Month: September 2019
No pitcher’s elbow seems safe anymore. Earlier in spring training, Yu Darvish, the perennial Cy Young contender and ace of the Texas Rangers staff, had Tommy John surgery. A week later, promising Mets pitcher Zach Wheeler was under the knife. Those guys are part of a proud lineage of phenoms whose elbows couldn’t withstand the crazy forces of pitching a baseball every five days. In the past five years, 299 major and minor league pitchers have had Tommy John surgery.1According to data collected by sabermetrician Jon Roegele. The epidemic — or whatever you want to call it — isn’t over yet.But beneath the scary headlines and the relentless drumbeat of crisis, there’s a silver lining to this rash of pitcher injuries: Having a bum elbow sure beats having a bum shoulder. Despite all the Tommy John surgeries, we’re living in a golden era of pitcher health.It’s hard not to be anxious about a crisis when you look at data about just how many ulnar collateral ligaments are being repaired through Tommy John surgery. The number of surgeries in the past 10 years is 115 percent higher than it was the 10 years prior.That’s a huge spike, yes, but the intriguing thing is what’s happened as those elbows have flared up: Shoulders haven’t. Using data from Baseball Prospectus’s injury archive (maintained by Corey Dawkins), we can chart the escalating number of elbow surgeries over the past 35 years against the number of shoulder surgeries2This graph looks at all levels of baseball (major and minor leagues) from 1981 onward.: Right around 1998, the two paths diverge, and in recent years, shoulder surgeries are down.3I believe credit for noticing this trend goes to sabermetrician Jeff Zimmerman. After a peak in 2009, when more than 40 operations were performed, shoulder surgeries seem to be fading toward extinction, with only 12 in 2014. Some have attributed the decrease in shoulder injuries to improved shoulder exercises. This explanation is consistent with the fact that shoulder injuries have disappeared for position players, as well.The decreasing trend in shoulder problems matters because shoulder surgeries are more debilitating than the now-routine Tommy John. Whereas about 80 percent of major league pitchers in my data set4The recovery rate is in agreement with other estimates from experts such as Dr. Glenn Fleisig. returned from UCL reconstruction to pitch in the majors, only 67 percent came back from shoulder surgeries. (From here on out, I’m examining only the pitchers who were major leaguers at the time of their surgery.) Whether because of recency bias or some other factor, we tend to forget once-great throwers like Johan Santana, Brandon Webb, and Kerry Wood, all of whose careers were cut short because of shoulder ailments. Wood, in particular, is an instructive example. He came back from Tommy John early in his career only to be done in by a rotator cuff surgery several years later.There are, of course, pitchers who never make it back from Tommy John, and if you are a Rangers fan, or simply a connoisseur of great pitching (as I am), even a 20 percent risk of Darvish never returning seems drastically high. But not all pitchers are the same. Using logistic regression, I examined how the risk of failing to return after UCL reconstruction varies by the characteristics of the specific pitcher in question.Starting pitchers are more likely to make it back than relievers, for example. I found that 90 percent of starters returned from Tommy John surgery, versus 74 percent of relievers. In addition, the better a pitcher is before his stint on the DL (measured by his strikeouts and walks per nine innings), the more likely he is to recover.How healthy that pitcher is before his surgery also matters. The longer the injury history, the less likely he is to successfully recuperate. All parts of a pitcher’s arm are connected in a kinetic chain. Because the pitching motion is so stressful on an arm, a problem at one end of the chain can weaken another end of it. Take Joel Zumaya, the fire-breathing reliever for the 2006 Detroit Tigers who never made it back from Tommy John. Zumaya had a long injury history, including problems in his hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. No one can say with certainty which part of his arm was the one that ruined his chances of being a major league pitcher. Darvish, on the other hand, is a relatively healthy starting pitcher with excellent strikeout and walk numbers. He should be counted as among the most likely to make it back to MLB.There’s a pessimism that follows any pitcher to the DL — that even if he does return, he will never attain his former abilities again. There’s some merit to that: While