Guzzardi: Mourning the death of holiday doubleheaders

From SABR member Joe Guzzardi at the Caledonian Record on July 1, 2019:

Time was, baseball bugs circled Independence Day as a milestone on their calendars.

First, baseball’s longstanding axiom held that the team in first place on July 4 was the likely pennant winner. Second, July 4 offered fans a host of doubleheaders – two games played one immediately following the other for the price of a single admission. On Independence Day 1956, the New York Yankees took on the Boston Red Sox. That afternoon, fans watched the year’s Most Valuable Player, Mickey Mantle, three-time MVP Yogi Berra, and the best hitter who ever lived, Ted Williams, all Hall of Famers. Berra, by the way, caught both ends of the double dip, just as he did 117 times without complaint during his storied career.

Those were the days of two leagues and 16 teams. Today, there are 30 teams, six leagues and multiple playoff levels. With so many games played, the July 4 barometer no longer holds true. And owners long-ago realized that offering two games for the price of one was financial folly. Now, if cancellations force make-up doubleheaders, fans have to endure the insulting day-night split admission.

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Originally published: July 3, 2019. Last Updated: July 3, 2019.