The 2016 World Series
Of the major sports in the United States, baseball is arguably the most storied. The championship series is clearly the oldest of the major championships. I’ve discussed in this blog before that for sports fans, even perhaps non-sports fans as well, history matters. The 1903 World Series was the start of America’s love affair with the game, and we’ve been watching the storyline in a few different incarnations more or less since…you know, except for 1904…and 1994.
We watched in 2004 as the Boston Red Sox improbably beat the New York Yankees in 7-games to advance to the World Series after going down in the series 3-0 to win their first World Championship since 1918. The next year, the Chicago White Sox won their first World Series since 1917…of course, they had the opportunity to win the 1919 World Series, but there was this little gambling scandal and all.
This of course left two franchises with a World Series drought: The Cleveland Indians and the team from the Northside of Chicago, the Cubs.
Now, the Indians had the opportunity in 1997, taking a little upstart team from Florida into extra innings in Game 7, but in the end lost their bid on an RBI single. AS an aside, I remember listening to that game driving home from the 1997 MLS Cup Championship game in Washington DC. If the Red Sox couldn’t break their curse, the Indians shouldn’t be able to, and lo, they weren’t.
The Cubs have had an even more tortured history with the baseball championship. The lore includes the curse of the billy goat, curing the teams’ chances in the 1945 World Series…where they haven’t been since.
So here we are – 2016. 68 years since the Cleveland Indians won the World Series; 108 years since the Cubs were World Champions. By the end of this series, one of these historic franchises will have broken a curse, will accomplish something that most people alive today have never seen and may perhaps launch a new dynasty. In 2003, if you had told me after the Red Sox got bounced from the ALCS, that they will win three times in the next ten years, I wouldn’t have believed it.
The amazing story and the guaranteed heartache the fans of one of these teams will feel, the guaranteed elation, the feeling that nothing will remotely come close just cannot be over-estimated. I know – I’ve lived that feeling as a Red Sox fan. Cleveland and Chicago are both 4 wins away from erasing generations of disappointment and despair.
THIS is what inspiration looks like to me as a sports fan. Generations coming together. The common connections within these cities. The comradery felt – even if it’s for ten days or so – has no equal, and is understood by only a few. It’s a disappointing season for Yankees fans if they don’t win it all. For fans of one of these two teams, it will be adulation. For fans of both of these teams, it will be a season to remember.
And that to me is inspiring.
Today’s World Series – the World Championship of Baseball – is a given. Except for the truncated 1994 season, a championship series has been played between the National League and the American League since 1905, with the first series between the two leagues having been held in 1903. Over the 109 World Series; 105 have been a best-of-7 affair. What of those other 4-series and why are there 7-games in the series?
The first World Series in 1903 was a best of 9-game arrangement between the American League Champion Boston Americans (later the Boston Red Sox) and the “Pittsburg” (sic) Pirates. When the American League (and reigning “World Champion”) Boston Americans could not make an arrangement with the National League Champion New York Giants, the series was not played, as the series was only arranged between clubs. While popular culture points to the interpersonal squabbles between the Boston and New York franchises, there was also a real disagreement over what the rules should be for a World Series – and the reluctance of the Giants to give credence to their in-town rival the Highlanders, who had lead the American League through much of the season before Boston pulled out the best record on the last day of the season.
In the aftermath of the failure to play a series in 1904, both leagues adopted rules for a World Series to begin in 1905, thus removing the possibility a mutually beneficial and lucrative Championship Series would not be played because of animus between people or teams or because of an argument against poorly thought out rules. The rules for the 1905 season included a “best-of-7” World’s Championship Series.
Baseball had played a significant role in the American war effort and at the end of 1918 – a season truncated by the first World War – the good will Major League Baseball had was at a high point. As the largest professional sports league, a war wearied country looked to baseball for enjoyment. According to Richard C. Crepeau in Baseball: America’s Diamond Mind, baseball had experienced a renaissance of sorts during the war as people who had not yet been exposed to the game had been for the first time. These soldiers coming back to the states provided an increased demand for the game.
