Monday, December 12, 2022

Owners Say Games Too Long; 1962


TRIVIA WINNER: Congrats to Craig McGraw of Nottingham Md., who correctly stated the first year Carl Yastrzemski was paid $100,000 was 1968 the year after he won the Triple Crown. The Prize: Starbucks Gift Card.

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ANSWER to the Trivia question in the previous column: The first year Carl Yastrzemski was paid $100,000 was 1968 the year after he won the Triple Crown..

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NEW TRIVIA QUESTION:  The trade of Bill Skowron to Los Angeles only kept the former Yankee slugger in a Dodger uniform one season. In 1964 he played for two teams and his playing time featured a very unusual statistic. What is the statistic we are looking for?

"Major League Baseball Games are Too Long!" Sound familiar? MLB owners said it in 1962.

With the recently concluded Winter Meetings we thought it interesting to see what happened 60 years ago at the 1962 Winter Meetings. There were some interesting developments. Owners felt the games were going too long so they decided to embark on a strategy to shorten playing time. Games were marathon length and it wasn't unusual for a game to take three hours to play.

        (Dan Pfister gave up 106 Walks for KC which led the AL in Walks Issued)
 The focus quickly turned to the pitchers. The owners voted to limit warm-up pitches from the mound to just five in between innings. It had been eight. The American League added this exception; during the first 30 days of the season pitchers could still take eight warm-ups, figuring it was early on and pitchers may have not had enough spring training work. The next thing they did was look at mound visits by the managers.

The NL decided the manager could only visit the mound once per inning for the same pitcher. A second visit would result in the removal of the pitcher. The AL rule had already been one visit to the mound per the same pitcher, by the manager in an entire game. 

Both leagues agreed that a pitcher awaiting his turn at bat had to do so from the On-Deck Circle. Previously a warm up player could take that spot in the Circle while the pitcher rested on the bench. The AL went even further in that it required a catcher in the On-Deck to remove ALL his catching gear while awaiting his turn to hit.

There also would be "no" Inter-league trading in June. Commissioner Ford Frick said “when you start trading like that in the middle of the season you leave yourself open to considerable criticism,” as “you might even find pennant contenders in one league getting help from low-ranked clubs in the other league and that doesn’t make sense.”

The first trade of the Winter Meetings saw Cleveland sent 3B Bubba Phillips to Detroit for rookie pitchers Ron Nischwitz and Gordon Seyfried. The big trade of the gathering saw the Yankees send 1B Bill Skowron to the rival Dodgers for pitcher Stan Williams. NYY wanted Williams badly despite him giving up the walk that lost the pennant in his final appearance in a Dodger uniform. 

Williams will always be remembered for walking in the winning run during the 1962 National League Playoff against the Giants.

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