View Poll Results: Was a more lively ball introduced in 1919?

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  • Yes, I believe a livlier ball was introduced into at least one league in 1919.

    44 70.97%
  • No, I do not believe that the ball was enlivened in 1919.

    18 29.03%
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Thread: Discussion on Baseballs through the years

  1. #1
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    Discussion on Baseballs through the years

    During the debate on "Who's the Greatest NL Player Ever?", a question has broken out on whether or not a new, livlier ball was introduced into baseball for the 1919 season.

    I feel the subject deserves a separate independent debate. We can also include whether or not another juicing occurred, or not, around 1930. That would be a separate, albeit related, question. We have discussed, debated these issues before, but I feel that it is an important enough issue to give it another round. This time, I will also include a poll, to survey the members in the house to see what ratio of us believes each version. Sound cool? Hope so.

    Let the Games begin!

    Bill Burgess
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 07-09-2005 at 02:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    Cubbie,

    If I understand your position correctly, you feel that the ball was enlivened in 1911, and that at no subsequent time, neither in 1919, 1920 or sometime around 1930, was there a tampering with the ball, by the manufacturers, The Reach Company. Do I understand your position accurately?

    You feel the changes in offense can be attributed to causes other than the changing of the ball itself? Am I understanding your position clearly? If not, please state your position so we can all debate it without distortions.

    Bill

  3. #3
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    In 1909, sporting goods manufacturer A.J. Reach discovered that putting a tightly wrapped piece of cork in the center of a baseball made it more lively. The "Dead Ball Period" of baseball, which existed from the formation of the National League in 1876 until 1911 was a result of balls with almost no resiliance - they just fell dead when hit. At the turn of the century, Spalding had the contract to provide major league baseballs. Benjamin Shibe, a partner of A.J. Reach applied for and was awarded this patent in 1909. Shibe, for whom the Philadelphia Athletics stadium was originally named, also developed machinery which made possible the manufacture or standard baseballs. The cork center ball is believed to have been first used secretly in the 1910 World Series and was officially introduced in 1911. The .300 batting average rose from 8 in 1910 to 27 in 1911. This baseball heralded the homerun hitter.

    Also I believe there is a coffee table book about baseballs, I wonder what it says.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by william_burgess@usa.net
    Cubbie,

    If I understand your position correctly, you feel that the ball was enlivened in 1911, and that at no subsequent time, neither in 1919, 1920 or sometime around 1930, was there a tampering with the ball, by the manufacturers, The Reach Company. Do I understand your position accurately?

    You feel the changes in offense can be attributed to causes other than the changing of the ball itself? Am I understanding your position clearly? If not, please state your position so we can all debate it without distortions.

    Bill

    No I never said at no subsequent time was the ball changed. What i said was the ball that would fuel the modern era and end deadball was put out in 1911. The 1930 ball was obviously and I believe rather publicly changed.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubbieinexile View Post
    No I never said at no subsequent time was the ball changed. What i said was the ball that would fuel the modern era and end deadball was put out in 1911. The 1930 ball was obviously and I believe rather publicly changed.
    OK. I am merely trying to ascertain your position without distortion, so that we may proceed to debate with clarity.

    You feel that the increase in offense prior to, let's say 1927, was attributed to causes other than the actual changing of the ball, in any way?

    Do I state your beliefs accurately in that area? I'm only trying to get it right here.

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-19-2009 at 01:44 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by william_burgess@usa.net

    OK. I am merely trying to ascertain your position without distortion, so that we may proceed to debate with clarity.

    You feel that the increase in offense prior to, let's say 1927, was attributed to causes other than the actual changing of the ball, in any way?

    Do I state your beliefs accurately in that area? I'm only trying to get it right here.

    Bill

    The offense went up in the 20's because of the new ball, because pitchers were not allowed to "cheat", balls were replaced regularly, stadiums were more standard, and a pardigm shift in offensive strategy.