In the 15-or-so years between the National League representative New York Giants refusing to meet the Boston Americans in what would have been the second World Series, the National League was now not only firmly behind a series, but firmly behind a longer series. Before the winter meetings in 1918, the National League proposed a “best-of-9” series with the idea being to increase revenue and exposure of the game; that motion that was passed at the December, 1918 meetings for the 1919 season.
Under this expansion, the 1919-1921 World Series’ were “best-of-9” series. In that very next World Series,the “Black Sox scandal” erupted and charges of gambling and investigations embroiled baseball for several years thereafter. At the 1921 Major League meetings, while the National League voted to retain the best-of-9, the American League voted to return to a best-of-7 series. When placed in the context of the “black sox” scandal – with it’s squandering of public good will after the first world war and amidst charges the expansion was more about greed than the game – one can easily see how the new Commissioner of Baseball, Kennesaw Mountain Landis, saw fit to cast the deciding vote as one to return to 7 games.
It took Major League Baseball’s expansion and subsequent alignment into divisions in 1969 before there was another expansion of the post season – 50 years with the only post season play being the best-of-7 World Series and when it did expand the post-season, it was the playoffs that expanded, not the World Series; baseball had traded the guarantee of at least one more game in the World Series (to win a best of 9, you must win 5 games) for the guarantee of what was at the time 6-more playoff games – 3 in the American League, 3 in the National League in a best-of-5 League Championship series. The “LCS” is now a best-of-7 series, with an additional layer of playoffs before even that additional round.
Nota bene, while the scandal over performance enhancing drugs and the Mitchell report was beginning to wind down, the then current commissioner of Baseball Allan “Bud” Selig was considering an expansion of the World Series – a proposal presented by player agent Scott Boras – to a best-of-9 format, ostensibly to increase exposure (by playing two games at neutral sites) and, undoubtedly to increase revenue. History does have a tendency to repeat itself.
2012 was an abominable season for the Boston Red Sox – 69 wins, the worst season since 1965 (a season in which the team lost 100 games). That’s bad. The 16th worst team in franchise history in winning percentage. To put that in a little context, this is a franchise with 112 seasons of baseball in the record books – 86% of its seasons have been better. The only other time the Sox had a worse record in a 162-game season was 1965, going 62-100.
This team gets a bit of a pass however because there have been some truly abhorrent teams in the franchise’s history – the 111-loss 1932 squad; the 107-loss 1926 team; and 105-game losers in 1906 and 1925. And those were years in which 154-games made up a season. Exceptionally bad teams, 1906 especially so considering two years previous they had won the American League and three years previous the World Series.
All of which said, let’s mitigate the mitigation: While over the existence of the franchise 86% of it’s seasons have been better, its the worst season in the last 42% of its existence. Of the 11-seasons in team history that were worse, 10 occurred in the first 50% of the teams history, from 1901-1956. Only 2 have occurred in the second 50% of the teams history.
The first year manager of the 1965 squad, Billy Herman, got another year to manage. The 1966 Sox managed to lose only 90-games – the same number as the 1964 team. Despite the disappointing September of 2011, the Sox finished with a 90-72 record – a far higher perch from which to fall in one season. Which makes the 2012 squad that much more disappointing. Before the crash of September 2011, the Sox looked like a 100+ game winner. First year manager Bobby Valentine was clearly not coming back for a second bite of the apple.
Going back, the closest drop of that magnitude I can see between two seasons is 1953 (84 wins) to 1954 (69 wins) and then into the 1940’s for an even worse set of contiguous season pairings – 1942 (93 wins) to 1943 (68 wins) unless you want to include the drop between 1946 (104 wins) and 1947 (83 wins). What makes 1946 so remarkable, and what mitigates 1954 and 1943 somewhat, is that those were 154-game seasons, so the win/loss % is better for 1954 and 1943 than for 2012.
