Playing Games: Back-Gammons, Chass, and Simple Simon, II
My friend Murray has a good point:
So, Frank Robinson says that it was a cab ride to dead center at the Polo Grounds? Do you think he minded the 279' left field line? Does he exclude the "Chinese Home Runs" (there's a term you can't use any more, but that's what they called them in the heyday of baseball under Coogan's Bluff) he hit there from his career totals? How about Fenway before they built the 600 Club? Is Frank going to give back his Boston HRs?
The same people complain that it's impossible to hit homers at the new Tiger Stadium (I've decided not to use new ballpark names I dislike--feel free to join the movement)...
Selective memory is a dangerous thing. What deserves a little more play is the idea that we abandoned the minimum distance requirements. And architectural curiosities in dimensions that have no real-estate based purposes in the new parks annoy me.
I couldn't agree more. As far as cheap home runs look no further than Ned Williamson's 1884 season with the Cubbies. His 27 homers were greatly aided by the ground rules and a short rightfield porch in Lake Front Park. Balls over the fence counted only as a double prior to 1884. In 1885, West Side Park became the home of the Cubs (then still White Stockings). Williamson's "record" stood until the age of Ruth. Actually, it was unearthed when they were investigating how unique were Ruth's home run feats. He finally was credited with the record before he relinquished it to Ruth.