Yearbook, Dec. 3: Mound goes down

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
10:37
AM ET
Dec. 3, 1968: On this day 44 years ago, Major League Baseball approved its rules changes. Big deal.

Oh, but this time it was. After a season "completely owned by pitchers," in the words of "Sports Illustrated" back then -- owned most notably by the Detroit Tigers' Denny McLain (31-6, 1.98 ERA and 280 strikeouts in 336 innings) and the St. Louis Cardinals' Bob Gibson (22-9, 1.12, 268 K in 304.2 innings), both of whom won Cy Young and MVP awards -- MLB decided to lower all mounds from 15 inches high to 10.

And it seemed to work; scoring went up by 0.6 runs per team per game -- almost 20 percent -- in both leagues, while McLain's and Gibson's ERAs increased significantly (to 2.80 and 2.18, respectively).

Denny McLain with the Detroit Tigers in 1968Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty ImagesMcLain in 1968.
Bob Gibson with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1968Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty ImagesGibson in 1968.
BaseballHarry How/Getty ImagesThe mound, at its current height.
Patrick Dorsey is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor for ESPN.com. He has worked for the Web and newspapers. He also played in one Division-III golf tournament (he shot 105).

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