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View Full Version : Interesting Baseball Trivia Fact...


Brian26
12-17-2005, 08:59 PM
I was reading the back of some of the baseball cards I got recently...it's the Topps Heritage line. Anyway, they have little trivia nuggets, and I found this fascinating:

1950 was the first year that home teams officially batted last in games. Up until that time, the home team always had the first choice, and they could bat first if they elected to.

Now- can anyone confirm this? 1950 seems awfully late for this rule to have been enacted...seems more like a early 1900's rule, but who knows.

Railsplitter
12-17-2005, 09:35 PM
Can't confirm, but it might be something akin to the "The Star-Spangled" banner being used as the National Anthem for many years, but not officially adopted until 1931.

TommyJohn
12-17-2005, 09:42 PM
I know it happened a lot in the early 1900's and I remember reading that
the last time it happened was in 1940 or 41, when the Yankees elected
to bat first in a Yankee Stadium game.

Personally, there is one thing I never understood: the boxscores for games
like that. I've seen a few from when the home team batted first, and they
look like this sample:

White Sox - 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 * - 4
Indians- 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1

So how did the 9th inning work? The star always indicates that the team
didn't need to bat, of course. So did they move from the bottom of the
8th to the bottom of the 9th, with the away team essentially getting the
final six outs? I know this is probably a simple thing to figure out and I'd
kick myself if it were explained. It just has me wondering.

TDog
12-17-2005, 09:56 PM
I know it happened a lot in the early 1900's and I remember reading that
the last time it happened was in 1940 or 41, when the Yankees elected
to bat first in a Yankee Stadium game.

Personally, there is one thing I never understood: the boxscores for games
like that. I've seen a few from when the home team batted first, and they
look like this sample:

White Sox - 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 * - 4
Indians- 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1

So how did the 9th inning work? The star always indicates that the team
didn't need to bat, of course. So did they move from the bottom of the
8th to the bottom of the 9th, with the away team essentially getting the
final six outs? I know this is probably a simple thing to figure out and I'd
kick myself if it were explained. It just has me wondering.

I can't confirm how the ninth inning worked, but in cricket, where there are only two innings, the trailing team bats in the top of the second.

Railsplitter
12-18-2005, 08:51 PM
Don't know why I didn't think of this before; then the scenes in The Natural where the New York Knights hit in the bottom of the inning on the road aren't that far fetched.

Fenway
12-18-2005, 10:22 PM
learn something new everyday

from retrosheet.org

http://www.retrosheet.org/newslt14.htm

Although we now take it for granted that the home team bats last, this was only formalized in the rules in 1950. Prior to that it was the home team's option. It would appear that it is always advantageous to bat last, since it gives the chance for a sudden-death win. However, there are interesting cases where the expected did not occur. For example, in the very first game played by the New York Yankees (called the highlanders then), on April 22, 1903, the New Yorkers batted last because the home town Washington Senators chose to bat first. The reason for this selection was to have more chances to bat the new ball, which quickly lost its resilience since games in those days were often played with one ball for the entire contest. Ron Fisher has entered several games from the 1901 New York Evening Telegram and has also encountered cases of the home team choosing to bat first.