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Sunday, March 14, 2021

Bill James: The Black Hole

Candlestick Park opened on April 12, 1960.  Within weeks, Giants players were ######## in the newspapers about having to play there.  The infield was a rockpile, the wind whipped nastily through the infield and across the outfield, and it was, apparently, a cold, cold summer in San Francisco.  For the season, Willie McCovey hit .203 in Candlestick Park, and if Willie McCovey can’t hit there, God help the rest of the league.  Don Blasingame, Eddie Bressoud and Andre Rodgers all had terrible seasons, at least statistically if you don’t adjust for the very low park run factors, and at that time, nobody had any notion of adjusting for park effects.  The Giants also led the major leagues in errors.

        The Giants gave up on Bressoud and Blasingame, trading both men away and going with Chuck (Iron Hands) Hiller at second base, and Jose Pagan at short.  In retrospect, they might have kept Bressoud and lived with his inherent defensive limitations.  Bressoud became the best-hitting shortstop in the majors from 1962 to 1964.

        The Giants middle infield, on the other hand, was on a treadmill through the Twilight Zone.  From Daryl Spencer (1958) they went through Andre Rodgers (1959), Eddie Bressoud (1960), Jose Pagan (1961-1962), Jose Pagan and Ernie Bowman (1963), Jose Pagan and Jim Davenport (1964), Dick Schofield, Jim Davenport, Jose Pagan, and Tito Fuentes (1965), Tito Fuentes, Jim Davenport and Hal Lanier (1966), and then mostly Hal Lanier (1967-1970).  Jim Davenport, losing the third base job to Jim Ray Hart in 1964, played over 200 games at short for the Giants from 1964 to 1968—not because anyone thought that he was a shortstop, but because somebody had to try. ...

So we can see there why the National League won almost all the All Star Games in those years.  Anyway, the point is that the Giants had three of the top 9 position totals in the major leagues, but won only one league title in this period, whereas the Yankees won 5, the Dodgers 4, the Cardinals 3, the Pirates 2 and the Orioles 2. During these years the Giants won more games than any other National League franchise, more than any other major league team except the Orioles.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 14, 2021 at 02:25 PM | 58 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 14, 2021 at 04:55 PM (#6008574)
nobody had any notion of adjusting for park effects.

Not statistically no but everybody knew Wrigley was a hitter's park and LA was a pitcher's park, etc.

Willie McCovey hit .203 in Candlestick Park, and if Willie McCovey can’t hit there, God help the rest of the league.

Kind of an odd thing to say. McCovey was in just his 2nd season in 1960 and wouldn't become a full-timer until 1963 (which had more to do with Cepeda at 1B than Willie's bat) ... nobody would have been talking about McCovey in such terms in real time. Also odd to use him relative to BA -- he hit 300 only once (his great age 31 season), hit 278 through 68, hit 220 in 64, McCovey was of course mainly known for his awesome power. That McCovey hit just 4 HR in 149 home PA (9 in 158 on the road) says something. FWIW, McCovey's home BABIP that year was a measly 239 but his road BABIP was only 259. Also FWIw, Mays hit a solid 299 and Cepeda a solid 298 at home that year.

   2. Steve N Posted: March 14, 2021 at 05:40 PM (#6008580)
Walt, you say that everyone knew that Wrigley was a hitter's park, but, they didn't act that way. I remember routinely hearing folks talk about the Cubs and say that they had good hitting but needed pitching. We know that this was a park effect thing and would adjust for it. They did not. They kept their hitters and searched for pitching.
   3. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2021 at 07:53 PM (#6008585)
Well yeah, why would you keep the pitchers and search for hitters?

You're supposed to get rid of Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Billy Williams?