Very disappointing year indeed.
|1932||43||111||0.279||64||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League|
|1926||46||107||0.300||44½||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League|
|1925||47||105||0.309||49½||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League|
|1906||49||105||0.318||45½||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League|
|1927||51||103||0.331||59||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League|
|1930||52||102||0.337||50||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League|
|1928||57||96||0.372||43½||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League|
|1929||58||96||0.376||48||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League|
|1965||62||100||0.382||40||Did not make playoffs||9th place in American League|
|1907||59||90||0.395||32½||Did not make playoffs||7th place in American League|
|1922||61||93||0.396||33||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League|
|1923||61||91||0.401||37||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League|
|1931||62||90||0.407||45||Did not make playoffs||6th place in American League|
|1960||65||89||0.422||32||Did not make playoffs||7th place in American League|
|1933||63||86||0.423||34½||Did not make playoffs||7th place in American League|
|2012||69||93||0.426||26||Did not make playoffs||5th place in American League East|
|1924||67||87||0.435||25||Did not make playoffs||7th place in American League|
|1966||72||90||0.444||26||Did not make playoffs||9th place in American League|
|1964||72||90||0.444||27||Did not make playoffs||7th place in American League|
|1943||68||84||0.447||29||Did not make playoffs||7th place in American League|
|1954||69||85||0.448||42||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|1992||73||89||0.450||23||Did not make playoffs||Last place in American League East|
|1945||71||83||0.461||17½||Did not make playoffs||7th place in American League|
|1994[d]||54||61||0.469||17||Playoffs cancelled.||5th place in American League East|
|1961||76||86||0.469||33||Did not make playoffs||6th place in American League|
|1920||72||81||0.470||25½||Did not make playoffs||5th place in American League|
|1963||76||85||0.472||28||Did not make playoffs||7th place in American League|
|1962||76||84||0.475||19||Did not make playoffs||8th place in American League|
|1997||78||84||0.481||20||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League East|
|1987||78||84||0.481||20||Did not make playoffs||5th place in American League East|
|1983||78||84||0.481||20||Did not make playoffs||6th place in American League East|
|1936||74||80||0.481||28½||Did not make playoffs||6th place in American League|
|1919||66||71||0.481||20½||Did not make playoffs||6th place in American League|
|1959||75||79||0.487||19||Did not make playoffs||5th place in American League|
|1921||75||79||0.487||23½||Did not make playoffs||5th place in American League|
|1908||75||79||0.487||15½||Did not make playoffs||5th place in American League|
|1993||80||82||0.493||15||Did not make playoffs||5th place in American League East|
|1952||76||78||0.493||19||Did not make playoffs||6th place in American League|
|1985||81||81||0.500||18½||Did not make playoffs||6th place in American League East|
|1944||77||77||0.500||12||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|1934||76||76||0.500||24||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|2001||82||79||0.509||13½||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League East|
|1911||78||75||0.509||24||Did not make playoffs||Tied for 4th place in American League|
|1935||78||75||0.510||16||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|1989||83||79||0.512||6||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|1976||83||79||0.512||15½||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|1958||79||75||0.512||13||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League|
|1905||78||74||0.513||16||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|1991||84||78||0.518||7||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League East|
|1980||83||77||0.518||19||Did not make playoffs||5th place in American League East|
|1974||84||78||0.518||7||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|2000||85||77||0.524||2½||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League East|
|1996||85||77||0.524||7||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|1971||85||77||0.524||18||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|1937||80||72||0.526||21||Did not make playoffs||5th place in American League|
|1913||79||71||0.526||15½||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|1910||81||72||0.529||22½||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|2006||86||76||0.530||11||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|1984||86||76||0.530||18||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League East|
|1968||86||76||0.530||17||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League|
