Should Baseball's Modern Era be Redefined?
I was hoping to write a blog on this topic and bumped into the following Jayson Starks article which pretty much summed up my idea. Except , that I originally had 1976 as line of demarcation for the Modern Era; but Starks' article makes a very good case for 1969. Enjoy "Drawing the line at 1969" by Jayson Starks:
Here is an excerpt...
June 5, 2006
In 1900, there was no such thing as air conditioners, movies, corn flakes or bubble gum. But somehow, in baseball, we consider 1900 to be part of the "modern" era. You couldn't listen to a game on a radio in 1900, let alone watch one on DirecTV. And you couldn't buy a Model T to drive to a game, so you sure as heck couldn't fly across country to play in one. But in baseball, those were "modern" times. Well, here in this corner of ESPN.com, we may not be quite as futuristic as, say, Steve Jobs. Or even M Night Shyamalan. But we think we know the difference between modern and ancient. So how can we not wonder: What's up with that?
Just a week ago, we examined the most romantic records in baseball. And we asked you, our loyal readers, about this very question: How the heck can baseball consider anything that happened in 1900 to be a "modern" record? Nearly 500 e-mails later, you people have spoken. Or written, anyway. Many of you agree with us -- that it's time to revise the record book's definition of "modern." Some of you -- possibly the ones who are still walking around in 20-year-old sports jackets -- think we're nutcases for even suggesting anything that sacrilegious. Well, we've considered all the arguments. Now it's time to present our case.
1. Why We Need To Change
It wasn't only the outside world that looked a little different in 1900, back in a time when people's idea of cool technology was a vacuum cleaner. It was baseball itself. Tell us this was the same sport we're watching today:...
2. When Modern Became Modern
Pick a year. Any year. Well, not quite any year. There has to be a decent reason to pick a year when our new "modern" age truly began. And by that, we don't mean the year your grandmother got married. So based on recommendations by our panel of experts and by our readers, we've laid out the best choices:
1920: Babe Ruth starts bopping. "Live-ball era" begins. Baseball invents a job known as "commissioner" in the wake of the Black Sox mess.
1947: The stars are all back from World War II. But more important, Jackie Robinson arrives -- and changes the sport forever.
1961: Expansion kicks in. American League goes to the 162-game season (with the National League to follow a year later). All teams are finally integrated.
1969: Big year. First year of division play and the expanded postseason. Pitcher's mound lowered five inches. Strike zone shrinks. Five-man rotations kicking in. The save is invented. More expansion. Unbalanced schedules.
1973: Designated hitters allowed to roam the baseball earth -- or half of it, anyhow.
1976: Dawn of a little concept we like to call "free agency."
1987: The age of offense erupts. Is it the baseballs? Is it the bats? Is it the fitness centers? Is it Jose Canseco's chemistry set? Yes, yes, yes and yes.
1995: Strike ends. Payroll disparity explodes. Everybody has a new ballpark, or has an architect designing one. Wild cards send purists to the emergency room.
Read whole article @ Drawing the line at 1969 - MLB - ESPN
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