Happened to catch Tim McCarver going on during Saturday's GOTW about how it's time to raise the pitcher's mound to tilt the balance of power back toward the pitcher a bit. Though I'm not prone to take much Timmy Mac says to heart, I thought that this idea might actually have some merit. Then again, I'd just as soon watch a 1-0 pitchers' duel as a 15-13 slugfest.....so I thought I'd give it a look.
In 1968, the NL ERA was 2.99. That's right - two point ninety-nine. MLB decided to lower the mound from 15 to 10 inches...and the league ERA shot up to 3.60 the next year. The NL ERA hasn't been below 4.00 since 1992. What I found interesting, though, was that for the years between 1970 and 1992 the league ERA had been generally in the mid-upper 3.00's (a low of 3.45 and a high of 4.08....which was pretty much where it had been in the years before 1968. You had to go all the way back to 1919 to find a league ERA under 3.00....and 1967's number was 3.37. Note: I didn't even look at AL numbers due to the influence of the DH.
So the argument could well be made that baseball overreacted to an anomaly - one season wherein several pitchers had dominant seasons and sank the league ERA to an artificially low number. What's curious, though, is that even in the face of ERAs over 4.00 - also historically out of balance - the past 13 seasons, baseball has not even broached the topic of raising the mound again to try and level the playing field.
In short, McCarver has a valid point - the past decade has been tilted toward the hitters when weighed against the historical averages. But seeing as the current baseball administration subscribes to the "Chicks dig the long ball" philosophy, I can't imagine that any action would be forthcoming.