Experts knew that pitcher wins were b.s. the moment they began publishing them

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This post by baseball historian John Thorn is about the various changes the record book has seen with respect to pitcher wins over the years and is well worth your time just to see how the messy business of compiling the historical record can be at times.

But an aside at the beginning makes it for me. In it, Thorn quotes the Sporting News which, in 1888, published pitcher won-loss records for the first time. And the VERY FIRST TIME they did it, the Sporting News said this:

On July 7, 1888, The Sporting News for the first time published win-loss records, and only then after the following disclaimer: ‘It seems to place the whole game upon the shoulders of the pitcher and I don’t believe it will ever become popular even with so learned a gentleman as Mr. Chadwick to father it. Certain it is that many an execrable pitcher game is won by heavy hitting at the right moment after the pitcher has done his best to lose it.’”

You say that now — or, at the very least, when arguing for Felix Hernandez in a Cy Young race or against Jack Morris in the Hall of Fame vote — and you get labeled some new age robo-stats enthusiast who doesn’t understand what baseball is really all about.

The best part of baseball history is how it shows how messed up some people are when it comes to baseball current events.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.