Average Major League Baseball Career: 5.6 Years

Looking to retire early? How does a 1-year career sound? The average career of a Major League Baseball player is 5.6 years, according to a new study from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

One in five position players (non-pitchers) will have only a single-year career, the researchers found. And at any time during a player's career, the chance that it's just about over is at least 11 percent.

Results of the study will be published in the August issue of the journal Population Research and Policy Review.

The study looked at career stats of 5,989 position players who played 33,272 man-years in the majors between 1902 and 1993. Pitchers were excluded because of their unique positions, career volatility and propensity for injuries.

"Everyone knows that Major League Baseball is highly competitive," said former CU-Boulder graduate student William Witnauer, who worked on the study. "But as Americans enjoy this year's All-Star game, they now have a definitive answer on the average length of a baseball career."

Live Science Staff
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