Why games moved faster in ’59: Batters stayed in box; pitchers worked quickly

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News discovered this gem: A broadcast of a Dodgers-Cardinals game from the Coliseum on July 25, 1959. Jack Brickhouse, a legend, is on the call.

As you know, I’ve been on my soapbox about the maddening length of baseball games. Well, take a look at this video and it is painfully obvious what occurred back then.

The batters stayed in the box between pitches and the pitchers worked quickly. Really simple.

Lo and behold, what was the result? The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 4-2 in 2 hours, 11 minutes.

Oh by the way, the game went 10 innings. Yes, an extra inning game was completed in about the same time it takes the today’s game to get through six innings.

Yesterday’s game times: Detroit-Boston: 3:27; Cardinals-Dodgers: 3:10.

Take a good look at this video, Major League Baseball. This is how they used to play your game. Time to turn back the clock and do it this way again.







6 thoughts on “Why games moved faster in ’59: Batters stayed in box; pitchers worked quickly

  1. Ed, I agree with you that batters stepping out is maddening but you have to stop comparing the length of the games from 40 years ago to now as if it is an apples-to-apples comparison. The commercial breaks today are three minutes between every half inning. That adds up to, at a minimum, 51 minutes per game. How long was it between innings back then? I’d be shocked if it was more than a minute and a half.

    • Based on what you said, even if the breaks went from 90 seconds to 3 minutes, that would add 27 minutes to game time. So 2:11 10-inning game becomes 2:40-2:45. That’s still much less than 3:30.

      It isn’t just the commercials. The pace of the game is much quicker. Watch the video, and see the action moves more.

      • By the way this is not the total game, back in those days a “game of the week” was edited and put together and shipped out to TV stations around the country that did not get the national network “game of the week” because of the blackout restrictions in cities that had major league teams. Jack dubbed over the announcing after the fact.

        Just thought some background on what this is would be helpful.

  2. I agree, the pace now is incredibly slow and drives me nuts too. Just think it’s a bit unfair to not factor in the commercial time. Comparing 3:20 to 2:45 doesn’t sound quite as drastic as 3:20 to 2:10.

  3. Granted, the video isn’t the whole game as it happened, but the posturing really is a big part of the problem. I was watching Boston-Detroit the other night and Benoit literally took 30 seconds between pitches. I fear Cowboy Joe West had been shot with a tranquilizer dart, because he was the plate umpire and not inclined to take it.

    The time between innings is a factor, but they definitely dawdle out there. And the sad part is, any player will tell you that the faster the game, the better he plays. The fielders stay on their toes, but with the game taking so long, they rock back on their heels more.

  4. Games would go WAY quicker if you could just have a guy show up in the middle and recap two boring innings and then move ahead in the action.

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