Friday, November 22, 2013

Sixty Years Ago

Some of you many know this, but until the 1950s, it was standard practice for fielders to leave their gloves on the field when they returned to the dugout to bat. This created the obvious problems of batted balls hitting gloves and fielders tripping over them. It's hard for me to envision the whole concept.

It seems that every innovation in baseball is met with resistance, whether it's the DH or instant replay. But wouldn't you think that something that makes sense, like not leaving gloves on the field, would be accepted by acclimation?

Think again. As this article from explains, the requirement to remove gloves from the field was initially opposed. Several minor leagues said they wouldn't enforce it. The Commissioner and the president of the National Association (which governed the minor leagues; it's known as Minor League Baseball today) had to issue "sharp warnings" to address the "widespread dissatisfaction" over the change. 

The concern was that requiring players to take their gloves with them to the dugout would "delay games and encourage stalling." I am trying to figure out how that makes any sense at all. Still working on it.

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