In the early 1960s, Baseball feared the rising number of Latinos in the game, but in this area, at least, the game has been a positive example for tolerance.
Harry “Cookie” Lavagetto played second and third base for the Pirates and Dodgers in the 1930s and 40s and remains known for delivering one of the great moments in World Series history, the pinch-hit double that broke up Bill Bevens’ no-hitter with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 1947 World Series. Ironically, it was his last hit in the majors—not even Ted Williams got a police escort off the field after his last hit. After being cut by the Dodgers, Lavagetto played for some excellent Pacific Coast League teams with his hometown Oakland Oaks, including the 1948 league champions, then went on to a long career as a coach and manager.
Lavagetto was the last manager of the original Washington Senators and the first manager of the Minnesota Twins. It was in the latter capacity that he gave the 1961 interview, titled “The Challenge from Latin-America” in Baseball Digest. Author Dick Gordon wrote:
While there were only 45 Latins (or seven percent of the of the total) on major league rosters this spring, the number is steadily increasing. And the fact that there are an estimated 500 of them in organized ball already indicates the threat of a Castro etc. “invasion” not by soldiers armed with rifles but by athletes with rifle arms.
Dan looks into the relationship between triples and body mass index over decades to get a better sense of baseball's ever-increasing level of play.
"I don't know why people like the home run so much. A home run is over as soon as it starts....The triple is the most exciting play of the game. A triple is like meeting a woman who excites you, spending the evening talking and getting more excited, then taking her home. It drags on and on. You're never sure how it's going to turn out."
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Before jumping to conclusions about the effects of the new testing policy on offensive levels, consider how demographic shifts have impacted the player pool.
It doesn't accomplish anything to ignore the 500-pound gorilla in the room. It's entirely possible that this change is the result of baseball's harsher steroid policy. However, it's also worth remembering that offensive levels have often fluctuated wildly from season to season, usually with no apparent cause. Leonard Koppett, in his Concise History of Major League Baseball, became so frustrated with the whole fluctuation thing that he essentially just came to the conclusion that the ball was juiced for some seasons, and not in others, and that was that. Koppett didn't offer any proof of this per se, apart from the book's general message that baseball's history is full of incompetent and corrupt personalities, and it would not be beyond those sorts of personalities to do something like juice the baseball. In the absence of other explanations--why did offense shoot up so suddenly in 1987, and just as suddenly shoot back down?--Koppett found the juiced ball theory to be the path of least resistance.