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Thread: Home Team Batting First

  1. #1
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    Home Team Batting First

    How many times in the 20th century did the home team choose to bat first?

    I'm curious - don't know the answer. I do know that the rule mandating that the home team bat last wasn't enacted until 1950.

    The one I know of - on 7/16/1908 Frank Chance chose for his Cubs to bat first.

    Also, does anyone have an idea of how many games per year - going back into the 19th century until it was common - wher this occurred?

  2. #2
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    I'd figure the home teams would bat first regularly until the 1920s when the live ball was here to stay? (and they replaced balls in play more regularly after the Chapman incident)
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  3. #3
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    From what I've read, home teams were almost exclusively batting last after the mid or early 1890s.

  4. #4
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    And this is the only post-1874 and pre-1911 boxscore I can find

    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/boxscore/06121880.shtml

    Actually retrosheet is pretty good about telling when the home team batted first, even if they only have two really old years

    http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/index.html
    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
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  5. #5
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    Here's some good info.

    http://www.retrosheet.org/newslt14.txt
    Although we now take it for granted that the home team bats last, this
    was only formalized in the rules in 1950. Prior to that it was the home
    team's option. It would appear that it is always advantageous to bat
    last, since it gives the chance for a sudden-death win. However, there
    are interesting cases where the expected did not occur. For example, in
    the very first game played by the New York Yankees (called the
    highlanders then), on April 22, 1903, the New Yorkers batted last
    because the home town Washington Senators chose to bat first. The
    reason for this selection was to have more chances to bat the new ball,
    which quickly lost its resilience since games in those days were often
    played with one ball for the entire contest. Ron Fisher has entered
    several games from the 1901 New York Evening Telegram and has also
    encountered cases of the home team choosing to bat first.

  6. #6
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    If this info is correct, the last time a home team chose(?) to bat first was June 26, 1913.
    EDIT: Actually, maybe they didn't choose to bat first.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...=.jsp&c_id=mlb
    Wednesday was the first time since 1913 that the "home" team batted first at its own ballpark, according to David W. Smith of Retrosheet. On June 26, 1913, the Philadelphia Athletics played a doubleheader against the Washington Senators, who batted both first and last in the double dip.
    Here's the line score.
    http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1913/06261913.htm

    And, here's the game from 2007 where the Mariners batted first at Safeco.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/bo...00709261.shtml
    Last edited by ipitch; 11-26-2008 at 09:16 AM.

  7. #7
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    I don't think it counts but this past year the Orioles and White Sox resumed a game that started in Chicago in April during a doubleheader in Baltimore in August. Chicago batted last in GM1 and first in GM2

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