Which State Tops MLB in Most Players Per Capita? Would You Believe South Dakota?
South Dakotans who reach the professional ranks in sports are held in high regard in these parts, first because we admire their accomplishments, and second, and maybe even more importantly, because it happens so infrequently.
So imagine my surprise when I came across the latest data from Best Tickets blog that puts The Rushmore State at the top of the list of ‘Top Player-Producing States in Major League Baseball’ for 2014.
Quite an accomplishment, until you examine the numbers a little more closely.
There are currently three South Dakota-born players in the big leagues:
Oakland Athletics pitcher Sean Doolittle – born in Rapid City, 9/26/86
St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Mark Ellis – born in Rapid City, 6/6/77
Minnesota Twins outfielder Jason Kubel – born in Belle Fourche, 5/5/82
With a population of 833,354, that puts our rate of players per 1,000,000 residents at 3.6, good for first on the list.
Not surprisingly, another small state is second on the list: Wyoming with two players and a 3.47 ratio. Then the bigger states kick in: California (3.15), Connecticut (3.06) and Mississippi (3.02) round out the top five.
By the way, if you think South Dakota’s trio is a puny number, consider that we have more big leaguers than Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, and 10 other states.
Four states have produced no current MLB players: Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and Utah.
But instead of getting too bogged down in the numbers, celebrate! WE’RE #1!
We don’t get to say that very often…