many pitchers return to their former levels of performance, some seem to lose a measure of their ability. Francisco Liriano never again matched the 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings he put up in his rookie season, which was followed by elbow surgery. But for every Liriano, there’s an Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals ace. He averaged 8.3 K/9 in the year before his surgery and posted an identical 8.3 K/9 the year after.When I looked more generally at the historical record of pitchers who had undergone Tommy John, I found that there was an evident decline in their performance. However, it was not nearly as bad as the one that followed shoulder surgeries. Shoulder problems reduce strikeouts and increase walks, both to greater degrees than similarly severe problems to a pitcher’s elbow:Tommy John recipients barely saw their strikeouts drop at all. On average, strikeouts declined by 0.06 K/9 following Tommy John surgery. Contrast that with the sufferers of shoulder surgery, who saw a substantial (and much greater) average drop in K/9 of 0.37. That’s a 5 percent decrease for those pitchers.There was a 0.18 increase in walks per nine innings (BB/9) for the Tommy John recipients, but a greater 0.33 increase in BB/9 for the shoulder surgery recipients.There’s one other noticeable effect of these surgeries: Pitchers pitch less when they come back. Both types of pitcher injuries seem to lead to a decrease in innings pitched in the three years after the surgery relative to the years before. But, again, shoulder surgeries appear to be worse than elbow surgeries.Pitchers who underwent UCL reconstruction saw their number of innings pitched decline by an average of about 53 innings in the three years following their return — no small margin. In contrast, pitchers who underwent shoulder surgery experienced a much greater decrease, notching more than 134 fewer innings.All this means that there are tons of players getting Tommy John surgery, but that’s not the worst fate for a pitcher these days. Darvish is very likely to return, likely to strike out nearly as many guys per game as he once did, but likely to do it in fewer innings. Rangers fans, you can stop worrying about Darvish’s elbow. Just keep praying his shoulder holds up.
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (March 1, 2016), we look at why basketball’s old-timers have come out against the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry, we ask whether Mark Cuban is right that the NBA should look into moving the 3-point line back, and we wonder if the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Gerrit Cole deserves a higher salary. Plus, a significant digit on how 3-point fever is taking over high school basketball.Stream the episode by clicking the play button above, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to. Links to what we discussed are here:Ian Levy breaks down just how good Curry’s season has been.On Bill Simmons’s podcast, Kirk Goldsberry advocates for a unique solution to basketball’s supposed 3-point problem.ESPN’s J.A. Adande says Oscar Robertson will never understand Curry.Rob Arthur explains why baseball’s best players are only getting younger.Maybe baseball needs a safety net for younger players, says Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron.Significant Digit: 39. That’s the percentage increase in 3-point attempts between the high-school 3-point attempt leader in 2004-05 and the leader in 2015-16.Here is a video of that leader, Ashtyn “Syrup” Bradley, shooting bombs for his high school team. His true shooting percentage this season is 57.4 percent. Embed Code If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Hot Takedown
Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion and probably the best player ever to play the game, has come out of retirement and returned to competitive chess. He has suited up for this week’s Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, a 10-player round-robin tournament that consists of relatively speedy games and features some scarily strong competition. Four of the 10 competitors are in the world’s top 10.The chess world was abuzz with news of the return; Kasparov hasn’t played competitively since 2005. But the open question was how well he could perform against the young guns across the table. Kasparov is 54 years old, after all. To get some insight into how chess skill might decline with age, I downloaded the most recent FIDE rating list, from the beginning of August. This lists ranks all the players registered with the game’s international governing body according to their Elo rating.1These lists are currently published monthly; they were