Opening day is behind us and another MLB season is officially here!
Baseball has continually evolved over the course of the past 150 years. For the most part, the basic rules of the game haven't changed that much. With that said, it has come a long way in terms of rules and regulations. If we went back in time to the early days, the game would be unrecognizable from the one we know today.
Here are 5 insane rules that players use to have to follow:
One flat sided bat from (1885 - 1893)
Due to the lack of scoring in the NL the baseball bat was allowed to be flat. Could you imagine? For eight years batter’s had an insane advantage while playing. You can probably guess why it didn’t last very long. An absolute nightmare for pitchers.
Batter’s could request where they wanted the ball (1867- 1887)
Before stepping into the box the player could tell the pitcher where he wanted the ball. Either from the knee to the belt or belt to the shoulders. In today’s day and age? A player can only dream.
Until 1883, Fielders were allowed to “catch” a player out on fly balls or pop ups with one bounce.
We know it sounds ridiculous but it kind of makes sense when you think about it. Catchers only started wearing gloves for the first time in the 1870’s but it wasn’t considered cool. How would you feel if you caught a ball straight on without any protection? Why catch the ball on the fly when you could wait for it to slow down and not break a couple fingers?
Pitchers were required to throw underhand until 1883.
Bowling anyone? In all seriousness, talk about a hitter's heaven. Back then, the pitcher didn't have to worry about striking out the hitter. In fact, it wasn't a good look if the pitcher even attempted to throw a fastball.
In 1887, a walk was equivalent to a hit.
Yup, you guessed it. Batting averages skyrocketed! 11 players finished that season with averages of .400 or better. There would only be two players with that accomplishment if it wasn't for that rule. Thankfully, the rule only lasted one year.