From Dan Hayes at the North (San Diego) County Times on July 3:
Only 13 teams have scored fewer than 400 runs in a season since 1901, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. Eight of the 13 are from the strike-shortened 1981 season and four others played during the dead-ball era (1901-19), when offensive production was scarce. The other team, the 1942 Philadelphia Phillies, who scored 394 runs for an average of 2.61 per game, played in an era when many players were fighting in World War II.
“The most important factor is the era in which the team is playing,” SABR web editor Jacob Pomrenke said. “Lists (for low-scoring offenses) are dominated by three distinct eras: the dead-ball era, the wartime era and the Bob Gibson era (1963-72). … Just like almost all lists for offensive production are dominated by teams from the early 1930s or the late 1990s. It’s just a function of how the game was played in those years.
“The great thing about baseball is that it always cycles. We got gaudy pitching numbers in the late ’80s, then we got gaudy hitting stats in the late ’90s, and now we’re getting more gaudy pitching stats in the late ’00s. If this keeps up for a few more years, something about the game will change and we’ll probably see more gaudy hitting stats in the late 2010s.”
Read the full article here: http://www.nctimes.com/sports/baseball/professional/mlb/padres/article_c81cfe08-03ec-526f-ae8e-8fa7d5fd009e.html
Originally published: July 3, 2011. Last Updated: July 3, 2011.