published quarterly in earlier years. The end result was a data set with more than 280,000 players and their respective ratings. These are all the players currently rated by FIDE, although some of them, such as Kasparov, are flagged as “inactive,” meaning that they haven’t played a rated game in a year or more. (To estimate a given player’s age, we subtracted his or her birth year from 2017.) The result is shaped like a large floating apostrophe of mortality. After a steep increase in players’ early years (youth is wasted on the young), the estimated trend in ratings peaks just after age 38, before beginning a long, slow, irreversible and depressing decline (kinda like real life).But when the ratings are plotted this way, Kasparov’s outlier status becomes clear — his most recent rating, established before he retired in 2005, is 2812. If he were active in classical chess tournaments, that’d put him second in the world, behind the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen, who is 26.Another former world champion, Vladimir Kramnik, who defeated Kasparov for the title in 2000, noted in a 2015 interview that he was in his mid-20s at the time. “In fact, chess is a game for the young,” he said.As I write, Kasparov is near the bottom of the pack in St. Louis, with five draws and a loss through his first six games. Ian Nepomniachtchi, a 27-year-old Russian grandmaster, is in first place.After the first day of play, Kasparov retweeted the following:
The 2018 MLB season may not even be a month old, but it’s never too early to start overanalyzing how teams have looked so far. That’s especially true this season, when many of the clubs slated to be favorites going into the year have stumbled a bit coming out of the gate. Most of these teams will probably be fine in the end — seriously, it is still very early to know anything about how the season will play out — but just the same, it’s worth checking on which aspects of their struggles should disappear in due time and which might be cause for real anxiety.Washington Nationals (10-12)What’s gone wrong: For a team supposedly built around pitching, Washington currently ranks fifth-to-last in the National League in adjusted ERA — though it hasn’t been the fault of the Max Scherzer-led starting rotation. No, the blame rests with a bullpen that collectively boasts a 5.78 ERA and has performed even worse in clutch situations. (Witness the Nats’ epic meltdown against the Mets last Wednesday.) Some bad early-season defense isn’t helping either, and despite Bryce Harper’s raw feats of power, the offense isn’t hitting enough to make up for the 4.6 runs Washington is allowing per game.Cause for concern? Maybe. The Nats’ bullpen and defense were nothing special last season, either — they ranked 19th and 17th, respectively, in wins above replacement.1Averaging together the versions of WAR found at Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs. Closer Sean Doolittle has been fine so far, however, and setup men Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler are not as bad as they’ve looked in the early going. This lineup should get on track, too, when Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton return from injury — or when Michael Taylor and Ryan Zimmerman break out of their April slumps. (We’ve seen Zimmerman hit poorly before, but he rebounded last season and has been hitting the ball hard in 2018, despite his bad results so far.)New York Yankees (11-9)What’s gone wrong: For all their immense hype going into the season, the Yankees have been pretty “meh” starting out, scoring only 13 more runs than they’ve allowed (113 vs. 100). Prized new left fielder Giancarlo Stanton is striking out constantly, particularly in front of the home fans at Yankee Stadium, while the team’s pitching has been average at best. They’re wasting a great start to the season by shortstop Didi Gregorius; he’s looked like an MVP over the past three weeks, but the Yankees barely have a .500 record to show for it.Cause for concern? Probably not. Although Stanton is pressing at the plate like some batters have been known to do in the pressure-packed New York media market, swinging at more pitches overall and whiffing on fastballs over the plate especially, he’s simply too good a hitter to not adjust eventually. (The ball he smoked at home on Friday might be a sign of things to come.) Likewise, scuffling starters Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray should be better than the 7.22 ERA they’ve combined for so far, and a bullpen that ranked second in MLB in WAR last year is due for an improvement. Regression to the mean can work both ways, of course — Gregorius probably hasn’t fully made the