Name some pitchers the Cubs had and traded away that ended up becoming good?
   4. Walt Davis Posted: March 14, 2021 at 08:16 PM (#6008586)
#2: Some truth to that. But they also talked about how the Cubs didn't need much speed in the OF because the Wrigley OF was so cozy (as if they didn't play half their games on the road). And with Santo, Williams, Banks, Altman the early 60s Cubs did have good hitters ... although nobody was impressed by 1960 RF Bob Will's 255 BA with 6 HR and 53 RBI. They added Andre Rodgers (good hitter, not so good fielder for a SS) when Banks had to move. The mid-60s were pretty stagnant on the position player side but by the late 60s they were regularly trying to add bats, mostly for the bench -- Hickman, Willie Smith, Spangler, Callison, Tommy Davis, Pepitone ... mostly flopping.

The Cubs did start the 60s with some promising young pitching in Ellsworth, Koonce and Cardwell (not that young). They flipped Cardwell for Larry Jackson and Lindy McDaniel, probably one of the better trades in Cub history then later flipped Jackson for Fergie and Adolfo Phillips which might be 2nd to the Sandberg trade in Cub history. Koonce might have been under-rated due to park, a roughly average starter who got switched to relief where he stayed for the rest of his career -- the Cubs just sold him off to the Mets and he had another 2 solid relief years left. Ellsworth was average except for a massive 1963. They kept him through 1966, 1600 IP, then traded him off (for not a lot) when he had just 500 average innings left on his arm.

That is, the early 60s Cubs staffs weren't a collection of guys putting up 110-120 ERA+ who looked bad because of Wrigley. Except for 63 when Ellsworth, Jackson and the pen all had big years, from 60-66 the Cubs staff ranged from a 85 ERA+ to a 98 ERA+. They were bad staffs, they did need pitching. The offense wasn't really much better but at least they made it to average (non-pitchers) three times. By the time the Cubs had a good staff, Leo drove them into the ground with a 4-man rotation and the Cubs had entered the (offensively) dreadful Kessinger and CF drought era.

But those late 60s staffs. Fergie picked up in an excellent trade; Hands picked up for almost nothing; Pappas picked up in 1970 for cash; Holtzman developed. The Selma-Niekro trade in 69 was pretty much a wash and oddly both teams let them go after the season -- the Cubs with Oscar Gamble for Callison in an attempt to add offense.

Now of course they did make the infamous Brock-Broglio trade for pitching. But Broglio had been an excellent pitcher to that point, only 28 and, by the standards of the day, not heavily worked. Brock couldn't stick in CF, wasn't really suited to RF (not that the Cubs had any other options for RF at the time) and Brock was a 25-yo who hadn't hit yet. The Cards seem to have figured out how to make Brock a solid hitter so maybe blame that one on the Cubs development staff.

Anyway, the 60s Cubs pitching generally was poor; nevertheless, they did make a number of trades for good pitchers, didn't trade away many good pitchers unless they got even better in return; they had plenty of turnover on the batting side other than Williams, Santo and Banks and made a (ill-fated) push to add offense in the late 60s. They seemed to understand they needed more pitching; they seemed to understand they needed better players at 4-5 positions; they just weren't particularly good at their job (until striking gold with Fergie, Hands and Pappas).
   5. Eric L Posted: March 14, 2021 at 09:20 PM (#6008597)
I remember a split brain thought process back in the day. While it was common knowledge that Wrigley was a good place to hit, it didn’t stop many people from overrating the Cubs hitters. I remember my fellow fans excitement when the Padres traded for Keith Moreland. Yuck. Those were lonely times for a stathead.
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: March 14, 2021 at 10:06 PM (#6008600)
Bressoud became the best-hitting shortstop in the majors from 1962 to 1964.


Bressoud OPS+s for those years was 104, 114, 125 for the Red Sox.

he slipped to a 79 at age 33 in 1965, and the Sox dumped him on the Mets after that season for Joe Christopher, an OF who had a good 1964 and a bad 1965.

in the classic "trade that hurts both teams," Christopher went 1 for 13 for the Sox in 1966 at age 30 and called it a career, while Bressoud was a SS-3B with an 87 OPS+ before the Mets dumped him on the Cardinals in the offseason for Jerry Buchek, the Mets' regular 2B in 1967 before a dreadful 1968. Buchek had a 34 OPS+ in 76 PA in 1968 and was done at age 26.

there were no survivors (of the careers of these fellows).
   7. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2021 at 10:19 PM (#6008601)
The Keith Moreland excitement probably had more to do with 1987 being the fluke HR year than park effects. Outside of homers in 1987 he was clearly declining by conventional and sabermetric standards.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: March 14, 2021 at 10:57 PM (#6008604)
and of course Moreland had the magical 100+ RBI in 1985 and a still "solid" 88 of them in 87. I was at the game in 85 when he got his 100th RBI, we gave him a standing O (not much else to cheer for that year) then as we sat down I said to my friend "now trade his ass."

