The Rise and Fall of the Deadball Era

By David J. Gordon

This article was published in the Fall 2018 Baseball Research Journal.

If a modern fan could be transported back to a baseball game in 1908, to the strains of the new tune “Take Me out to the Ball Game,” he or she would feel right at home in the Deadball Era. The popular narrative attributes the dearth of offensive production during this period largely to the properties of the ball. While ball-centered theories help explain the end of the Deadball Era, they cannot explain why it began in the first place, since the ball was no “livelier” only seven years earlier . . .

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