Big Sticks: The Batting Revolution of the Twenties

William Curran, Author
William Curran, Author William Morrow & Company $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06469-3
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
When Babe Ruth hit 54 home runs in 1920, he changed the game of baseball, with the result that fans demanded the use of the ``long ball'' that powered homers, players started to swing for the fences and salaries for sluggers began to rise. Yet, as Curran ( Mitts ) points out, the decade saw not only the proliferation of home runs but also a tremendous spurt in batting averages: .400 hitters were no rarity (in the 1930 season 54 batters hit over .300), and even team averages of .300-plus were not uncommon. Many sports writers have wagered that a newly constructed ``hopped-up'' ball was responsible for the transformation, but Curran contends that the cause lay instead in such practices as the outlawing of certain pitches (e.g., the spitball). Regardless, this was baseball's most exciting era--and one in which there is abiding interest, which will be whetted by Curran's fine effort. (Apr.)
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