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Baseball Hitting Famine 1968 This 1968 issue of Sports Illustrated discussed the 'hitting famine' in Major League Baseball. The offensive dearth reached its depths during the 1968 season, which baseball historians rightfully call 'the year of the pitcher.' That season Don Drysdale set a new record for consecutive shutout innings pitched. Bob Gibson's ERA was a ridiculous 1.12. Carl Yastrzemski won the American League batting title with a mere .301 average. The decline in offense can be traced back to 1962 when MLB allowed teams to raise the pitching mound beyond its rulebook height of 15 inches, if they so desired. (It was done as a knee-jerk reponse to the the big home run season of 1961.) However, the new height of the mound gave the pitchers a huge edge. The mound at Dodger Stadium was reputedly 20 inches high in the heyday of Sandy Koufax and Drysdale. The decline in offense adversely affected attendance. The hitting famine era ended when the pitcher's mound was reduced to its modern height of ten inches in 1969.
Tags: baseball  hitting  famine 
Added: 7th December 2009
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Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2009-12-07 
Some of the cut-and-paste photos that appeared on magazine covers in the 1960s and 1970s really stand out today--for looking chintzy.
Posted by: Classico on 2009-12-07 
Being the old schooler that I am, the height should be 15'' and not one micro inch less.

We have far too much offense in the game today with the lower mound, smaller K zone, fences brought in, livelier ball, and better grade of wood in the bats. I would bring back those old ways and it would be a far better game.

And for those who think there wasn't quite enough offense, watch a replay of the 1968 World Series with the Cardinals vs the Tigers. That was baseball at its finest.

By the way, the average length of a game was only 2 hours. That and the 4 hour double headers were part of the great fun back then.
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2009-12-07 
I'm with you, Classico!

Games are too long because the offense has all the advantages. I have no objections to a higher pitching mound.

If I were MLB commissioner (a job that will apparently be available after 2012), I'd insist that the top of the strike zone be raised to the armpits--as it was for decades. Any ump who didn't call it that way would be sent to the minors until he did. I'd also ditch the DH rule in the AL. It artificially increases offense while taking away a significant amount of baseball strategy.

Other ways to speed up games I'd like to see:

Catchers can only make one trip to the mound per inning.

Reduce the number of times a batter is allowed to step out of the box during an at-bat.

Managers should not be allowed to enter the field of play to argue judgment calls--only to get rules situations explained.

Anyone else have suggestions?
Posted by: Classico on 2009-12-08 
Great comments, Lava.

The backstop in today's game is too close. In the old days it was further back and catchers easily caught many foul balls. Ditto for the sideline seating: it was further back in the old days and enabled fielders to catch more foul balls which sped up the game.

This also insures fan safety as their promximity to the field of play is VERY dangerous. As a former player/coach myself, I would NEVER take a sideline seat because I know of the severe risk one takes by sitting there.

The balk rule should be relaxed as it was in the 60s. Bat weight should be at least 32 oz and the visible core at the top banned. This will slow down bat speed which enables so many foul balls nowadays. Lastly, the ball should not be as tight as it is today. It should be to the degree it was in the 60s.

By the way, did you see the old photos of the Negro Leagues in the KC Star? Great stuff:


http://www.kansascity.com/937/gallery/1523776.html

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