leap to MVP level, for instance — but the Yankees should also benefit from better luck going forward: According to BaseRuns, which smooths out differences in the timing of offensive and defensive events, New York has been baseball’s fifth-best team so far, despite its record.Los Angeles Dodgers (10-10)What’s gone wrong: For one thing, Los Angeles’s offense is down this year, dropping from second in the NL last year to sixth in 2018, according to adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage. The Dodgers miss the production of third baseman Justin Turner, who fractured his wrist in spring training and has missed the entire season, and many of their other top hitters (Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, the now-injured Logan Forsythe, etc.) are off to subpar starts. But an even bigger problem has been L.A.’s bullpen, which ranks 22nd in WAR a year after finishing fifth. Closer Kenley Jansen, usually the best reliever on the planet, sports a 6.23 ERA, and he’s already blown twice as many saves this year as he did all of last season.2Granted, Jansen only blew one save last season. But it was in 42 chances! This year, he’s blown two in five tries.Cause for concern? Sort of. The Dodgers’ hitting issues should sort themselves out eventually — they’re still projected by FanGraphs to score the fourth-most runs per game in the NL over the entire season, and they ought to be even better than that once Turner comes back in May. The bullpen question may be longer-lasting, however, given Jansen’s struggles. Although he brushed off early concerns about his performance (and he recorded a pair of scoreless innings over the weekend), there were questions about Jansen’s velocity in the spring, which have only amplified a month into the season. According to BrooksBaseball.com, Jansen’s sinker is averaging only 93.6 mph this April, compared with 95.7 mph last April and 94.9 two Aprils ago. We know that unexplained changes in velocity may indicate the kind of injury or mechanical problem that leads to cold streaks or prolonged absences, and we also know how important Jansen was to the Dodgers’ bullpen last year (he accounted for 48 percent of their relief WAR by himself). If Jansen suffers a down season, it would seriously affect L.A.’s chances of returning to the World Series.Chicago Cubs (10-9)What’s gone wrong: The Cubs are scoring plenty and they’ve already enjoyed a few memorable moments in 2018 so far, including this ridiculous eighth-inning comeback against the Braves the Saturday before last. But their starting pitching and defense — i.e., the twin cornerstones of Chicago’s 2016 World Series run — have been surprisingly mediocre thus far. Although veteran lefty Jon Lester has basically been his usual solid self, none of the other rotation members have lived up to their previous track records, from club mainstay Kyle Hendricks to newcomers Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood and second-year Cub Jose Quintana. And if Cub pitchers used to generate easily fieldable balls in play, that’s no longer the case: The team is below average in defensive efficiency and ordinary in various other fielding metrics. (When even Jason Heyward is showing up as a negative in the field, your defense has problems.)Cause for concern? Defensively, not really. Heyward may have lost a step in the field — which is worth keeping an eye on — but Chicago started slow on defense last season, too. They eventually managed to finish near the top of the advanced-metric leaderboards when all was said and done. But there might be real cause for concern in the subpar performance of the Cubs’ rotation, even after taking defense out of the equation. Chicago’s starters rank seventh-worst in fielding-independent pitching so far this season, continuing a three-year slide from fourth-best in 2016 to 10th-best last year, and now 24th-best in 2018. The optimist’s case is that this group is too talented to keep pitching so poorly — and walking so many batters, specifically — but the Cubs will have a hard time fending off the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central (much less reclaiming their superteam status) if they don’t start getting a lot more out of their rotation soon.
OSU football coach Urban Meyer high-fives fans as the team enters Ohio Stadium for the team’s game against Michigan on Nov. 26. The Buckeyes won 30-27. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo Editor The Ohio State Buckeyes game against the Michigan Wolverines took two overtime periods for a team to come out victorious. OSU junior H-back Curtis Samuel scored the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime to give the Buckeyes a 30-27 win.
