Mickey, Willie & The Duke
I need some help, understanding today’s Major League Baseball. I’m missing something, and maybe someone can help fill in the blanks.
When I was a kid, Major League Baseball had 16 teams, and even if you weren’t in a ‘baseball household,’ the best baseball players were well known to everybody.
Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Duke Snider, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Joe DiMaggio, Sandy Koufax, Henry Aaron, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, and others, were all well known names. They were all sought after, for late nite TV talk shows. They were baseball’s best talent, and those not necessarily interested in baseball, knew exactly who they were.
These guys were the super stars of Major League Baseball, America knew that, and held them in the highest esteem. While I never saw Joe DiMaggio play, his name lends to the point of this Cubs Crossings entry.
Where did this caliber of player disappear? What changes took place?
Back then, it seemed like a very big deal if, a pitcher were to hit the dirt. It used to be unacceptable, a real cause for concern. It didn’t seem to be acceptable from a Major League pitcher. Now, it seems to be acceptable to lose a pitch in the dirt, as long as it’s not repeated……too many times.
An ERA approaching 4.00 was cause for concern, and now it’s okay with many pitchers at 5.00, and more.
Then, a CG for a pitcher was the normal expectation. Now, it’s a matter of pitch count. A pitcher could still be strong but, some Managers will pull a strong pitcher with a few too many pitches, and replace with a question mark from the bullpen.
Then, you used to attend games with enthusiasm, to watch a brilliant, complete game pitching performance, coupled with the .300 hitters. The power hitters.
.300 was magic, and Ted Williams was the master magician when it came to hitting. There are plenty of hitters in MLB but, not of the caliber I remember from my childhood. Nobody spells f-e-a-r at the plate, any more. They all seem, in varying degrees, vulnerable. When Mays, Mantle, Aaron, Musial, and Williams approached the plate, they were larger than life.
Maybe, the magic is only missing because, my childhood is no longer in tact. Maybe I’m not looking close enough at today’s game. I’m perplexed over this, and maybe someone reading this, has some insight to offer.