Keri: Why does the 2014 MLB season suddenly feel like 1968?

From Jonah Keri at on April 23, 2014:

Less than a month into the 2014 baseball season, we’re already reveling in the game’s many intricacies. One trend in particular has reared its ugly head with all the subtlety of a Bartolo Colon at-bat: Nobody, it seems, can hit worth a damn.

Through Monday,* major leaguers were hitting just .248. The MLB-wide batting average hasn’t been below .250 once this millennium. In fact, over a full season, that mark would rank as the sixth-lowest over the last 50 years.


Note the specific seasons that appear on both charts, though. The bulk of results came during historically poor periods for offense in the mid-to-late 1960s and early 1970s. The top year on each list is the Year of the Pitcher, the 1968 season that saw Carl Yastrzemski post the lowest batting average ever to lead the league (.301) and Bob Gibson deliver the lowest ERA ever for a qualified starting pitcher (1.12). If 2014 is lumping in with a season that featured mounds as high as skyscrapers, something’s definitely going on. But what?

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Originally published: April 23, 2014. Last Updated: April 23, 2014.