I will say I'd forgotten and thought we traded him to Det but that was the Padres. It wasn't much of a trade, we got Gossage. Gossage had been pretty good in 87 but was terrible for the Cubs in 88 and got cut next spring although he had a few more light workload but solid performance years left in the arm. The Pads got Walt Terrell later from Det who was terrible for them and they flipped him to the Yanks for Pagliarulo who was terrible for them before having a surprisingly solid year for the Twins. Moreland was terrible for Det who flipped him to Balt for Brian Dubois who got amazing then terrible results before leaving the majors at 23.

In short, a whole lot of bother where nobody got nothing except the teams that signed Gossage and, briefly, Pags out of FA. Moreland-Gossage was also a bit of a salary exchange where Moreland seems to have been owed around 3/$4M and Gossage at least 2/$2.5 M (I'm guessing).

Anyway, I certainly didn't mean to turn this into a Cubs historical hijack.
   9. The Duke Posted: March 14, 2021 at 11:26 PM (#6008607)
I never saw Wrigley as a great hitters park per se. It has a number of days with the wind blowing in that make it a pitchers park on those days. Of course when it’s blowing out, it’s a home run marathon. But I would say that more often than not that the wind is a pitchers friend. It has small foul territory which helps the hitters a lot compared to many parks, so that definitely is one thing that helps hitters. To me, the big reason it has a hitters rep is the higher rate of day games. I think it’s easier to hit during the day. The research seems decidedly inconclusive on this point so it’s just my perception after having watched many, many games there and watching other teams play mostly at night.

   10. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 14, 2021 at 11:39 PM (#6008609)
Bill James is a black hole nowadays.
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: March 14, 2021 at 11:56 PM (#6008610)
Bill James is Zack Greinke, and vice versa

#crossthread #crossthread
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: March 15, 2021 at 01:16 AM (#6008613)
Bressoud OPS+s for those years was 104, 114, 125 for the Red Sox.


Which fell a little short of Jim Fregosi's 108, 114, 141.
   13. bfan Posted: March 15, 2021 at 07:27 AM (#6008617)
It is interesting to me how a writer's bias can impact the direction of the article. James points are well made, but his conclusion is that he could not understand why a great baseball front office like the Giants did not fix this obvious hole and move around underutilized talent at other positions, which they had in abundance. If you take the ability to do that (figure out your talent holes; figure out your talent surpluses, and bring them into balance) as prima facie evidence of a great front office, maybe their not doing it is evidence that they were NOT a great (or even good) front office. It isn't as if they had to manage salary cap issues or difficult local TV contracts back then. I assume that for some other unidentified reasons, perhaps tied to being a progressive front office, Bill James equates them to be a great front office, when the evidence he lays out in the article suggests they were not.
   14. Ron J Posted: March 15, 2021 at 07:47 AM (#6008618)
#13 I know you'll find a lot of teams around that time who said (and acted as though it was true) that it'd didn't matter what our SS hit.

And there was a stubborn belief that this was the year that Hal Lanier would hit .280 (I can recall articles of that nature in some of the magazines I read. Every year) and ...

And yeah, Lanier also had no power or plate discipline but an empty .280 beats what they were getting.

Two offensive black holes hurts a lot.
   15. Ron J Posted: March 15, 2021 at 07:56 AM (#6008619)
#9 There was a study in one of the old STATS Scoreboards that tracked the prevailing wind and how it played out. It played as three very district parks. Extreme hitter's park, pitcher's park (though not extreme) and neutralish depending on whether it was blowing out, in or not noticeably either way.

