Clipping:Strikes for an out reduced back to three; players cut out of the decision process

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Date Wednesday, November 23, 1887
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[reporting the joint rules committee meeting 11/15/1885] The tug of war came when rule 48 was reached. All sections passed muster until section 3, when an amendment was made that the batsman becomes a base-runner after three strikes have been declared. Jimmy Williams opposed this. He wanted to see heavy batting and thought a change would interfere with it. Phelps also took a hand, but Barnie was on the fence. When voting came, however, Barnie and Phelps receded and the word “three” was inserted. The League was solid for three strikes. The Sporting Life November 23, 1887

President Ward, of the Brotherhood, thinks that, on the whole, the changes made by the joint rules committee were not good and deplores the absence of assistance from a committee of players, as was the case last year when Anson, Ward and Comiskey were invited to be present and give their views and labors to the joint committee. This year, for some reason, the players, who are nothing if not practical, were totally ignored. “The return of the three-strike rule,” said Ward, “is certainly a step in the wrong direction. When the code was revised a year ago the object sought was mainly the encouragement of batting. With this in view, restrictions were placed upon the pitcher and an additional strike allowed the batsman. I have no doubt that the fourth strike about compensated for the abolition of the high and low ball. It also operated to give a batter additional confidence. With the leeway which it gave him he was not apt to go to the bat rattled and nervous. I think the change will soon manifest itself in the way of decreased stick work.” The Sporting Life November 30, 1887

[from Harry Palmer's column][from an interview of Ward] I see no necessity for such a change [from four to three strikes]. I think it was due to the fact that the batting averages ran over .400 this year. But that indicates nothing. The actual hitting of our heavy batsmen is but little heavier this year than last. It was the credit of a hit for a base on balls that raised the averages. The Sporting Life November 30, 1887

Source Sporting Life
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings

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