Baseballs

Jan. 27, 1963

Major League Baseball has monkeyed around with the strike zone since the first 2-1 pitch was hammered.

Such tinkering usually benefited batters, since home runs sell more tickets than strikeouts.

In 1963, two years removed from Roger Maris’ 61st homer, the lords of the game tried to help their battered and bruised pitchers.

The strike zone became “the space above home plate which is between the top of the batter’s shoulder and his knees when he assumes his natural position.”

Actually MLB was second-guessing itself. The “new” strike zone was actually a return to the “old” strike zone before its 1950 modification.

After Carl Yastrzemski won the 1968 American League batting title with a .301 average, the height of the mound was lowered. In 1973, the AL instituted the designated hitter rule.

Lately, a strong argument could be made that pitchers just aren’t as good as they used to be.

The solution: Start using three or four (or more) pitchers per game, thus spreading around the mediocrity.

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