|1957||82||72||0.532||16||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League|
|1940||82||72||0.532||8||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|1981[c]||59||49||0.535||2½||Did not make playoffs||5th place in American League East|
|1970||87||75||0.537||21||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|1969||87||75||0.537||22||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|1947||83||71||0.538||14||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League|
|1990||88||74||0.543||—||Lost ALCS to Oakland||1st place in American League East|
|1956||84||70||0.545||13||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|1955||84||70||0.545||12||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|1941||84||70||0.545||17||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League|
|1972||85||70||0.548||½||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League East|
|2010||89||73||0.549||7||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|1988||89||73||0.549||—||Lost ALCS to Oakland||1st place in American League East|
|1982||89||73||0.549||6||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|1973||89||73||0.549||8||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League East|
|1953||84||69||0.549||16||Did not make playoffs||4th place in American League|
|2011||90||72||0.556||7||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|1902||77||60||0.562||6½||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League|
|1951||87||67||0.564||11||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League|
|1998||92||70||0.567||22||Lost ALDS to Cleveland||2nd place in American League East (Wild card)|
|1967||92||70||0.567||—||Lost World Series to St. Louis||1st place in American League|
|1979||91||69||0.568||11½||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League East|
|2002||93||69||0.574||10½||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League East|
|1999||94||68||0.580||4||Lost ALCS to New York||2nd place in American League East (Wild card)|
|1901||79||57||0.580||4||Did not make playoffs||2nd place, behind the Detroit Tigers|
|1909||88||63||0.582||9½||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League|
|2009||95||67||0.586||8||Lost ALDS to Los Angeles||2nd place in American League East (Wild Card)|
|2008||95||67||0.586||2||Lost ALCS to Tampa Bay||2nd place in American League East (Wild Card)|
|2005||95||67||0.586||—[e]||Lost ALDS to Chicago||2nd place in American League East (Wild card)|
|2003||95||67||0.586||6||Lost ALCS to New York||2nd place in American League East (Wild card)|
|1939||89||62||0.589||17||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League|
|1986||95||66||0.590||—||Lost World Series to New York||1st place in American League East|
|1916||91||63||0.590||—||Won World Series||1st place in American League|
|1938||88||61||0.591||9½||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League|
|2007||96||66||0.592||—||Won World Series||1st place in American League East|
|1917||90||62||0.592||9||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League|
|1975||95||65||0.593||—||Lost World Series to Cincinnati||1st place in American League East|
|1914||91||62||0.594||8½||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League|
|1918||75||51||0.595||—||Won World Series||1st place in American League|
|1995||86||58||0.597||—||Lost ALDS to Cleveland||1st place in American League East|
|1977||97||64||0.602||2½||Did not make playoffs||Tied for 2nd place in American League East|
|2004||98||64||0.605||3||Won World Series||2nd place in American League East (Wild card)|
|1978||99||64||0.607||1||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League East|
|1950||94||60||0.610||4||Did not make playoffs||3rd place in American League|
|1942||93||59||0.611||9||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League|
|1904||95||59||0.616||—||World Series canceled[b]||1st place in American League|
|1948||96||59||0.619||1||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League|
|1949||96||58||0.623||1||Did not make playoffs||2nd place in American League|
|1903||91||47||0.659||—||Won World Series||1st place in American League|
|1915||101||50||0.668||—||Won World Series||1st place in American League|
|1946||104||50||0.675||—||Lost in World Series to St. Louis||1st place in American League|
|1912||105||47||0.690||—||Won World Series||1st place in American League|
One of the most intuitive aspects of the game of baseball is the concept of ‘Batting Average.’ It’s as simple and intuitive as the game itself: Number of Hits divided by the number of At-Bats. It’s a serviceable construct of measuring a batters’ hitting prowess.
One of the curious things about “batting average” is that while it’s quite possibly the most intuitive measurement in the game of baseball, and hence it was one of the first measurements of the game, it wasn’t created until baseball had been organized for almost two decades.