In the end the park factor depended on the mix and it was less common to get the wind blowing out at night. No idea if that's a real effect or just luck of the draw over the period of the study.

And what the study established was that bad luck with the prevailing wind could really affect a starting pitcher's value in any system that used a generic park adjustment.
   16. TomH Posted: March 15, 2021 at 08:29 AM (#6008621)
#10 Lazy Boy - do you have a constructive critique of this piece of research? I thought it was typical of Bill James' work; solid insight on an important question, with defendable and clear conclusions.
   17. Mefisto Posted: March 15, 2021 at 08:58 AM (#6008624)
I haven't read the article, but the quoted portion about the Giants' middle infield problems in those days is dead on right.

The Giants in those days were phenomenal at scouting and developing talent, but awful at recognizing it at the ML level.
   18. McCoy Posted: March 15, 2021 at 09:23 AM (#6008634)
Re 8. The biggest thing to come out of the Gossage trade was that the Cubs thought they needed more bullpen help so they traded Palmeiro and Moyer for arms.
   19. McCoy Posted: March 15, 2021 at 09:29 AM (#6008636)
Re Wrigley. There was a few things going on. When night games were getting rolled out league wide there was a large difference between performance in day and night games as they figured out the lighting situation. So you had Wrigley always in the day time vs other parks who had a mix. You also had daytime temps vs night time temps. And finally you also had Wrigley as a smaller park vs some of the giant parks of the era.

When Colorado came on line and then Arizona coupled with a move to smaller stadiums throughout the 90s and 00s along with Cub night games Wrigley no longer became the hitters park that it once was.
   20. . Posted: March 15, 2021 at 10:03 AM (#6008640)
Lots of revisionism here. No one thought Moreland was anything more than a decent hit/brick glove player, including the teams that included him in trades. There was no RBI illusion -- he finished 17th in the MVP voting the year he had over 100 RBIs and that was the only year he got any votes. There's nothing wrong with cheering the guy after he got his 100th RBI; that's a worthy accomplishment irrespective of whether it reflected his "true talent" or had any "predictive value" and the current era wherein everyone plays fantasy or cosplays GM isn't any better than the Moreland era and in many ways it's worse.(*)

And only a brain-dead idiot didn't realize or understand that Wrigley with the wind blowing out was a launching pad. There really wasn't any illusion there, either.

(*) It's still impossible to figure out what possesses the eat-your-vegetables types on this matter. "Don't cheer his 100 RBIs, he probably won't get that many next year." What a silly, joyless thought.
   21. . Posted: March 15, 2021 at 10:14 AM (#6008641)
When Colorado came on line and then Arizona coupled with a move to smaller stadiums throughout the 90s and 00s along with Cub night games Wrigley no longer became the hitters park that it once was.


Yes and no. Hitters parks aren't only properly given that status relative to the rest of the league. Imagine a league where all the parks were 250 down the lines, 300 in the alleys, 310 to centerfield. They'd all be hitters' parks. Imagine another league where all the parks were 450 down the lines, 500 to the alleys, 525 to centerfield. They'd all be pitchers' parks. Park factors have always had a quasi-tautological feature to them and the idea of "run environments" have always had a high quasi-tautological feature to them. The fact that the Roy Whites and the Dick MacAullifes of the world, along with a whole lot of other guys from that single era, show so well on the non-counting stat leader boards should have been an obvious tell.
   22. Ron J Posted: March 15, 2021 at 10:55 AM (#6008648)
#17 James (many years ago) pointed out that they seemed to assume that major league level talent was abundant because they pretty much gave away a lot of it.

And in another article he pointed out that they appeared to be using Willie Mays as the standard for acceptable as an outfielder. That is to say that if they weren't as good as Mays not only were they replaceable, they should be replaced.