Redshirt-senior left tackle Jack Mewhort blocks a defender during a game against Penn State at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 63-14.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorJunior quarterback Braxton Miller and senior running back Carlos Hyde were the offensive stars for Ohio State (8-0, 4-0) once again in the Buckeyes’ 63-14 win against Penn State (4-3, 1-2). However, five players who, on paper, appear to have made less of a dent in the win, also played a crucial role in OSU’s 686-yard offensive performance against the Nittany Lions. So well, in fact, that even a former Buckeye was impressed.Miller (252 passing yards, 68 rushing yards) and Hyde (147 rushing yards) accounted for 467 yards, or 68.1 percent, of OSU’s total offense in the victory.But in order to achieve that success, they needed effective blocking from the offensive line.The starting five offensive linemen — redshirt-senior left tackle Jack Mewhort, senior left guard Andrew Norwell, redshirt-senior center Corey Linsley, redshirt-senior right guard Marcus Hall and sophomore right tackle Taylor Decker — were praised by their coaches and teammates following Saturday’s win.“I see an offensive line that’s one of the best in the country,” coach Urban Meyer said during a post-game press conference. “I’ll take my offensive line anywhere. Those guys are playing very well.”That offensive line led an effort that amassed 32 first downs, averaged 8.9 yard gains per offensive play and converted seven of 10 third downs.“Offensive line did a hell of a job,” Miller said of the unit’s performance Saturday.Miller said the offensive line was “aggressive throughout the week of practice,” and offensive line coach Ed Warinner said the way OSU’s offensive linemen have practiced has led to their success this season.“When you practice the same way — high level — your fundamentals get better, your technique, your understanding and just the whole cohesiveness up front,” Warinner said.Through its first eight games, the OSU offense ranks eighth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total offense with an average of 517.3 yards per game and fifth nationally with a average 47.3 points scored per game.That offensive success has been a team effort, Warinner said.“(The offense) has the ability to horizontally stretch the field in the run game, and we do it in the pass game, and then vertically stretch you and so we’re putting defenses in a bind,” Warinner said. “They don’t know exactly where to try to load their defense. When you have good players at a lot of positions playing at a high level, which we do right now at receiver, quarterback, running back, O-line, tight end … we can be explosive. We are an explosive outfit right now.”The OSU rushing offense ranks ninth nationally with an average of 295.6 rushing yards per game. Miller said the offensive line’s ability to block on the perimeter has played a key role in OSU’s success running the ball, much like Hall did on a Miller scramble early in the game where he leveled a Penn State defender.“Getting guys the ball on the outside frees up the inside,” Miller said.Warinner said OSU’s success as a rushing offense has been a “credit to a lot of people.”“Running the football is important to us as a program, as a team,” Warinner said. “So that makes it important to the running backs, the O-line and all perimeter guys as well. And then we have the ability to run the ball outside as well as inside and we’re throwing the ball well so we’re just keeping people off-balance.”Norwell said the offensive linemen have “great chemistry” with one another.“We’re all on the same page,” Norwell said. “Coach Meyer knows how many reps we need to get in practice, and we just went hard every play.”One reason for that chemistry might be the experience the offensive linemen have with playing with one another. Mewhort and Norwell are both third-year starters on the offensive line. Hall came into the season with 18 career starts, while Linsley is also a second-year starter.Warinner said he thinks the experience of the offensive line has helped that unit play as well as they have this season.“That it’s helped us a lot, because we can lean on those guys when we need to and they can be productive when they need to,” Warinner said.Warinner said Decker, the only new starter on the offensive line, has fit in well.“His talent level is really high,” Warinner said. “Experience and confidence were the two things he lacked. Now that he’s played eight games and played well these last three or four games, his confidence level is high along with talent level.”Mewhort, Norwell, Linsley, Hall and Decker have each started all eight games for the Buckeyes this season, but with the result of Saturday’s game well in hand by the middle of the third quarter, OSU was able to get playing time for many of its backups, including the offensive line. Warinner said there were 11 offensive linemen in total who received playing time for the OSU offense Saturday.Current OSU coaches and players are not the only Buckeyes impressed by the play of OSU’s offensive line this season. Orlando Pace, who played left tackle at OSU from 1994-96 and was honored on the field during Saturday’s game for being selected to the College Football Hall of Fame, said the OSU offensive line plays “really well together as a unit.”“Those guys, they do a great job in protecting Braxton, and they run the ball well,” Pace said at halftime Saturday.Pace said he expects Mewhort to follow in his footsteps from being an OSU left tackle to playing in the NFL, in which Pace played for 13 seasons.“You’re definitely going to see him play on Sundays,” Pace said. “He moves well, footwork and hand placement and all those things, I think he’ll be fine.”OSU will be looking for another impressive effort from its offensive line when it plays Purdue (1-6, 0-3) Saturday at noon in West Lafayette, Ind.
