Jock and Balls
10 Craziest Baseball Rules
The guy in the photo above is Alexander Cartwright, and he’s credited with inventing the modern game of baseball. Only problem is that those initial rules from the 1840s were pretty messed up, in comparison to how baseball is played today. We’ve lauded a lot of these old timey baseball guys with handlebar mustaches in the past, but we might have to take it all back. In the 1800s, baseball was a goofy game with a lot of stupid rules. These guys would probably crap themselves if they had to face guys like Justin Verlander or Alex Rodriguez today.
My great great Von Paris grandfather was a big fan of baseball. When he arrived in Baltimore in 1892 as a young German immigrant, the (5-0-1): Boston Beaneaters (102-48) had beaten the Cleveland Spiders (93-56) in the 1892 Championship Series. My great great grandfather meanwhile began a small business to help people move their belongings as their jobs relocated around Baltimore. One hundred plus years later, Von Paris Moving and Storage is known as the best Baltimore movers bar none if you want the most reliable, professional service to transport both residential and business goods from point A to point B. The business has remained in the family with third, fourth and fifth generation family members continuing to provide outstanding service as “The Mover with the Gentle Touch.” And I want you to know we are all baseball fans. In fact Von Paris has moved many professional sports teams including the Balitmore Orioles!
Here are The 10 Craziest Baseball Rules You Would Never Believe Existed.
Besides the whole “no minorities” thing that we’re glossing over, that is.
10. Pitchers Could Cover Balls With Just About Anything
Before 1920, pitchers could cover the ball with spit, Vaseline, road kill, Nickelodeon slime or whatever the hell else they wanted. It apparently worked. That Babe Ruth guy didn’t start hitting a billion home runs a year until they outlawed it. We don’t actually know for a fact they used road kill, but that whole ‘Dead Ball Era’ thing would make more sense if they did.
9. Balls And Strikes Didn’t Really Exist
When baseball started, hitters just kind of stood at the plate whacking away until they hit the ball somewhere in fair territory. That created a question of what constituted a walk (see Rule Four) or a strikeout. In 1887, walks were even considered hits. And that was also the first year that batters were awarded first base if they got hit by a pitch. Called strikes didn’t even exist until 1858. And until 1863, base runners would run advance on foul balls. And as you’ll see in Rule Three, they didn’t necessarily run to the correct bases.
Have you ever seen a Little League game with 6-year-olds? It’s pretty terrible. That’s how we imagine old timey baseball must have looked. We even picture an old farmer so terrible at hitting, that his coach has to bring out a tee.
8. Catchers Had Zero Protection
See that old timey idiot in the picture below? It’s not his fault. Chest protectors weren’t introduced into baseball until 1885. It wasn’t until six years after that when catchers got to wear padded mitts. These poor bastards just had to stand there in a dumb stance and wait to get their goddamn faces blown off with a foul tip. But, then again, you’ll see from #1 that these guys weren’t really facing ‘the heat’ from pitchers until 1883. It’s just amazing it took the rules committee two years to realize that catching was a fairly dangerous job.
7. Pitchers Used To ‘Throw’ From 45 Feet
You’ll notice in the picture below that the pitcher (who isn’t even on a mound) looks crazily close to the batter. That’s because the whole 60-feet-6-inches thing didn’t exist until 1893. But hey, that’s 15.5 feet shorter to hurl your heavy-as-hell Vaseline/spit/pubes ball towards your poor bastard catcher.
6. Hitters Had Flat Bats
For some reason that we can’t figure out, hitters used to have flat bats until 1893. They really took their cricket influence seriously. Why did they want to use paddle bats? Maybe they wanted to spankthe ball. Sounds pretty lame to us.
4. Hitters Got Nine Balls Before They Walked
We said in Rule Nine that baseball rule makers had a real hard time with balls and strikes, but in 1879 it was decided that nine balls made a walk. How bad did a pitcher have to be to walk somebody in 1879? You would’ve had to be blind. It wasn’t until 1889 that the number was finally whittled down to four.
3. Base Runners Didn’t Have To Touch Every Base
From 1858 – 1864, base runners didn’t have to touch every base in order. Did they also play the “Benny Hill Show” song while these goofballs ran all over the field?
2. Batters Could Call For The Type Of Pitch They Wanted
From 1867-1887, batters had the privilege of calling for a low pitch or a high pitch. What was the point of pitching? Did the pitcher also have to wipe the batter after they went to the bathroom?
1. Pitchers Threw Underhand
That should blow your mind. Major League Baseball officially started in 1876, but it wasn’t until 1883 that pitchers were allowed to throw overhand. The initial rules of baseball stated that pitchers had to throw the ball as if they were pitching a horseshoe. So these old batters got to call for their pitch and get it thrown to them underhand. They couldn’t step towards the plate. No wonder the pitchers covered the balls in battery acid and pig manure.
Love baseball (or battery acid and pig manure)? Check out our lists on 10 Baseball Players You Wouldn’t Want To Sit On You and 10 Worst Baseball Teams Of The Past 30 Years.