And while I agree that 3 OF at that level is a very good plan it proved to be a tad tricky to pull off.
   23. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: March 15, 2021 at 11:23 AM (#6008650)
I sometimes wonder if it's a coincidence that people started getting religion on park factors around the time Coors came online. There remained some overrating of Rockies hitters for a while -- those Silver Sluggers and MVP votes for Vinny Castilla stand out -- but it seems to me that hitting stats in Denver were so patently out-of-whack that the idea of "hitters' parks" and "pitchers' parks" became basically undeniable, even for people who weren't reading Baseball Prospectus every year. Maybe I'm imagining it, but it makes some intuitive sense.
   24. DanG Posted: March 15, 2021 at 01:41 PM (#6008661)
When night games were getting rolled out league wide there was a large difference between performance in day and night games as they figured out the lighting situation.
Yes, indeed. The Tigers were the last team before the Cubs to install lights, in 1948. The story of that is here and here. Owner Briggs invested in the best system he could get, so for the next 15 years or so they had the best lighting in the AL. It has been said that was a contributing factor to so many batting champs from Detroit (Kell, Kuenn, Kaline, Cash).
   25. Howie Menckel Posted: March 15, 2021 at 01:47 PM (#6008663)
also helped to use players whose last names start with a hard "C" or "K" sound in Detroit (Cobb and Cabrera as well). that's a majority of the franchise's batting champions.
   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 15, 2021 at 02:42 PM (#6008669)
also helped to use players whose last names start with a hard "C" or "K" sound in Detroit (Cobb and Cabrera as well).
Milt Cuyler just shakes his head.
   27. McCoy Posted: March 15, 2021 at 02:56 PM (#6008670)
I remember reading The Sporting News looking for stuff on Ted Williams and encountering articles and stats on players and their performance day vs night. It was rather startling.
   28. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 15, 2021 at 03:20 PM (#6008673)
I remember a lot being made of Dwight Gooden's day vs. night splits his first few years in the league. His day game performances were far superior as I recall.
   29. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 15, 2021 at 03:35 PM (#6008674)
His day game performances were far superior as I recall.
That's surprising, given his admitted issues.
   30. SandyRiver Posted: March 15, 2021 at 03:48 PM (#6008678)
#9 There was a study in one of the old STATS Scoreboards that tracked the prevailing wind and how it played out. It played as three very district parks. Extreme hitter's park, pitcher's park (though not extreme) and neutralish depending on whether it was blowing out, in or not noticeably either way.

In the end the park factor depended on the mix and it was less common to get the wind blowing out at night. No idea if that's a real effect or just luck of the draw over the period of the study.

And what the study established was that bad luck with the prevailing wind could really affect a starting pitcher's value in any system that used a generic park adjustment.


In "The Long Season" Jim Brosnan described a seasonal switch at Wrigley, wind usually blowing in during the cool spring and out in hot summer. His only 1959 win for the Cards was a lowery May day when he came in for the 8th or 9th and finished the game in about the 14th. Earlier, his win was preserved when a potential Banks walk-off was caught in the wind and dropped into the CF's glove. He also noted that pitchers from both sides would do a pre-game check of which way the flag in CF was blowing, with groans ensuing if it pointed out.
   31. Itchy Row Posted: March 15, 2021 at 03:57 PM (#6008681)
Looks like Gooden was better in night games at least in his first few years. Except for 1988, when he went 8-0 with a 3.04 ERA during the day and 10-9, 3.25 at night, his record and ERA were better at night, at least through 1990. In his rookie year, he was 1-5, 7.26 during the day, and 16-4, 1.56 at night. The next year, his dominant year, he was 13-1, 1.15 at night and a pedestrian 11-3, 1.97 during the day.
   32. puck Posted: March 15, 2021 at 04:05 PM (#6008683)
I sometimes wonder if it's a coincidence that people started getting religion on park factors around the time Coors came online.


People (and the media) here *still* can't get it right in the Denver area. They can tell when pitching is a problem when the team is giving up double digit runs. But when the team is 15th in the majors in runs/game, they don't realize that's not average, that's horrible given the park situation.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: March 15, 2021 at 04:05 PM (#6008684)
Certainly the wind makes a big difference at Wrigley. (And one of the few positives about the Chicago summer is that you sometimes get a lovely cooling breeze off the lake in the evening so I would assume the wind blows out at night less often.) But if anything, that just means Wrigley's (pre-Coors, etc.) reputation as a hitter's park was somewhat overblown. It was recognized for its cozy dimensions, the OF wells, the basket and the summer winds.