    All these things is why offenses in the 20's were higher then offenses in 1911 and 1912. But at its core the reason the offenses were high was because of the core of the baseball. If they had simply never changed the baseball and continued to use the type of baseball they did in say 1905 but did changed all other conditions the 20's would never look like it did. Sure offenses would go up but nothing close to what they did go too. Nor would somebody be hitting 50+ homers a year.

  7. #7
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    I had also read that the ball was enlivened in 1911. And that the reasons that offense rose after 1920 had more tro do with the outlawing of trick pitchers and putting new balls in play at a greater frequency.

    I do think the ball was tamered with in 1930, which would have been a bad year for any type of experimentation.

  8. #8
    I recently read that due to shortages during the first World War, Baseballs were made of inferior substitute materials that resulted in a less lively ball. To compensate for this the winding machines were set to wrap the twine more tightly. When the war was over and the original materials were available again, the winding machines were intentionally not reset to their pre-war settings. It was a story in the "Armchair Book of Baseball" but I don't recall the author of this particular story and I don't know if it's historically accurate.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by wamby
    I had also read that the ball was enlivened in 1911. And that the reasons that offense rose after 1920 had more tro do with the outlawing of trick pitchers and putting new balls in play at a greater frequency.

    I do think the ball was tampered with in 1930, which would have been a bad year for any type of experimentation.

    The ball was definitely changed in 1930 in the NL. Some sources say the ball was actually changed in mid season in 1929. There is no doubt the NL ball was changed in the 1930 season and then they returned to the "old" ball in 1931.

    How do we know, because the NL owners admitted that they discussed it at the winter meeting after the 1929 season. I have the article that states this in front of me at this time, from the N.Y.Times

    NL pitchers complained at the start of the 1930 season, the ball was harder to grip, the cover felt tighter and for sure the seams were lower than before.

    The NL owners admitted, they used a thinner cover in the 1930 ball and lowered the seams, the pitchers were correct.

    There was a sllight rise in some offensive stats in the AL in 1930 and the drop in the 1931 season was not that dramatic. Different story in the NL, a significant leap in 1930 and the bottom fell out in 1931 making the story about the NL going back to the "old" ball in 1931 believable.


    ---National League---------Ba.----------Slugging-----HRs--------ERA
    1928---------------------.281------------.397------610--------.399
    1929---------------------.294------------.426------754--------.471
    1930---------------------.303------------.448------892--------.497
    1931---------------------.277------------.387------493--------.386

    As I stated earlier some say the thinner cover, lower seam ball was snuck into the NL in mid season 1929 and that could be because there was a notable rise in 1929.

    One look at 1930 compared to 1931 convinces me that the owners were being truthful when they say they returned to the "old' ball in 1931. There is no way an entire league could drop off that much without some change being made, in this case a return to the "old" ball.

    That settles 1930 in the NL, no mystery the ball was made livelier with some external changes.
    Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 07-09-2005 at 07:21 PM.

  10. #10
    wamby Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by SHOELESSJOE3
    The ball was definitely changed in 1930 in the NL. Some sources say the ball was actually changed in mid season in 1929. There is no doubt the NL ball was changed in the 1930 season and then they returned to the "old" ball in 1931.
    I knew that the statistics were skewed in NL for 1930, but I don't remember ever reading that the owners had admitted to having the ball changed.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-06-2006 at 08:47 AM.

