As early as the 1880s, many basic baseball strategies-pitching high and tight or low and away; first basemen lining up well wide of the base they were "covering"; throwing breaking balls and change-ups; bunting as well as swinging away-were already in use. But the history of the game is a story of changes that have been controversial for fans and players.
Leonard Koppett takes the reader through the long-standing back-and-forth over the balance between offense and defense-dead balls versus lively balls, changes in the strike zone and mound height, and arguments about competitive balance among teams in different eras. He explores the controversies over the introduction of night baseball, radio and TV broadcasting, the farm system, domed stadiums, the expansion draft to create ten-team leagues, divisional play-offs, franchise moves to new cities, and interleague play.
How baseball as business affects the nature of the game is an issue throughout the book. Whether he's talking about free agency, strike actions, or the policies of different commissioners and owners, Koppett is never afraid to say whose interests are being served.
A major portion of each chapter is devoted to Koppett's lively narratives of the shape and significance of each season from 1892 through 1995. On each point, Koppett has the facts, the stories, and an opinion about what works for the game and what doesn't....Continua