In 1944, Joe Nuxhall pitched in the majors when he was 15. Of course, he pitched in the majors not because he was the most incredible pitching prospect in history, but because all the good players had to go fight in the war, and so for two seasons baseball was basically profoundly weird. This happens sometimes, for reasons less dramatic than wars: The 1968 season was the year of the pitcher, the 1993 season was when the offensive environment of the steroids era really began (along with baseball in Colorado), and the 1987 season was a very brief juiced-ball moment. These are seasons we remember mostly as years when baseball broke, and when everything that happened has to be taken with a little bit of skepticism; you might even think of them as the year the stats don’t count. You might actually put 1998 here, the year Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa homered so many danged times.
Anthony has never been known as a master rebounder, but he’s no scrub on the glass, either. Since he entered the league in 2003, only 24 players have recorded 6,000 or more rebounds, according to Basketball-Reference. Melo ranks 19th on that list at 6,656 boards, ahead of Andrew Bogut, Paul Millsap, David West, Lamar Odom and Josh Smith.
And so 1922 is the year baseball got its antitrust exemption, and 1929 is the year Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig first got uniform numbers, and 1935 is when night baseball began, and 1946 is when Jackie Robinson desegregated the minors, and 1950 is when Vin Scully started broadcasting games — unless that one belongs under category 2b …
We can debate what’s modern, but there are various points where the weird old-timey baseball they used to play became the cool and normal baseball we all love now. Which is why 1952 is the year Topps launched the modern baseball card, why 1965 is the year of the draft, and why 1976 is the year of free agency. This is probably the category for 2002’s Moneyball A’s — a great team, but more historically memorable as the first modern team.
He wasn’t at his best.
I was a little timid to catch just because of the pain, Jones recalled. It was messing with me mentally.