Harry Chadwick, a Britton who found himself enamored by early baseball in the 1850’s while he was covering cricket as a journalist.# Chadwick came to develop the first baseball box score and edited theThe Beadle Baseball Player the first baseball guide for public consumption.# He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938 by the veteran’s committee.
Growing up in the late 20th Century, batting average has always been that hits/at-bats ratio and has always been reported to the thousandths decimal place. It feels so completely intuitive and so perfect for the game. However, as intuitive as it may be, it relies on two other statistics which had to be developed first – “hits” and “at-bats.” The elemental nature of these statistics reveal how far the game has come, and how non-intuitive the measurements of the game are.
When the Batting Average was formally adopted in 1876, it took the form of the statistic we know today, however prior to being formally adopted, it was actually a measurement of the number of hits per game. Of course the definition of these elemental statistics have changed and have therefore influenced the measurement of a batting average: for instance, for a year in the late 1800’s, bases-on-balls were counted as hits and plate appearances, which had the effect of driving up batting averages for that year – many up near .500 – and it was discontinued for the following season.# Increase the number of hits to plate appearances using a 1:1 ratio and you’re going to increase batting average, even though it does not reflect the batter’s skill at hitting. The idea, however, was to measure what was going on at plate appearances. Of course, at the time, it took 5-balls to receive a base-on-balls and 4-strikes to strike out.#
Consider the work involved in building the game we know today, a game that is ever more statistically oriented – particularly with the advent of ever faster computers – and it just doesn’t seem as intuitive. The builders of baseball didn’t know what they should be measuring, but they knew the game could be quantified. That’s the intuitive part of the game – it can be quantified, but figuring out how or what to measure is the difficult part.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Chadwick_(writer) retrieved on 10/10/2010
http://www.ulib.niu.edu/badndp/chadwick_henry.html retrieved on 10/10/2010
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batting_average retrieved 10/10/2010
http://everything2.com/title/Evolution+of+pitching+rules retrieved 10/10/2010
http://www.cosmicbaseball.com/bstats17.html retrieved 10/10/2010
In an age where “epic” has come to mean something quite clearly less than its formal definition – it now means a fantastic night out as opposed to a civilization defining moment – indicating a societal disconnect with the past, our professional sports constantly remind us of their respective histories and where the current day matches up. We look to ritual and history to compare our place in the world and to provide reassurance of lasting importance.
Lord Stanley’s Cup is the oldest trophy in North American sport, dating back to 1892, predating even the current National Hockey League (NHL) the league which awards it to its champion. The NHL markets it’s “Original Six” as the foundation of the league that today numbers 30 teams, in such far flung locations as Anaheim, California and Charlotte, North Carolina. The National Football League ensures we know just how many Super Bowls have been played by adding Roman numeral nomenclature to each game. The crests of MLB’s National League prominently displays the year “1876” as a reminder of its founding.
It becomes a means by which each game reassures us that they have a foundation and creates an expectation of its continued existence. The period of time to which the “Original Six” refers was a time of stability in the NHL, the longest period of stability in the league’s existence. No team folded, relocated, changed its name. With the expansion of the league in 1967, the landscape of the game changed ‘” the league doubled in size ‘” and by the early 1970s, some of those expansion teams began to move and financially struggle. There was a need to reassure the fan base that these transitions did not threaten the game. Note the NHL does not promote the actual age of the Stanley Cup ‘” far older than any of the “Original Six” teams – but promotes the league and the game through referencing the history of the franchises.
