casual geekiness (I'm looking at you Rando...).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now