Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/502

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second base exactly tied with the ball, nine times out of ten starts, if the play is perfectly made by the runner, pitcher, catcher and baseman. The slightest inaccuracy or hesitation decides the play.

"It seems a simple matter to run ninety feet while a ball is being thrown sixty-eight feet and caught and thrown back, approximately one hundred and thirty-two feet, caught again and held in position to touch the runner. Yet there is art and science in the feat. All pennant winning teams are base running teams. Every manager urges base running, tries to train his men to it; and then, except in rare instances, refuses to permit them to run, and plays the hit-and-run and sacrifice game instead.

"The figures show that the sacrifice hits average about one-third more per season than the stolen bases, and that the hit-and-run is used sixty per cent. oftener (this in major leagues) than stealing bases. The figures also prove that base stealing succeeds in about sixty-three per cent. of the times tried, and the hit-and-run in less than sixty-six per cent., and further, that the hit-and-run results in almost seven per cent. of the times it is attempted. In the face of these figures and of the expressed desire to increase base running, few managers will order a base running attack except when a pitcher opposing his team is notoriously weak at 'holding up' runners and watching the bases.

"In the average seasons of the two major leagues—the American and National—89,156 face the pitchers. Of these 27,058 reach first base—19,154 of them on safe hits, 1,303 on errors that permit them to achieve the first ninety feet—645 by being hit by pitched balls, and 5,950 on bases on balls. These figures are the averages of the two leagues for five seasons. Of the 27,058 who reach first base, 17,138 arrive at second, 12,822 at third, and 8,272 score.

"Yet the average number of stolen bases in the 1,232 games of the two seasons of the major leagues is only 2,744. That is, out of 55,988 opportunities to steal bases, only 2,744 are improved.

"The figures appear to prove that the pitchers and catchers have acquired a mastery over the runners. The truth is that the cause of the degeneracy of the art of base running is twofold; first, the hit-and-run play and the sacrifice, and, second, the tendency toward stereotyped playing. Of the 2,744 pilferings, 1,951 are of second base, 744 of third, and 19 from third to the final goal."

It would be of interest, did space permit, to present Mr. Fullerton's deductions to prove his proposition that it is easier now than ever before to steal bases.

In Pearson's for May, 1911, Christy Mathewson, the famous pitcher of the New York "Giants" of the Na-