  11. #11
    wamby Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by zman
    I recently read that due to shortages during the first World War, Baseballs were made of inferior substitute materials that resulted in a less lively ball. To compensate for this the winding machines were set to wrap the twine more tightly. When the war was over and the original materials were available again, the winding machines were intentionally not reset to their pre-war settings. It was a story in the "Armchair Book of Baseball" but I don't recall the author of this particular story and I don't know if it's historically accurate.
    I waould guess that the same thing (material shortages) happened in WWII also leading to a deader ball, most likely in 1944 and 1945.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by wamby
    I knew that the statistics were skewed in NL for 1930, but I don't remember ever reading that the owners had admitted to having the ball changed.
    The article did appear in the N.Y.Times, I did make a copy of that article. In it the owners had decided(after the 1930 season) that the new ball was to lively and went back to the old ball, raising the seams and using a thicker cover. In 1931 the NL came back to the real world, you can plainly see that by the drop, drastic drop in the league offense.
    Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 07-09-2005 at 09:17 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by wamby
    I waould guess that the same thing (material shortages) happened in WWII also leading to a deader ball, most likely in 1944 and 1945.
    Also from the N.Y.Times archives. For a portion of the 1943 season, poorer quality synthetic material was used due to needs of the war effort. Offense began to drop and the idea was dropped, back to the original, the old ball, the livelier ball.

  14. #14
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    In 1943 they used a balata cork instead of a rubber core. No home runs were hit in the first 11 games. The leagues search in all their closets and warehouses to find old rubber centered balls while balls with better quality rubber cement are rushed into production. But it wasn't until after the war that baseball got its normal ball back. During the war they used something called reclaimed rubber centers which apparently according to Bureau of Standards was just as bad as the balata ball.

    Also here is what I found on the tighter wound balls after WWI.
    In April 1917, the U.S. entered World War One. As with all wars, there is always a shortage of materials. When it came to baseball, this was no exception. Since the standard yarn that was used for baseball winding was now being put to use to help the "Dough Boys keep the world safe for democracy" Baseball manufacturers had no choice but to use an inferior, cheaper yarn for the standard National and American League spheres. It was found that the inferior yarn made the baseballs even more loosely wound than before.

    To make up the difference, the machines that wound the baseballs were set so that the yarn would be wound tighter making up the difference. Here's where it starts to get interesting. The Great War ended on November 11th, 1918, but the flow of high quality raw materials back into the private sector was a slow process. High quality yarn was not made available for the 1919 season. When the baseballs made with the old, high quality yarn were finally manufactured again, there was a noticeable difference in the feel of the ball. The baseball winding machines continued to wind the yarn with the new, tighter settings. Why no one ever decided to go back to the old settings remains a mystery! But when the new "lively ball" first was shown at the end of the '19 season many pitchers became very nervous at the thought of serving up the new product!
    Cy Young commented "When I had a chance to take a gander at that lively ball shortly before the '20 season began, my first thoughts were that I was sure glad I was retired."
    As you can see the tighter wound balls were not put into play until 1920 (or if you want to be picky sometime near the end of the 1919 season), so looking at the 1919 AL as proof that the ball was enlivened holds no water. The offense in 1919 increased not because of some tighter wound ball but in all probability a shift in thinking while over in the NL they stuck to their ways for a couple of more years.


    Everything I have read and found basically starts the liveball era with the rubber core in 1911 and from there it gets revved up a notch in 1920 when they outlaw trick pitches and then replace baseballs much more frequently and wind the ball up better. But again like i said in another post the core of the lively ball era is in the core of the baseball.


    One other thing that I found interesting is that apparently in the old days the home team got to choose which kind of ball they wanted to use. If they believed they had the advantage on defense and pitching they would use a deadball where as if they believed they had the advantage on offense they could use a ball that was tighter wound. This apparently went on until 1910 when they introduced the rubber core ball. Anyone else ever hear of this.

