Is this another “Year of the Pitcher” in Major League Baseball?

In the past few days we’ve had two no-hitters in baseball, and one has to wonder whether we’re in for another outbreak of no-no’s as we had last year. Pitchers seem to have gained the upper hand again as the Steroids Era that produced the astronomical power numbers of just a few years back fades into history.

Major league batters this year are hitting an anemic .249 in the aggregate, and pitchers are hurling at a neat and tidy earned-run average of just 3.82.

Compare that with 2001, the year Barry Bonds slugged 73 home runs: The batting average for both leagues was .267 and the ERA was 4.47.

Over the hundreds of games played each year, the difference in the numbers in seasons with nine years intervening is substantial.

But are we nearing the pitching dominance of 1968, the “Year of the Pitcher” that drove baseball’s leaders to lower the pitcher’s mound to 10 inches¬†from 15?

We’ve got a ways to go. The batting average that year across both leagues was just .237, and the ERA was an astonishingly low 2.98.

Back in 1968 a lot of people wigged out over the relative lack of scoring and the dominance of the pitching. As I remember, it was one exciting season capped off by a terrific World Series pitting “Better Than Any” Denny McLain and his 31 victories for the Tigers against Bob Gibson and his microscopic 1.12 ERA and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Detroit won in seven games in a series that had no shortage of thrills.

I could handle another season like that.

3 responses to “Is this another “Year of the Pitcher” in Major League Baseball?

  1. Hello, I actually think we’ve entered an age of relative parity between hitters and pitchers. It just seems like pitchers have a big edge because of what we remember, as you pointed out, from a decade ago.
    Today’s game feels a lot like the mid-80’s, an underrated era, in my opinion.
    Still, you may be right about another rash of no-hitters. Personally, I like the game better this way.
    Cheers, Bill

  2. Bill: I’m a moderate guy, and I like it this way, too.

  3. I agree. One of the attractions of the game, at least for me, is the technical prowess of pitchers. Pitching, for most is a science, unless you’re Mariano Rivera, then it’s an art. With pitchers being as dominant as they appear to be this season, and going back to last season, I think is good for the game. The better the pitching, the better the hitters have to be.

    VinceV

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