It's fair enough that I may be overstating it for the early 60s -- positive but generally small park factors. It really takes off with expansion -- PFs usually around 110, always over 100. With the 2nd expansion, Coors, etc. it bounces around -- looks slightly positive overall but plenty of years at average.
   34. McCoy Posted: March 15, 2021 at 04:48 PM (#6008689)
Re gooden. How many of those wins were against the Cubs? I seem to recall he liked beating up on them.
   35. McCoy Posted: March 15, 2021 at 04:50 PM (#6008690)
Stats used to do a park factor by offensive event for each stadium and I think someone like Clem used to do it as well. I think retrosheet does as well.

I see ESPN does it back to 2001.
   36. Itchy Row Posted: March 15, 2021 at 05:26 PM (#6008701)
Overall, Gooden was 28-4 against the Cubs. He kept beating them in the 1990's when he wasn't DWIGHT GOODEN! anymore. When he was peak DWIGHT GOODEN! in '85, he faced the Cubs five times, winning and completing all five games, with two shutouts and a 1.00 ERA.
   37. Mefisto Posted: March 15, 2021 at 06:11 PM (#6008705)
Looking more at McCovey, if you combine his 1959-60 seasons to get 153 G his numbers look almost exactly like his career averages/162. The real issue in 1960 was him coming back to earth after his rookie season.
   38. Jose Canusee Posted: March 15, 2021 at 08:12 PM (#6008723)
Rather than say "Gooden was better at night" as if he tired more in the heat, unless you can get records of his FB speeds and %pitches by heat zone like you can now, it would be interesting to see if there are certain pitchers whose same stuff is harder to pick up under the lights, e.g. pitchers with <10 mph delta between FB and change vs those with bigger speed difference, whether they go from great to good or from mediocre to bad when the hitters get fooled less.
   39. Howie Menckel Posted: March 15, 2021 at 08:47 PM (#6008726)
Milt Cuyler just shakes his head.

I see what you did there

meanwhile, I sat behind home plate for almost all of Gooden's Shea Stadium starts in 1985 (13-2, 1.50 ERA in 18 starts, vs 11-2, 1.56 ERA in 17 road starts).

Doc was 19-0 when the Mets scored 3 runs that year.

13-1 with a 1.15 ERA in day games
11-3 with a 1.97 ERA in night games

1.40 ERA on grass
1.92 ERA on artificial turf

the reason to sit behind home plate was to have the best view of the feeble swings of basically every batter. a weak foul ball that went straight backwards was a moral victory.

Gooden was age 20 that year, and I wasn't much older.

am definitely proud that my buddy and I realized we might never see the likes of that season by Doc ever again, so we made each of his starts a priority.

he called in the other day to a NYC sports talk radio show to congratulate a local host who had achieved some sort of broadcasting milestone. both men are recovering..... humans, from very dark places. Doc sounded good, which was a relief.

there was a perception that Gooden and Strawberry must have been tight because they both were young, black, and wound up with serious drug problems. but they weren't - as an awkward, well-intended 30 for 30 documentary showed.

their last decade or so also could not have been more different: Gooden has had one relapse after another, and Strawberry seems to have figured it out - in part because he seems to realize that he can never just take for granted that he has "figured it out."
   40. Howie Menckel Posted: March 15, 2021 at 09:03 PM (#6008731)
fixed:

13-1 with a 1.15 ERA in NIGHT games
11-3 with a 1.97 ERA in DAY games

edit function goes away a little too quickly at BBTF...
   41. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 16, 2021 at 11:15 AM (#6008782)
Yes, indeed. The Tigers were the last team before the Cubs to install lights, in 1948. The story of that is here and here.

Jesus, the first night game they had in Detroit began at 9:29. If a typical American League game of today began at that time, it'd be over at half past midnight.