  15. #15

    Unofficial History Timetable

    1901: All players, pitchers and position players alike, scuffed and blackened the Spalding ball. If the ball was hit into the stands, spectators would be thrown out of the park if they refuse to return the ball to play. The ball was used even after the cover tore completely off. Better defending position players are more valuable than better hitting players. Pitchers are the main attraction.
    1911: With the Reach ball, offense increased. Hitters become the main attraction. Base runnning and daring is the philosophy. Runs can now be manufactured. Players still scuffed and blackened the ball. Pitchers routinely throw at batters and many batters take advantage of this and try to get hit. The umpires will rule them out for not attempting to move away from the pitch. The game was so popular and so profitable at this period. Its hard to judge the effect in comparison to other decades; the Federal League was introduced which somewhat diluted the competition. The profitability was lost which likely introduced gimmicks. A year later, WWI diluted the talent on the field.
    1919: The war was over, the ball is said to be would better from improved manufacturing techniques developed during and immediately after the war. The hitting pilosophy was changed when Babe Ruth hit 29 HR for the Red Sox. He also started 15 games and completed 12.
    1920: Babe hit 54 HR, he is drawing crowds like never before. New philosphy. The slugger is born. Ray Chapman is killed with a pitch to the skull.
    1921: Balls are removed regularily for batters better vision and the newer balls retain their resiliancy. Pitchers throw at batters but, it is an unspoken rule not to throw at their head unless your team is hit in the head first. Hitters are searched for who have more power. Although runners are fast, they don't take the chance stealing. Manufacturing runs are reserved for the bottom half of the order. The slugger becomes the main attraction. They cut down on their swing to avoid a SO and BA are higher.
    1929: The depression brings down attendance so, just as in 1911 and 1920, it is thought that increasing offense would improve attendance. The Rabbit ball has less texture and the skin is less absorbant. The pitches are straighter, it comes off the bat faster, and bounced on the field faster. BA climb to 1893 levels.
    1931: The ball is changed again, likely not to what it was before 1929 but, remains relatively stable until 1961.
    1952: The high strike is being phased out and not called as it once was. The batter now has another advantage.
    1961: With expansion, pitching is diluted. Offense explodes to levels which concerns traditionalists. The Babe's HR record is broken. Teams score 100 runs more than the previous season.
    1962: Pitching mounds were raised to give the pitcher more of an advantage
    1969: Pitching mounds are reduced and expansion again dilutes pitching.
    1987: The ball is again changed but, noone seems to know what has changed just that it is more lively.
    1995: Baseball is barely regulated. Steroids chane baseall once again.
    Last edited by HDH; 07-10-2005 at 09:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HDH
    1901: All players, pitchers and position players alike, scuffed and blackened the Spalding ball. If the ball was hit into the stands, spectators would be thrown out of the park if they refuse to return the ball to play. The ball was used even after the cover tore completely off. Better defending position players are more valuable than better hitting players. Pitchers are the main attraction.
    you forgot the 1903 strike-count change where foul balls count as strikes

    that had a huge change in history and advantage for pitchers
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-06-2006 at 08:47 AM.

  17. #17
    As far as I can tell, there was no change in the composition of baseballs in 1919.

    As has been pointed out before, there was a change in the composition of baseballs in 1911, and this led to increased batting averages in 1911 and 1912. However, HDH, there wasn't deliberate scuffing of baseballs before 1910.

    In 1908, minor league pitcher Russ Ford threw a pitch in practice that got away and hit a cement upright. After he got the ball back, he threw another pitch which jumped about a foot. Then he noticed that the ball was roughed up by striking the upright.

    According to Ford, he didn't try to throw the scuff ball in a game until 1909, and then rapidly made the majors and became a star. However, near the end of 1912, someone figured out the secret to Ford's success, and word spread among pitchers. By 1914, everybody was using scuff balls.

    This explains why batting averages dropped from 1913 onwards. When it was decided to throw out used baseballs and make sure the ball in play was clean, batting averages rebounded.

    Here are the top three MLB batting averages for 1911-14 and 1919-22.

    1911: Cobb .420, Jackson .408, Crawford .378
    1912: Cobb .409, Jackson .395, Speaker .383
    1913: Cobb .390, Jackson .373, Speaker .363
    1914: Kauff .370 (FL), Cobb .368, Evans .348 (FL), Speaker and Jackson .338

    (1915-1918: Scuff ball paradise years.)

