Tag: AllStar

’68 All-Star Boasted Twelve Cy Young Winners, Nineteen Hall Of Famers, But Zero Runs Batted In

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July inevitably leads to memories of All-Star games, whether they be of heroics on the field or the injustice of players who were snubbed by not getting selected. Since nearly the beginning of this century, all baseball fans look back on the 2002 contest with a sense of regret.

Because both managers ( Joe Torre of the New York Yankees and Bob Brenley of the Arizona Diamondbacks) ran out of players to use, the game was called off in the eleventh inning with the score tied at seven. Commissioner Bud Selig was especially upset since the game had been played at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers team that he had once owned.

He immediately undertook the task of making sure there would never be another Midsummer Classic without a winner, and fortunately that 2002 game remains the only one to end in a draw. Exactly thirty three years before then, however, a quick glance at the box score might lead one assume that the All-Star game must have ended in a tie.

Neither team managed to get an RBI in the contest, so in the last row in the box score the zeroes seem to indicate that the game ended in a scoreless tie. There were probably many of those in the regular season of 1968, when pitchers were so dominant that Major League Baseball decided to lower the mound beginning the following year.

The American League hitters, in spite of a lineup with the likes of Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle, Brooks Robinson and Carl Yastremski, did not record even one single. Their offense was limited to three doubles by Tony Oliva of the Minnesota Twins, Don Wert of the Detroit Tigers, and Jim Fregosi of the California Angels, none of which produced a single run.

When one considers who was on the mound facing them, the lack of offense seems less surprising. Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal and Tom Seaver were four of the mighty arms that combined to shut out the A. L. hitters.

Their opponents from the Senior Circuit proved nearly as unproductive on offense, even though the lineup featured more future Hall of Famers. Willie Mays was in the lead off spot, followed by legends such as Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Ron Santo and Tony Perez.

Even with that cadre of prominent sluggers, the National League hitters could not come up with a single run batted in. With all blanks in that column, it would be easy to assume that neither team scored.

Two spaces to the left in the box score, the run column shows the only difference in the two clubs that day. The N. L. managed to score a run, when Mays crossed the plate as his San Francisco Giants teammate Willie McCovey bounced into a double play off of Boston ace Luis Tiant in the bottom of the first.

After that meager run in the initial inning, the pitchers on both teams dominated the offenses. That minimal production accounted for the lowest scoring game in All Star history but, regardless what the RBI column indicates, it was not a tie.

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Source by Doug Poe

Regular Season Game Before The All-Star Break Points Out Current Problems Ignored By MLB Officials

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In a very clear way, the 2018 All-Star game in Washington D.C. last week was representative of the current state of the sport of baseball. The ten home runs hit set an all-time record for the Midsummer Classic, nearly twice as many as the previous high of six.

That long ball production is indicative of the season, which is on pace to see more home runs than any other year in baseball ‘s long history. That statistic is not the only record that will be eclipsed in 2018, and the All-Star game reflected that as well.

Players are striking out twenty five percent of the time now, a frequency that will result in a record number of strikeouts in 2018. It came as no surprise then that the pitchers in the Midsummer Classic fanned twenty five batters in total.

Just as that highly promoted contest highlighted the sport’s reliance on the homerun and the strike out, it was another game a week earlier that served as a microcosm of some of baseball’s biggest problems. Commissioner Rob Manfred and the officials around the sport would rather ignore that game, which would be easy to do considering how few people actually saw it.

The Tampa Bay Rays played the Marlins in Miami on July Third, an intrastate battle that should have created all kinds of excitement in the home of Spring Training and three pennants. To underscore the serious attendance problem baseball has had there for over two decades, only six thousand people were in attendance.

The game itself went sixteen innings, dragged on almost six hours, and featured forty four different batters between the two clubs. Eighteen different pitchers took the mound, in addition to the three others who were called up on to pinch hit and or play a position at some point during the Sunshine State Bore-a-thon.

When it finally ended, an estimated two hundred fans remained in the seats. Miami’s front office rewarded those few loyal souls by handing out two free tickets to each one.

A better gift for them, and most other baseball fans, would be for the sport to adapt the extra innings rule started in the Minors this year. If tied after nine innings, each team starts the extra frame with a runner on second. That situation would almost guarantee that a game would be decided long before the sixteen innings it took before Tampa Bay finally beat Miami.

Besides reinforcing the fact that games are too long, that night also exposed another issue that plagues the sport. It must force the National League to adopt the designated hitter rule.

Because they were playing at Miami, the Rays had to allow their pitchers to hit. This stipulation might not be a new problem for the starting pitchers, who have been used to getting at least one plate appearance in an inter league game on the road.

However, having to bat poses a real problem for the multitude of relievers on the staff, for most of them never swing a club all season. What can happen when they are forced into such a role, is exactly what happened to a Tampa reliever that night.

Left hander Vidal Nuna injured a hamstring while running to first base after hitting a grounder, causing him to be placed on the ten day disabled list. The injury would never have occurred had baseball enforced a universal DH rule, and it also might have been avoided had the extra innings rule been used at the Big League level instead of just the Minors.

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Source by Doug Poe