The Super Bowl did not begin to bear nomenclature until the third game, with the previous games retroactively numbered. The game itself was a championship between two rival leagues and it was not until a merger was planned that the number of these games would be significant – this was a game that would remain, so become invested in it. To this day, the Super Bowl represents the National Football League, a league with a history of team movement, bankruptcy, and failed franchises with little by way of stability. The “big game” is the history upon which the NFL predominantly relies although it protects its history where that history is important: When the Cleveland Browns pulled up stakes to move to Baltimore, the city kept the name “Browns” for a future incarnation of the team; Thanksgiving Day games are still played in Detroit and Dallas every year because that is where they have always been played, regardless of how good or bad either the Lions or Cowboys are. The Detroit Thanksgiving Day game reaches back to the founding of the league, demonstrating the importance of ritual and history.
Professional baseball in the United States needs little overt reference to history ‘” until the league expanded in the 1960’s, the two leagues remained stable over 60 years. There was no question the time honored game would remain. There is no overt reference to the number of World Series that have been played ‘” it’s always been a part of the American landscape. Almost to the point where the games history and ritual becomes a hindrance to modernization ‘” when the league announced a plan to include advertising for a Spider-Man movie on the bases in 2004, a controversy erupted. Nothing had ever been displayed on the bases themselves. The game itself is steeped in history.
We compare records, review historic trends, and measure our current players and teams against those which have come before. It doesn’t matter that two of the “Original Six” have won the Stanley Cup only once since 1993. What matters is that the framework and context is set such that we can refer to that history and to hold onto it. It matters that we can look back at the New England Patriots chasing a “perfect season” and compare their run to that of the 1972 Miami Dolphins. It matters that when we hunker down in mid-winter to watch the “Big Game” that there have been some 40-odd contests which have come before, because we know we’ll be right back here next year at about the same time.
According to the Social Security Administration, over the last 100-some odd years, the average first name has been 6-letters long. The top 500-websites have URL’s (the domain name) averaging 6-characters. 6, it would seem, is the magnetic north of what we consider the optimal length of name (although the average domain is 11-characters). So what is the average length of last name? Interestingly enough, despite having Social Security information since the 1930’s, an explosion of data captured from IT departments from registered users, and the hyperactive data collection of our search engines, there does not seem to be any official statistics on the US average of last name length.
According to a website that specializes in such information, the longest personal full name ever used “Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff,” which tops out at some 746-letters. It seems Mr. “Wolfe+585” was most notable for having had that name.
Sport is really my interest, not onomastics, and so after watching Clay Buccholz of the Boston Red Sox pitch to his catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and deciding that was likely one of the longest pairing of names between pitcher/catcher batteries, the question had to be asked — “What are the longest names in sport?”
“Salty,” as he is called, and William Van Landingham, former pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, share the record for the longest names in Major League Baseball (NHL) history at 20-characters. Imagine a battery of Van Landingham and Saltalamacchia. In addition to the length of his full name, Van Landingham also has the distinction of being one half of the longest pairing of combined names of two starting pitchers in history with his opponent on May 29, 1996 Jason Isringhausen. Note Saltalamacchia’s first name is 6-letters: dead average. As an aside, the shortest name in MLB history is Ed Ott of the Pittsburgh Pirates and California Angels. Ott’s name is not a shortened form of “Edward,’ his given name is actually “Ed.’
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond of the New Jersey Devils holds the record for the longest name in the history of the National Hockey League (NHL) with 26-characters, also likely holding the record for the number of hyphens in one name as well. The National Football League’s (NFL) record holder also has 26-characters, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie of the Arizona Cardinals.
By far, the longest name belonging to a professional athlete is 49-characters. Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo. The giant from the Congo is 7’2” and when last he played National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball, he was also the oldest player at the time as well as the holder of the longest name. When one wonders if his name-length record will be broken, the answer is as clear as the pronouncement of the Denver Nuggets public address system – “Not in the house of Mutombo.” In other words, not very likely anytime soon.
As of this publishing, there’s no answer for the question of average last name length on Quora:http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-average-length-of-last-names-in-the-United-States
Baby Names Length Stats: http://www.mymonthlycycles.com/babynamesl.jsp
Wikipedia Family Name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_name