    1919: Cobb .384, Veach .355, Sisler .352
    1920: Sisler .407, Speaker .388, Jackson .382
    1921: Hornsby .397, Heilmann .394, Cobb .389
    1922: Sisler .420, Hornsby .401, Cobb .401

    The return to unscuffed baseballs is enough to explain the change in batting averages.

    -----

    The other main argument for the 1919 date was that home runs increased after that point. From 1919 to 1921, there's a climb in the number of home runs hit. However, Ruth set the standard, and other players start to catch up to him by 1922.

    Here's the top two in home runs hit, 1919 to 1922, by season.

    1919:
    Ruth 29
    Gavvy Cravath 12

    1920:
    Ruth 54
    George Sisler 19

    1921:
    Ruth 59
    Bob Meusel, Ken Williams 24

    1922:
    Hornsby 42
    Ken Williams 39
    (Ruth played in 110 games, but still managed 35 HRs)

    Sisler's 19 in 1920 is high, but not excessively so; Frank Schulte hit 21 HRs in 1911.

    There is an increase in home runs hit after 1919. However, IF the lively ball was the reason for the increase, then why was Babe Ruth the ONLY person hitting all those home runs from 1919 to 1921? We don't see ONLY one person hitting high batting averages during those years.

    There's one difference between Ruth and all those other hitters: Ruth came up to the major leagues as a PITCHER, not a position player. Hitters in the 1910s were taught not to hit for power, and not to uppercut the ball. The conventional wisdom was that you might get a couple more home runs, but you'll also get oodles of outs from fly balls, and that'll end up hurting the team.

    Ruth did was permitted to keep the uppercut and hit for power. He was a pitcher, and therefore working with him on his hitting wasn't considered worthwhile. Nobody told him NOT to hit for power. Then, just before the 1918 season, the Red Sox lost two regular outfielders, and they had to fill the holes. Ruth could hit, so they moved him to the outfield.

    What Ruth could now demonstrate was that, if you hit for power and uppercut the ball, you'll get oodles of home runs, but only a few more outs from fly balls, and that helps the team.

    It took some time for people to change their hitting styles. Ken Williams was a fringe major leaguer before 1920, so he had nothing to lose. But among established players, there weren't that many who became power hitters - Cy Williams, Rogers Hornsby, and Oscar Charleston (in the Negro Leagues) were about it. Once players were taught that they could hit for power and uppercut the ball, we get Gehrig, Foxx, Ott, Wilson, and others - but they all came along after Ruth had been hitting HRs for years.

    -----

    It seems that the increase in offense was after 1919 was due to:
    (a) the end of the scuff ball, and
    (b) Babe Ruth.

    Furthermore, early in the 1921 season, NL president John Heydler decided to check if the league was being sold "rabbit balls." At the end of the investigation, he concluded that there was no change in the composition of baseballs. He also determined that the changes in offense were due to the abolition of freak pitches and Babe Ruth's demonstration that it was possible to hit all those home runs.

    Since Heydler could check the actual balls - something I couldn't do - and he reached the same conclusions I did, that strengthens the argument that the offensive explosion of the 1920s had nothing to do with a change in the composition of baseballs.

  18. #18
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    HDH,

    Nice list, nice job. But other significant changes that affected offensive productivity were the enlarged strike zone in 1962, from the letters to the tops of the shoulders, and back to the letters for 1969, and the shrunken strike-zone, from, I believe, 1993 to present. True, some umps resisted it, but peer pressure eventually made them conform.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by HDH
    1901: 1962: Pitching mounds were raised to give the pitcher more of an advantage
    1969: Pitching mounds are reduced and expansion again dilutes pitching.
    Not to doubt your word but what source stated that mounds were raised in 1962, I don't recall that. Was it done officially, by the rules commitee or MLB.

    I do recall the one official change you post, lowering the mound from 15" to 10" in 1969.

