Bottom Line: Major league baseball (MLB) players had lower death rates overall and from many underlying causes of death compared with men in the general U.S. population, differences that could be associated in part with the physical fitness required for their jobs. This research letter reports on an analysis of mortality rates among 10,451 baseball players who debuted in the MLB from 1906 through 2006, including differences in mortality rates by position and career length. Having a longer playing career was associated with a lower rate of cardiovascular-related death and an increased rate of cancer deaths. Limitations of the study include an inability to account for physical activity, head injuries and other environmental or genetic factors.
Authors: Marc G. Weisskopf, Ph.D., Sc.D., Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, and coauthors
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