This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
For as long as I can remember, baseball has been trying to limit pitching success, primarily based on the belief that fans would prefer to watch a 12-10 slug-fest rather than a good old-fashioned 1-0 pitcher's duel. I guess I suppose to some extent that is a valid assumption, but pitching junkies do constitute a sizable minority. Keep in mind, "as long as I can remember" dates back a few years. I recall both the Megabad Mets of 1962 and the Miracle Mets of 1969. I watched Sandy Koufax before his career was cut short with arm trouble, and Bob Gibson, who single-handedly got the mound lowered. My first favorite pitcher was a guy named Sam McDowell who pitched in the first game I attended in person in 1964. Nasty, nasty stuff.
The lower mound was a big change, and there have been many, many more that have provided increased focus on offense. Not the least of which includes expansion and the changing face of starting pitching. In the early '60s, there were 20 teams, and most teams employed a four-man rotation, with the best pitchers tossing a lot more innings. A pitching staff often included eight to 10 pitchers. That equates to about 180 MLB pitchers with less than half of those contributing the lion's share of innings. Compare that with today where about 500 pitchers will appear in games, and even elite pitchers barely break the 200-inning barrier. That's a huge opportunity for hitters to face weaker