  20. #20
    One thing for sure, lots of interesting input on the history of the ball. Some we can be sure took place but some we can never be sure of.

    I did find this one, seems to be legit because it was announced by MLB. In 1926 the cushioned cork center ball was introduced. A quick glance at stats hitting and pitching a few years before and after 1926 do not show any dramatic changes brought about by this change.

    Also in 1926, pitchers allowed to use resin bags.

  21. #21
    Another article I saved complete with a photo of the device used in this case.

    From USA TODAY: Universal Systems of Solon Ohio used a CATscanner to view the cores of some balls going back to 1930 up to the present,1999.
    Those who performed the tests were amazed at the great number of variations, quality and size that was displayed over the years.

    No oipinion on what effect it may have had on the liveleness of the ball over the years, only the changes.

  22. #22
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    Here is another article:
    An oft-told baseball story is that sometime around 1920, major league executives acted in concert with baseball manufacturers to "liven up" the ball. Their supposed aim was to increase flagging attendance in the wake of the Black Sox scandal. With this new ball, Babe ruth slammed 54 then 59 home runs, shattering the major league record, and for the rest of the decade, batters went wild and, more importantly, attendance soared.

    It's almost impossible to find a baseball history book that does not tell this story as if it were undisputed truth. There's only one thing wrong: It's just not true!

    No writer who espouses this theory has any evidence to prove it. That's because the ball used from 1920 to 1926 was not in any substantial way different from that used from 1911from 1919. The Reach Company, which manufactured balls for both leagues (although Spalding put its name on the NL's balls), did use a higher-quality yarn after World War I, but it had little, if anything, to do with the inflated averages; and even if it did have an effect, it was not done intentionally to fatten batting averages and boost attendance.

    This "rabbit ball" gets blamed simply based on the fact that offensive totals increased. But that's like accusing somebody of murder when the only evidence you have is the dead body.

    What proof is there that no lively ball was introduced? A lot more than the proof that a lively ball was introduced. Throughout the 1920s, journalists and league offices launched any number of investigations into the alleged "rabbit ball" theories, and all of them came to the same conclusion: that the balls used after 1920 had the same weight and size and bounce and used the same materials (except for the yarn, which didn't make much of a difference) as the ball that had been used in the past decade.

    In addition, the manufacturer and league officials gave sworn depositions to that effect. Much-respected NL president John Heydler said, "At no time have the club owners ordered the manufacturer to make the ball livelier. The only stipulation the club owners have made about the ball is that it be the very best that could be made."

    The Reach Baseball Guide ran a full-page ad announcing, "We never experiment with our patrons. There has been no change in the construction of the CORK CENTER BALL since we introduced it in 1910." And the United States Bureau of Standards conducted extensive tests that came to the same conclusion.




  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by william_burgess@usa.net
    the shrunken strike-zone, from, I believe, 1993 to present. True, some umps resisted it, but peer pressure eventually made them conform.
    Bill, in my view this is a big one, seems to have gotten lost after it was given much attention in the late 199Os.

    Yes there was expansion, smaller parks and the 1990s ball was proven to be out of specs in a test at the University of Rhode Island in 2000. The ball contained an over the limit amount of synthetic material in the wool windings. Dennis Hilliard and others surmised that the synthetic material would resist moisture during hot damp weather. Balls from the 1960s-70s-80s were also tested and found to be within specs. Many pitchers began complaining in the early 1990s about the lower seams on the ball.

    So expansion, park size and the ball contributed to the home run derby but lets not forget that lower strike zone. Hitters are no longer concerned with what was once borderline high strikes, they know it will be called a ball almost all the time. Thats the same pitch that in the past tied up big strong guys, Mantle Killebrew, Frank Howard and others because it was hard to get around on, "get on top of the ball."

    Today's hitters are not bothered by that one anymore because the strike zone is so much lower, hitters delight.