Former Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis played eight seasons in the NFL. Credit: Courtesy of TNSOne of the most decorated linebackers in the history of the Ohio State football program has retired from the NFL.James Laurinaitis, who played for the Buckeyes from 2005-2008, played in the NFL for eight seasons — seven years for the St. Louis Rams and last season with the New Orleans Saints.Throughout his NFL-tenure, Laurinaitis totaled 869 tackles, 16.5 sacks and picked off 10 passes. A two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and 2007 Butkus Award winner, Laurinaitis was selected by the Rams with the 35th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.Laurinaitis became the Rams all-time leader in tackles in 2015 with 852.pic.twitter.com/6kwiNi6UzM— James Laurinaitis (@JLaurinaitis55) April 11, 2017
Ohio State senior forward Jae’Sean Tate (1) blocks a shot in the first half of the game against Penn State on Jan. 25 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorPenn State has been the kryptonite for No. 16 Ohio State the entire season. It has accounted for two of the Buckeyes’ three total losses in conference play and is the main reason the Buckeyes did not capture the regular-season Big Ten title.After the Nittany Lions lost 76-64 to Nebraska on Sunday, they could now be in a position to face Ohio State once again. The Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament and will face the winner of the No. 7 Penn State and No. 10 Northwestern matchup in the third round of the bracket at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Madison Square Garden in New York City.Penn State first won 82-79 on a near-half-court, buzzer-beating shot from guard Tony Carr in Columbus on Jan. 25, and then throttled the Buckeyes 79-56 in State College, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 15.Ohio State faced Northwestern just once this season and survived a late push by the Wildcats to win 71-65 on Jan. 17.
Warwick Music Group has also developed a plastic trumpet, the pTrumpet, along with a pBone mini for small children.Experts say that children who have early exposure to musical instruments develop areas of the brain that relate to social, language and reasoning skills, as well as memory. Early exposure to an instrument can also help develop a child’s sensory and fine motor skills, encourage self-expression and stimulate creativity.Gareth Haines, managing director of Normans Musical Instruments, which supplies instruments to schools, said that the revival in the fortunes of the trombone and brass instruments as a whole was “remarkable”.“This is an innovation in technology that has had a huge impact – transforming interest in the playing of brass,” he said.“It is re-invigorating the trombone in what is still generally a declining orchestral instrument market and is a great example of how innovation can create greater interest than any ‘play music’ initiative, no matter how important those are.” Liam Kirkman, president of the British Trombone Society, said: “The trombone is notoriously easy to damage – but you can throw pBone across the floor, pick it up and simply play!“The problem we have had in the past is getting youngsters to take an interest. They want the wow factor. Kids need a quick fix – and that’s where the plastic trombone comes in. It is instantlyappealing with its bright colours – far more attractive than being presented with some barnacle encrusted rusty old brass thing.”The pBOne was developed by the Warwick Music Group, who estimate the instrument’s affordability is the reason for a 15 per cent increase on worldwide sales of trombones in the past three years.Steven Greenall, chief executive of Warwick Music Group – and a trombonist since the age of nine – said:“Music should be fun. Children love the colours, the fact that the instrument is lightweight – and that it is not prone to bumps and scrapes. And music teachers love them too. They’re easy to maintain and store. You can carry 20 instruments into a classroom at a time – try doing that with a brass instrument! Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. However, with sales of more than 150,000 since the plastic trombone – called the pBone – was launched in 2010, musicians are talking of a significant revival of the instrument.So popular is the new plastic version, which starts at £125, that even professional musicians, including pop stars, have taken to using it on stage and in recordings.Mumford & Sons used a pBone on stage at Glastonbury in 2013, during a performance of With A Little Help From My Friends; it was used among the backing instruments for Britain’s Got Talent 2016 finalist Wayne Woodward and is played by the US duo Karmin.Jiggs Whigham, conductor of the BBC Big Band, who also played with the Genn Miller Big Band, has also backed the plastic trombone as ideal for beginners. It may be one of the most impressive of brass instruments – once guaranteed to get a party swinging – but just over a decade ago the trombone was on the verge of disappearing from the nation’s musical repertoire.Such was the cost of buying the instrument that all but the most dedicated enthusiast could afford or justify the expense.But thanks to the development of a cheap, plastic version of the instrument it appears the trombone is now back in vogue.In 2002 the National Foundation for Youth Music warned that the had been a “frightening” fall in the number of young people learning to play the trombone, with potential players put off by prices ranging from £250 to £1,000. This is an innovation in technology that has had a huge impact – transforming interest in the playing of brassGareth Haines, managing director of Normans Musical Instruments Mumford and Sons used a plastic trombone in one of their performances Credit:YouTube Plastic trombones have attracted a following
However, there are plenty of examples of genuine mistake-riddled coins fetching large amounts – eBay also carries a 1998 £2 for £225, and another from 2011 for £250, while a 2014 £2 commemorative Lord Kitchener coin is thought to be worth at least £400.These figures are themselves dwarfed by the £625 needed to buy one of the Mint’s 2017 Silver Proof Coin sets, with just 1,500 made, while the most expensive sale at auction was of a 700-year-old gold Edward III coin, one of only three known to exist, which sold for more than £5 million in 2006. Alex Cassidy, from GoCompare’s Coining It In, told The Mirror that the new £1 coin’s bi-metallic nature, with an outer gold-coloured nickel-brass band and inner silver-coloured cupro-nickel disc, left the potential for errors during the die-cutting process. Could your £1 be valuable?Credit:Jack Taylor/Getty “Punters should pay attention to both the floral crown on the reverse side for any rotations, as well as the Queen’s head, which should sit directly above the new bevelled edge,” he said.Nor should anyone be too hasty in exchanging their old pound coins before they cease to be legal tender on Oct 15.Many coin enthusiasts will be hoping to complete their collection of all 24 of the old designs, and the Edinburgh £1 dating from 2011 is already achieving £10 to £15 on eBay. As searches go, it is almost perfectly analogous to hunting for the proverbial needle in a haystack.With around 1.7 billion £1 coins currently in circulation, including the “old” pound coin, it might be thought that the chances of finding a rare example worth more than, well, £1 were infinitesimally small.Yet rare, potentially valuable new one-pound coins certainly do exist, and the evidence is on eBay. The new £1 coin has just come into circulationCredit:David Rose Of greatest interest to budding numismatists and shameless profiteers alike are the 200,000 “dummy” coins distributed to major retailers and businesses months before the official roll-out date of March 28 to enable them to recalibrate coin-handling machinery well in advance.The Mint may have described these “trial” stamped coins as of “no redeemable value”, but they are changing hands for serious sums. Bidding online appears to start somewhere between £150 and £250.Ebay is also full of what look suspiciously like perfectly normal new £1 coins being sold at inflated prices. Their owners attribute the value to their bearing the “wrong” date. As well as the trial coin for the new £1 piece, which does not appear to carry any of the filigree bevelling and holographic imaging that has led the official version to be dubbed “the most secure circulating coin in the world”, collectors have also been advised to be on the lookout for inadvertent errors that have crept into the real thing. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.