That was probably an extreme case, but it wasn't until the mid-1950's that night games routinely began switching from 8:30 to 8:00, and it wasn't until the late 60's and early 70's that 7:30 became the standard. The current 7:00 starting times are a relatively recent phenomenon.

   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 16, 2021 at 12:20 PM (#6008794)
Jesus, the first night game they had in Detroit began at 9:29. If a typical American League game of today began at that time, it'd be over at half past midnight.

That was probably an extreme case, but it wasn't until the mid-1950's that night games routinely began switching from 8:30 to 8:00, and it wasn't until the late 60's and early 70's that 7:30 became the standard. The current 7:00 starting times are a relatively recent phenomenon.


If you could keep the game at the appropriate 2:30 length, 8 PM make a ton of sense. Leave work at 5, get home by 5:45, eat dinner, head to the park at 7, game's over at 10:30 and you're in bed before midnight.
   43. McCoy Posted: March 16, 2021 at 01:29 PM (#6008808)
Considering that most attendees are suburbanites and most stadiums are in cities and most games are during weekdays I would guess 8pm games are not conducive to many people's schedules.
   44. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 16, 2021 at 03:00 PM (#6008824)
That was probably an extreme case, but it wasn't until the mid-1950's that night games routinely began switching from 8:30 to 8:00, and it wasn't until the late 60's and early 70's that 7:30 became the standard. The current 7:00 starting times are a relatively recent phenomenon.


Just a couple of days ago I found a pocket schedule for the 1968 Seattle Angels of the Pacific Coast League. "Single Night Games" are listed as having an 8 PM start time. "Night doubleheaders" start at 7 PM. I can't imagine starting a double header at 7 PM, with suitable time between games, and ending before the next day.
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 16, 2021 at 03:33 PM (#6008828)
Considering that most attendees are suburbanites and most stadiums are in cities and most games are during weekdays I would guess 8pm games are not conducive to many people's schedules.

Why? It's a lot easier to get home from work, eat something, pack up the kids and get to an 8 PM game. If the game ended between 10:15 and 10:30 it would be fine. The games aren't ending until 10 now.

With a 7 PM start, I can't get home from work and back to the stadium in time. Which is a problem if you're trying to go with people who don't work near you.
   46. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 16, 2021 at 04:29 PM (#6008839)


...he called in the other day to a NYC sports talk radio show to congratulate a local host who had achieved some sort of broadcasting milestone. both men are recovering


this is probably pedantic on my part, but your writing style is so loose. The reader cannot tell who the "he" is referring to. It sounds to all appearances that your buddy was the one calling in, but reading the next sentence it is apparently Gooden.
   47. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 16, 2021 at 04:44 PM (#6008843)
Owner Briggs invested in the best system he could get, so for the next 15 years or so they had the best lighting in the AL. It has been said that was a contributing factor to so many batting champs from Detroit (Kell, Kuenn, Kaline, Cash).


[player....year....DET yearly park factor]

Kell 1949 107
Kaline 1955 98
Kuenn 1959 110
Cash 1961 96

That's interesting, my first thought was that this was some sort of old wives tale, but I guess for Kell and Kuenn there must be something to it.
   48. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 16, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6008845)
His day game performances were far superior as I recall...

That's surprising, given his admitted issues.


Like what issues? A known sensitivity to sunlight?
   49. sanny manguillen Posted: March 16, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6008847)
Didn't they move away from 8 pm start times when the oil embargo hit c. 1974? Was there actually a rule, or just teams pitching in? I guess there would have to have been exceptions for national TV games.
   50. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: March 16, 2021 at 07:51 PM (#6008877)
Like what issues? A known sensitivity to sunlight?


Doc's an admitted alcoholic and coke addict, as I imagine you probably know. Ain't so easy to pitch hungover, one would think, though he was a very young man at his best.
   51. Howie Menckel Posted: March 16, 2021 at 10:02 PM (#6008892)
this is probably pedantic on my part

if you can figure out the "he" point in 10 seconds, then.....