    I recall when Selig and Sandy Alderson sent out a memo to the umps to start calling the high strike, the rule book strike for the 2001 season. I watched the very first Yankee game that season. Don't recall the hitter but a pitch a few inches above the belt was called a ball. Bobby Murcer and Jim Katt commented on that one pitch. Murcer said that he thought the umps were supposed to start calling that pitch a strike citing Selig's memo to the umps and what he called the "new strike zone". Katt replied, "Well if thats the new strike zone somebody may hit 80 home runs this year, Bonds hit 73.

    I have seen changes in the strike zone over the many years that I have watched this game. All those changes came about after the rules commitee and MLB decared it would be so. That strike zone of the early 1990s was as drastic as any I jave ever seen and is not even close to the rule book (verticle) strike zone.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-06-2006 at 08:49 AM.

  24. #24
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    I remember reading about the the study done on the modern ball, and I believe there is a link around here on this forum. What they found was that there was more synthetic material in the windings then allowed. It wasn't done on purpose and it wasn't a huge amount. It happened because they were using recycled wool to make the ball. Nor do they have any real idea of what those fibers would do to a ball. There conclusions that it would make it more lively was just a guess on their part. Secondly they only looked at 5 baseballs from a 30 year period. Baseballs that were donated by people, not really a controlled experiment by any means. Thirdly they did bounce tests on these balls and cores as if these items had all shared they same experiences. In fact they did not and they have no way of knowing what environments these balls were in before they got a hold of them.

    If this was a trial these findings would probably be thrown out of court, if this was research for a drug it would probably get denied. In otherwords it holds no water.

    Now that doesn't mean they are wrong, they could very well have come to the right conclusion despite using a flawed analysis. But I'm wouldn't use their evidence as proof of anything.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubbieinexile
    Also I believe there is a coffee table book about baseballs, I wonder what it says.

    Rare time Cubbie and I see eye to eye

    But he is right, you can see the influx of average, walks, K's and yes HRs 1912 and on (1911 was the learning curve period)

    It went down in 1914-1915, not because of the ball but talent to the Federal League. Then 1918 was a war shortened year

    so let's look at the other years


    1912-- middle of 'deadball' 10 players hit over .340
    6 players slug over .500
    3 players have an OPS over 1.000 4 over .950
    Zimmerman hiots 14 HRS
    Chief Wilson hits hio record 32 triples
    Schulte hits 12
    Cravath, Merkle and Wilson hit 11, 4 hit 10
    Speaker has 53 doubles
    Sheckard had 112 walks, probably due to tighter ball less control, but faster pitch speed, 10 layers had 80 or more walks...unheard of before
    ERA went down for the power pitchers, as Johnson had his best year, and K'd 303

    1913-HRs still climbing...Cravath 19, 10 players with 9 or more

    1914-1915 goes down slightly, due to spread out talent

    Now why it stayed down after the fold of the Federal League is beyond me...maybe just like when segregation was done away with...more talented players took the place of lesser talented players...and those players that stuck around from the FL were mainly Pitchers...only 2 FL position players stuck...Roush and Kauff

    But no 1919 was not the point of no return, Cravath showed in 1911-1915 that HRs were easier to get, before 1911 he hit 3 in 350 ABs...then hits 11 in 1911 in 436, Gavvy if 10 years younger would have been the NL version of Ruth...he was just Ruth in deadball era who started at 27 instead of 18

    Now later on in the 20's the NL admitted to a tighter wound ball, and fans and writers turned on them, they told the truth

    After the strike of 1994, the league did it again, but will never fess up, instead pointing the arrow at Steroids...for once Bonds is right, he is a scapegoat of sorts, he is wrong that its because he is black though

    They have been 3 studies I have seen from noted experts that have stated the ball of 1994 on average travelled 40 feet further and had a higher arc on impact, a google search might find those long ago articles
    Last edited by Imapotato; 07-10-2005 at 04:18 PM.

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