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Old 01-04-2011, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Vermont / NEK
5,365 posts, read 8,673,401 times
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1975 was a busy year at Shea Stadium as the Mets and Jets shared their home field with the Yankees and Giants. Meadowlands Stadium was not yet completed and Yankee Stadium was being refurbished. The year marked the only time that two professional baseball and football teams called the same field "home".

Three teams played at Shibe Park in Philadelphia for more than a decade in the 40s and 50s. The A's, Phillies and Eagles all regularly used the same park.
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Elizabethton, TN
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The first two "Subway" World Series, played in 1921 and '22, were technically not subway series because all games were played at the Polo Grounds, the home field for both participants, the Giants and Yankees.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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The first use of artificial turf on a sports field was not anything planned, but rather a response to an unanticipated calamity.

The Houston Astrodome opened in 1965 and featured Tifway 419, a strain of Bermuda grass developed specifically to grow indoors. It might have worked well except that the Astrodome's roof was composed of clear panels made of Lucite. These panels picked up the sun and reflected it onto the playing surface in the form of a blinding glare which made tracking a flyball extremely difficult. After a series of misadventures, the solution was to paint the offending panels white, allowing light but reducing the glare. Also reduced was sufficient sunlight to make the Tifway 419 grass grow, or even live. The Astrodome field literally died and the team finished out their first year there playing on dirt and dead grass which was painted green to distinguish it from the infield and warning tracks, but was still dead grass and dirt, not turf.

By coincidence, the Monsanto company had been working on the development of "ChemGrass" and in 1965, they arrived at a satisfactory formula but had not even gotten around to patents yet when the Astros came calling with their emergency problem. The product was so new that not enough had been produced to cover the entire field, so the Astros started the '65 season with an artificial infield surface and an outfield still composed of painted dead grass and dirt. The outfield received artificial turf in late July of that year.

Having such a showcase for their product, the Monsanto people changed the name from "ChemGrass" to "AstroTurf"..which is what most artificial turf is called these days, even though there are now numerous companies producing their own versions of it.

The Astrodome was the world's first domed sports stadium and in its 35 year history as the home of the Astros, it of course never experienced a rainout....well...actually it did. In June of 1976, the Houston area experienced severe rainstorms which caused massive flooding in the city, so much so that the June 15th game aganst the Pirates was cancelled because the umpires and all but a few fans, were unable to reach the stadium. The teams had managed to make it, but in the absense of fans and umps, they just sat around waiting. At 5pm the umpires arrived, saw that most of the the few fans who had been there had long since left, and called off the game. Instead of a game, picnic tables were brought out onto the playing surface and the handful of fans who had stayed, were invited to join the teams and the umps for dinner.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:59 PM
 
Location: Elizabethton, TN
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Default Treys Are Wild

In 1929-31 the Philadelphia A's won 3 consecutive AL pennants but did not win another until (as the Oakland A's) they again won 3 straight in 1972-74. After another drought they again won 3 in a row from 1988-90. Six of these nine pennant winners also won the World Series.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Vermont / NEK
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At the conclusion of spring training in 1970 the Seattle Pilots still existed as a team after their first and only season in 1969. On April 1, a bankruptcy ruling cleared the way for their move to Milwaukee with Bud Selig becoming the new owner. With less than a week remaining before the season opener there was barely enough time to restitch the old Pilots uniforms to display the new Brewers Logo. The outline of the Pilots logo could still be seen on the "new" ones and since the Pilots had played in the AL West, so did the Brewers for their first 2 seasons.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Among the most frequently encountered and strongly believed pieces of misinformation about MLB is the idea that the ball was juiced in 1920 or 1921, ushering in the lively ball era.

In fact, there was no alteration to the ball at that time.

The ball has been altered twice, neither time in any sort of clandestine manner. The first was around 1910 when the cork centered ball was introduced. The second was in 1930 when the manufacturing process was altered to make the seams lie flatter.

What happened in 1921 was a series of rule changes, all of which promoted hitting over pitching. As a response to the death of Ray Chapman who had been beaned and killed in 1920, balls were now to be removed and replaced as soon as any signs of wear and tear were visible on the one being used. Now instead of balls with stains and rips being employed, hitters were seeing only fresh, white baseballs.

The other major rule change was the outlawing of doctored baseballs. No more spitters, mudballs, dirtballs, cutballs and shineballs were allowed. There was a grandfather clause which allowed each club to designate two pitchers as scuffballers, provided they had been in MLB the previous year and had established that they relied on junk pitches to make their living. Once these exceptions retired, that was to be it.

Thus, what is called the "Lively Ball Era", the period between 1920 and WW II, was not really predicated upon the ball becoming more lively, just cleaner, easier to see, and less likely to be taking some strange dip or bend because it was covered in spit, soap, pine tar or the stiches had come loose.

The lowered seam ball of 1930 had triggered a one season explosion of offense unmatched by any other, and MLB decided that it had gone too far in helping batters. Starting with the 1931 season, the stiches were raised back to their previous levels, and a slightly thicker cover was used. Offensive rates declined immediately, but remained high relative to the pre 1920 scoring totals.

Throughout the 1920's, the inflated levels of offense had persuaded many writers and fans that the ball had been "juiced" in some manner, and the decade was marked by repeated ML denials, as well as numerous independent tests being conducted. None of the tests were able to detect any changes to the balls.

When Babe Ruth advanced the single season hr mark from 29 to 54 in 1920, he was doing it while hitting the same quality of baseball that Ty Cobb had been hitting in 1911. Babe Ruth's muscles, and his end of the bat style of swinging, were responsible for his accomplishments, not some rabbit ball. Ruth was incredibly influential in that he showed what was possible. Throughout the '20's, more and more players began using the Ruth style of hitting, and switching to bats with slimmer handles to increase bat speed and go for the homerun.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Vermont / NEK
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I could be wrong about this and I'm ready to take my lumps:

With the notable exception of the Yankees, all MLB teams have a third jersey these days for the regular and post season. Many teams wear a special uni on select weekend days (like the Braves on Sundays at home) and other commemorative occasions. But the wearing of the alternate jersey the rest of the time is most commonly determined by ...

Spoiler
the home team's starting pitcher
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Elizabethton, TN
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According to Baseball Almanac, batting helmets became mandatory in MLB in 1971, more than 50 years after Ray Chapman was killed by a pitched ball.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Vermont / NEK
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^ Boston's Bob Montgomery was the last to not wear a helmet. He was the backup catcher for the Sox from 1970-79 and was grandfathered in under the rule. I always thought he looked a bit odd at the plate without one.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:07 AM
 
Location: Elizabethton, TN
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St. Louis Browns lefty Hub Pruett had a lifetime record of 29-48 with a 4.63 ERA, but Babe Ruth hit only .182 against him, striking out 15 times in 30 at-bats.
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