Kurt Rotthoff, professor of economics in the Stillman School of Business, is a 2018 recipient of a Bright Ideas Award for his publication Structural Breaks in the Game: The Case of Major League Baseball, which appeared in the Journal of Sports Economics.
The Bright Ideas Research Awards are sponsored by Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business and recognize the research and contributions of faculty from business schools throughout the State of New Jersey. The awards honor the faculty members whose research significantly advances knowledge in their discipline area and delivers relevant findings to business practitioners. A distinguished panel of deans and business people review the research and select the winners.
Rotthoff's research concentrates on sports economics by analyzing nearly 150 years' worth of Major League Baseball data. By utilizing a time series test, Rotthoff and his research team managed to identify two significant eras: the free-swinging era, initiated by Babe Ruth, and the recent steroid era, marked by the increase of consistency in offensive power plays. Rotthoff analyzed the mean and standard deviation of four different performance measures to arrive at his conclusions.
The research was the result of intercollegiate collaboration with Professors Peter Groothuis and Mark Strazicich from Appalachian State University in North Carolina.
"The research was exciting because it's a method of measuring the performance of baseball players over time," said Rotthoff. "Using batting statistics and some time-series statistical techniques, we determined certain points in the history of the sport that changed the entire game."
Rotthoff also does research on applied microeconomics, financial, sports and educational economics as well as industrial organization. Before teaching at Seton Hall, Rotthoff was a competitive swimmer with 19 years of experience, having acquired several honors throughout his undergraduate career. He currently serves as a volunteer assistant coach to Seton Hall's Men's Swimming and Diving team.
"Professor Rotthoff's unique experiences and interests enable him to bring new perspectives to his research. This is the kind of creative thinking that we encourage in the Stillman School," said Stillman Dean Joyce Strawser. "Stillman is proud to have gifted professors like Kurt Rotthoff, who is clearly ahead of the game when it comes to sports economics."