Do Teams Score more runs today then in the Pure Era?
The simple answer is no. The last few seasons team runs per game is less than it was during the 1940's, 50's or 60's. I have taken 2 years from several important decades to illustrate that runs per game average has actually declined since the pure era. These stats are for the National League only. I didn't want to bias the runs per game stats with data from teams with the designated hitter. The DH subject is a separate topic for later.
Year Runs per game
The peak for runs per game was in the 50's and 60's. I need to point out that during the height of the steroid era runs per game spiked. For example, the year (2001) Barry Bonds set the HR record, average runs per game was 4.7
It appears the runs per game is now close to the level that it was in the 1940's. So why has current run production dropped off from the mid 1990's to the early turn of the century? Its fairly obvious that Steroid use was rampant during that period and the the new testing system has cleaned up the sport. Still, run production is now lower than it was in the 1950's. I believe that is due in part to more refined pitching techniques. I'm not old enough to have seen pitchers in the 1950's, but I suspect that they did not spend as much time being coached about mechanics and working on a 3rd or 4th pitch. Today pitchers are monitored closing and watch video. There is now endless data available about any holes a hitter may have in his swing.
Add to that the amount of defensive shifting possible due to extensive spray charts and a fair amount of hits with RISP are taken away, leading to fewer runs. I have done a lot of testing in a baseball simulation I recently developed ('True to Life Baseball' by Life is Sports Games) and found that even just a 1/2 run higher average per game makes a huge difference in how game play out. With more runs scored per game, there are significantly fewer 1 run games. Because of this, I think keeping average runs per game near 4.00 to 4.20 is in the best interest of baseball. It creates tighter games, which in turn have more drama. This may also be why we now seem to have more parity in the league than ever before.
Check out the authors tabletop baseball simulation here.
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