The 8 Ugliest Baseball Uniforms Of The 1970’s
The 1970’s were a dark era for the baseball uniform. Just look at that douchey Phillies uniform above. The classic logos and button-down looks took a back seat to loud disco-era colors and the aesthetics of a psychedelic sleepover. Or something. They just looked bad. And you thought this year’s NBA All-Star jerseys looked stupid. Here are The 8 Ugliest Baseball Uniforms of the 1970’s.
8. 1969-1971 Oakland Athletics
Really, Oakland A’s? Sleeveless with a big yellow electric banana suit? We know you had Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter and Rollie Fingers, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to dress like Jimi Hendrix during road games.
7. 1978-1981 Chicago Cubs
The baby blue road jerseys of the late ’70’s were bad enough without adding white pinstripes. The sight of Bill Buckner and Dave Kingman on your team is bad enough.
6. 1971-1972 Baltimore Orioles
Somebody tell Charlie Brown that The Great Pumpkin did exist.
5. 1977-1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
They actually won the ‘79 World Series looking like school buses. The pillbox hat was a nice touch. They actually brought these uniforms back from 1981-1984, right before the skinny Barry Bonds era. At what point do you stop looking like pirates and start looking like you’re in your p.j.’s after a night at Studio 54?
4. 1979 Philadelphia Phillies
Poor Mike Schmidt. He’d have to wait a whole year to win the World Series, the MVP Award and not look like a ketchup bottle for part of the season.
3. 1975-1977 Cleveland Indians
Throughout the ’70’s, the Indians always had pretty awful jerseys. They did manage to keep Chief Wahoo hidden for the most part, but when they went to the wacky font and an all red road jersey,that’s when they were most offensive
2. 1976-1981 Chicago White Sox
If disco died at Comiskey Park in 1979, sh*tty uniforms had to wait until 1982 to meet their death on Chicago’s South Side. The Good Guys didn’t wear black until 1990. And from 1976-1981 the Good Guys wore sailor suit softball pajamas.
1. 1972-1973 San Diego Padres
At 6′6″ Dave Winfield’s 1973 rookie uniform was a whole lotta barf-and-diarrhea-colored fabric. 1972 and ‘73 were definitely two years that San Diego did not keep it classy
The 8 Worst Baseball Trades Of The Past 25 Years
As the trade deadline inches closer in Major League Baseball, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the trades over years (with 20/20 hindsight) to talk about the worst trades on the books. How would the now-defunct Expos have looked with Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez? How bad would theGeorge W. Bush-run Rangers love the Sammy steroid years? We’ll never know. But here are The 8 Worst Baseball Trades of the Past 25 Years.
8. 1989: The Rangers Trade Wilson Alvarez, Sammy Sosa and Scott Fletcher to the White Sox for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique
This is the trade that George W. Bush calls the biggest mistake of his adulthood. So you know it has to be bad. Alvarez pitched a no hitter in his first start with the Sox. And Sammy went on to be a superstar. It was almost as if he was on a crapload of steroids. But it shouldn’t be that bad considering Harold Baines is no chump.
That’s pretty bad, but not quite as bad as…
7. 1992: The White Sox Trade Sammy Sosa and Ken Patterson to the Cubs for George Bell
George Bell was a flat out smelly turd for the White Sox. George W. Bush should be happy he didn’t make this call.
6. 1993: The Dodgers Trade Pedro Martinez to the Expos for Delino DeShields
Remember when Delino DeShields was a hotshot young player? We kinda do. Put Pedro would go on to win the first of his 3 Cy Young Awards with the Expos before they decided they didn’t want to play baseball in Montreal anymore.
5. 1991: The Orioles Trade Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley to the Astros for Glenn Gavis
Schilling wasn’t amazing on the Astros, but he did end up winning 3 rings and immortalizing the bloody sock. Harnisch was an All-Star for the Astros and Finley would go on to two All-Star Games. Glenn Davis would break his jaw fighting other sumbags in a bar. His 13 home runs in ‘92 were the most he’d hit the rest of his lousy career.
4. 1989: The Expos Trade Randy Johnson, Gene Harris and Brian Holman to the Mariners for Mark Langston and Mike Campbell
Hey Expos, do you want a future 300 game winner? Do you want a one-two punch of Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez? No? Okay. No wonder you don’t have a team anymore.
3. 1997: The Mariners Trade Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to the Red Sox for Heathcliff Slocumb
It’s not like Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek are bona fide Hall of Famers, but that trade is two really good players for Heathcliff motherf*cking Slocumb. Varitek and Lowe have gone on to a combined 5 All-Star Games. Slocumb washes cars in our parking lot.
2. 1990: The Red Sox Trade Jeff Bagwell to the Astros For Larry Andersen
Back when the Red Sox hated winning, they got the mediocre Andersen to ‘help out’ in the bullpen. Pete Gammons huffed and puffed abut the Red Sox trading away a future batting champion. He’s not in the Hall of Fame for nothing. Bagwell would win the 1991 Rookie of the Year, win the 1994 MVP and play in 4 All-Star Games in 15 years with the Astros.
1. 1987: The Tigers Trade John Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander
8 All-Star Games and a Cy Young later, Detroit NATIVE John Smoltz is still rubbing it in the Tigers’ faces. Doyle Alexander? Come on.