Fuel for the McGwire Fire
Michael R. Dickman
Tue Sep 15 09:41:22 CDT 1998
Every thing Mark says below is true, but he leaves out some of the factors that cause it to be harder to hit home runs today than in the past. To wit:
1. The decline of racism (see there is a topic related angle) Today pitchers are drawn from all races,colors creeds and national origin. This increases the tallant pool to a remarkable degree and at least partially over comes the dilition of the pitching pool due to expansion argument
2. Night baseball. No matter how good the lights are the sun is better. If you check day games vs night games hitters hit the ball more often in day games than they do in night games. Up untill the '70's most games were day games. Now most games are night games, thus it is harder tohit home runs than it used tobe.
3. The rise of the relief pitcher. Used to be, back in the day, that a pitcher went all nine innigs. now batter have to face a fresh different pitcher every couple of innings. Gone are the days when a hitter could time out a pitcher over several at bats and slam him in late innings!
4. Bigger parks. look at the dimensionof some of those old parks! They were called band boxes for a reason! Stadiums are measurably bigger today than they were in the 20's 30's, 40's, and 50's.
Over all, it is easier to hit home runs than say the 80's but we might be back to the 20's and 30's
From: WHITNEMR at MORRISVILLE.EDU[SMTP:WHITNEMR at MORRISVILLE.EDU]
Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 1998 9:59 AM
To: EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Fuel for the McGwire Fire
Originally, I was simply making some observations about some of the argument
structure presented in defense of one Mr. Mark McGwire. Who's he play for
again? The Susquehanna Sacred Cows? :P Anyway, since many lives seem sooo
dependant on this "record" I thought some actual information might be
interesting. I ran across some interesting items in the Syracuse Post-Standard
This info came from an article under the headline: HITTERS BENEFIT BY JUICED
BASEBALLS. Apparently, (according to the article) baseballs have been "juiced"
since the 1994 Baseball strike to try and re-interest fans in the game (of course
you still see droves of empty seats whenever there's a shot of the stands). Anyway,
the article points out the following:
In 1920, Babe Ruth became the first man to hit 50 home runs (54) in a season.
In 1930, Hack Wilson hit 56.
In 1927, Ruth set the record (60) that stood for 34 years.
In 70 years, concluding with the 1980's there were only 17 50-home run seasons.
There were 4 in the 1920's (all Ruth), so the other 13 were spread out over
60 years. Roger Maris, of course, set the new record of 61.
In 1994 there was the strike, the cancellation of the World Series, and a massive
decline in interest in the game (according to the article). Since then:
Albert Bell hit 50 home runs in 1995, which wasn't even a full season (strike wasn't
settled until April)
In 1996, there were two 50-home run hitters.
In 1997, there were also two 50-home run hitters.
This year, for the first time ever, there are three 50-home run hitters.
* Among those three, two are over 60, and may reach 70 before the season is over.
There is the diluted pitching from expansion angle, AND that the strike zone has
shrunk to about 18 inches.
1996: a record 4,962 home runs
1997: 4,640 home runs
1998: so far, 4,551 ( afew more by now)
The night McGwire broke the record - 43 home runs were hit in 13 games
Greg Vaughn (average player) has already hit 48 home runs this season. Hank Aaron's
season HIGH was 47.
Nomar Garciaparra, a 175 pound shortstop who TOTALED 25 home runs in the Minor
Leagues in more than 800 at bats over THREE years, has already started his two
years in the majors with over 30 home runs in each season.
Yeah, yeah, McGwire still has to hit the ball. And, hitting the ball is hard. BUT,
it sure helps when once you've hit that ball, it goes WAYYYYY farther than it used
to. Some of us run surveys. Can we say "validity?"
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