Perplexed by the challenges inherent in comparing players across very distant eras? Step into Steve’s Baseball Time Machine, and take a ride along with a certain shortstop with a German accent. Who knows, we might learn something…
The parking lot dust rises to your nostrils, and then a sudden gust of wind — hot, dry, and gritty — also bids you good morning. Heat, dust, and wind, in every imaginable combination, are your ever-present summertime companions in this region. You’re in the West Texas-New Mexico League. If you’re a hitter, you’re in paradise. If you’re a pitcher, you’re in some deep lowest rung of sheer hell.
In the nightcap of a doubleheader, Steve takes his look at the American and National Leagues from the mid-1950s up to the present day. Along the way, we see the AL take some wrong turns and wind up somewhat lost, only to then find the Road to Redemption — leading us to our current curious condition.
In this first installment of a two-parter, Steve takes a fresh look at the two-major-league system in baseball from 1901 through 1955, finding the similarities and differences between the styles and qualities of play on the field, and the performance at the turnstile.
Will the “Curse of October First” continue to bedevil the Giants in 2004, or will the ballclub — clearly inferior to the 2003 version that won 100 games — be able to prevail in a decidedly unimpressive NL West?
If you have no idea what Steve’s talking about here, forget it. You never will. Don’t worry about it. But if you do, then you know exactly what he’s talking about. You’re of a certain age range and you became enraptured with Strat-o-Matic at a certain point. Your life would never be the same.
A close look at America – and baseball – in the 1950s reveals that it was a time not at all like the dull, boring stereotype that’s often presented. It was an era of conflict and extaordinarily rapid change. Steve takes a look at this in baseball, from issues of race, geography, technology, the major/minor league structure, and the style of the game itself on the field.