Clipping:A radical rules proposal to reduce uncertainties

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Date Sunday, October 30, 1870

We give below a communication from a correspondent in regard to a radical change in the rules. We should like to hear from others as to their views on any needed changes:

“October 27, 1870

“EDITORS OF THE N.Y. SUNDAY MERCURY: To relieve baseball of one of its uncertainties I propose as the following alterations:

“1. To count the runs by bases–that is, once around four runs, and not one as now–one run. The game now, from the present method of counting, often goes to the club making the fewest bases, and necessarily playing the poorer game, for clearly one base is as hard to make as another. Let us presume, for the sake of illustration, that for nine innings a club gets three men on the bases and then loses the third hand, that would be nine “Chicagos.” Now, let us suppose they are beating by their opponents by a score of 9 to 0, their opponents having no men left, the total number of bases made by the winners is 36, by the losers 54, and yet the latter have played a better game, for no one can claim it is more difficult to make any one particular base than any other.

“2. This alteration should be so in justice to the individual players. A gets to his first, B follows and bats to third: A gets home and counts 1, B is left on third and counts nothing, and yet B is the man that has done the work.

“3. I propose that the game be lengthened to not less than twelve innings–the uncertainties of the game are certainly better averaged in a long game than in a short one. Do you believe that the “Reds” can keep up a score of 7 to 1 with the Mutuals? If they cannot, then the result of the late game must by the consequence of unevenness in the chances of the game to reduce to chances to equality lengthen the game. I once was beaten thirteen times hand-running, cracking “Lou,” and yet at the forty-ninth crack I was even. To illustrate again my first proposition I refer to the game of billiards; it is used to count white and red 2; to the reds 3. It was altered simply because it was just a hard to make one carom as the other; so with baseball, it is just as hard to run one base as another, and ought to count accordingly.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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