Neyer: Ten failed baseball experiments

From SABR member Rob Neyer at The National Pastime Museum on January 22, 2016:

As a baseball fan, I crave innovation. If it’s innovation that actually gains a real foothold in the sport, great. But baseball, at least on the field, has existed in approximately its current form since . . . oh, about 1920?

Or if you like, pick 1947. Or 1958. Pick any year.

Which is fine! One of the appealing things about baseball is that if you hopped in a time machine and traveled to the 1932 World Series, everything would make perfect sense (except for the lily-white players and all the smoke in the stands). But there is a certain . . . sameness in baseball, which is partly because baseball people are wildly conservative but mostly because all the easy, effective innovations were figured out a long time ago by men like John McGraw and Connie Mack.

Which is why it’s so thrilling when something new happens, and it actually sticks. Remember a few years ago when Tony La Russa started batting his pitcher eighth and everybody said he was crazy? Well, he might have been crazy but now a bunch of National League managers do it.

Most experiments don’t stick, but there are some pretty interesting stories that developed from the effort. What follows aren’t the 10 most important failed experiments in Major League history, but rather the 10 that I most felt like writing about. I’m sure I missed a few good ones, and I’d love to hear about your favorites.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 25, 2016. Last Updated: January 25, 2016.