"we might never see the likes of that season by Doc ever again, so we made each of his starts a priority.

he called in the other day to a NYC sports talk radio show"

Doc = Doc
we = not Doc
his = Doc
he = Doc

it does follow. could have been even been even clearer but.... I agree with your initial point
   52. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 17, 2021 at 03:12 PM (#6008968)
Yeah Im sorry Howie. I actually like your writing style in many ways because it sounds just like someone naturally talking. I like that one can pick up the cadence and imagine actually listening to you in real life. I think that's a real natural gift to have. But then you say something that grates and I just had to express it. Sorry about that. I do enjoy reading your stories.
   53. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 18, 2021 at 12:55 AM (#6009053)
could have been even been even clearer
Maybe?
   54. TomH Posted: March 18, 2021 at 09:02 AM (#6009063)
night game start times story:

August 1982. On my honeymoon, going to Fenway on a Monday evening. I believe the start time was going to be 7:30. Ah, but.. remember Monday night Game of the Week? This game got picked up for that, last-minute, and this detail I (understandably!) missed. So we show up and the gates aren't even opened yet. Game begins about 8:35. My new lovely wife falls asleep in the 7th inning, in our seats about 15 rows behind Dwight Evans.
   55. . Posted: March 18, 2021 at 10:31 AM (#6009070)
The start times went earlier and earlier in (pretty large) part because they wanted the factory worker young men who were the vast majority of their patrons BITD to have less time to get ####-faced before the games.
   56. Howie Menckel Posted: March 18, 2021 at 10:58 AM (#6009077)
52: apology absolutely unnecessary, and thank you. wouldn't kill me to proofread a little better.

"could have been even been even clearer"

an emoji would have suffocated that joke, while a lack of one made it - well, unclear. tried to thread a needle that wasn't quite in play. ah well.
   57. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 18, 2021 at 11:34 AM (#6009079)
That was probably an extreme case, but it wasn't until the mid-1950's that night games routinely began switching from 8:30 to 8:00, and it wasn't until the late 60's and early 70's that 7:30 became the standard. The current 7:00 starting times are a relatively recent phenomenon.

Just a couple of days ago I found a pocket schedule for the 1968 Seattle Angels of the Pacific Coast League. "Single Night Games" are listed as having an 8 PM start time. "Night doubleheaders" start at 7 PM. I can't imagine starting a double header at 7 PM, with suitable time between games, and ending before the next day.


Even in 1968 I think minor league doubleheaders were 7 innings a game, in which case that 7:00 start makes a bit more sense.

In the Majors those "night doubleheaders" were called "Twi-Night doubleheaders", and were mostly scheduled as makeups for games that had been rained out earlier in the season. They first started at 6:30, and then at some point in the early 60's they began to start at 6:00. I was at a twi-nighter in Baltimore in 1961, on the night that Roger Maris was at 58 home runs with 3 games to go before the "asterisk" kicked in, and according to the box scores in BB-Reference, and allowing for the then-standard 20 minutes between games, the second game ended at 10:55.
   58. . Posted: March 18, 2021 at 05:19 PM (#6009127)
Twi-night doubleheader in Detroit attended by this fan, August 1, 1980, Mariners at Tigers. First game, great pitching matchup between future HOFer Jack Morris and potential HOFer/HOVGer Floyd Bannister. Two hours total. Second game, 2:13. Virtually certain Game 1 start time 5:30, real first pitch 5:35. So first game ends around 7:35. Half hour to change unis and warm up again, Game 2 ends at 10:18, which would be normal if not early for a typical single game in 2021.

Easily doable, done all the time in that era. If that entire arrangement gets a 10 on the aesthetics chart, 2021 is like a 2 or a 3 -- and that's being charitable. (And not including the relative quality of a seat in a steep-sloped upper deck supported by poles, where you could basically hang the upper deck on top of the field, and the more gradual slope backs of today's stadiums.(**) Factor that in and the 2021 becomes like a 1.5.)

(**) The aesthetic decline encapsulated in this simple architectural change doesn't get anywhere near the attention it deserves in baseball's historical narrative, much of which I ascribe to the fact that the two major narrative-culture-commentary-driving fanbases in the country -- Red Sox and Cubs -- haven't had it happen to them.

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