DETROIT- SEPTEMBER 27: A general view of Tiger Stadium prior to the final baseball game played at the 87 year old Tiger Stadium as the Detroit Tigets host the Kansas City Royals on September 27, 1999 in Detroit, Michigan. There was 6,873 games played at the corner of Michigan and Trumbul streets. The Tigers won the game 8-2. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Gettyimages)

A detail of a Detroit Tigers hat with an official postseason logo is...

A detail of a Detroit Tigers hat with an official postseason logo is seen on the bat rack in the udgout againstthe New York Yankees during game four of the American League Championship Series at... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

 

To increase play and speed up the pace of the game, Major League Baseball voted Friday (Sept. 9th) to implement a pitch clock and ban defensive shifts in 2023.

 

Voting was not unanimous. ESPN sources report that players voted against the pitch-clock and shift changes.

 

Six ownership representatives, four players and an umpire were on the league’s competition committee, which approved a pitch clock of 15 seconds when there are empty bases and 20 seconds when there are runners. The defensive alignment must include two fielders standing on both sides of the second base bag with both feet on the dirt, and there are no pick-offs and the base sizes have been increased.

 

Before 2022, rule changes were solely the responsibility of the league, which could implement on-field changes a year after advising players of the change. MLB and the MLB Players Association accelerated rule implementation to 45 days with the new collective bargaining agreement, which included the creation of the competition committee, which would include players.

 

Check out some of the biggest changes of the past that came to the MLB below!

  • End of the Dead Ball Era

    A shot of an antique pin-striped wool baseball uniform from the 20's...

    A shot of an antique pin-striped wool baseball uniform from the 20's with a matching cap and pants. Warm dramatic lighting used to emphasize the nostalgic mood. This is the real thing!

    Babe Ruth became the first player to hit 29 home runs in a season in 1919. In the years prior to Ruth’s emergence, most batters produced singles and doubles that would advance runners by using a slower, more strategic swing. It was Ruth who, despite a wretched game ball in 1919, swung for the fences every single time he faced a pitch.

     

    Why is the game ball important? In baseball history circles, the period between 1900 and 1919 is referred to as the “Dead Ball” era. Many historians point to the materials used to construct the ball itself as the reason for the ball’s demise.

     

    A ready reserve of 12 unused game balls with the glossy sheen rubbed off is required by current MLB rules. When the ball is batted into the stands, the ball becomes “discolored,” or the pitcher requests a new ball, the umpire must have two alternate balls on his person at all times.

  • Overhand Pitching

    Baseball delivered by the pitcher is frozen in mid-air

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    Overhand pitching was not permitted in the National League until 1884. The American League allowed pitchers to use a modified sidearm in 1884, as long as their hand didn’t raise above the shoulder during release, but then lifted all restrictions on pitching in 1885

  • Four Balls, Three Strikes

    A baseball player looks at a pitch during a game.

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    Umpires began calling balls and strikes in 1863. By 1874 a walk was nine balls, but it dwindled to four by 1889. One year, 1887, saw batters granted four strikes. Imagine how long games would have taken under those old rules!

  • The Designated Hitter

    Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera lines a double off of...

    Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera lines a double off of the right field wall in the fifth inning during the Detroit Tigers versus the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday August 30, 2022 at... Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

     

    No rule change in baseball has caused more controversy among fans than the designated hitter rule. Adopted by the American League in 1973, the real reason for the rule change was simple: money. For years, the American League had been sluggish on offense. Most baseball fans aren’t willing to spend good money on tickets to see a 1-0 outing with three hits and no home runs. If you can improve the offensive output, the argument goes, you will sell more tickets.

     

    Designated hitters had an immediate effect on the game. The very first major league DH to take the field was the Minnesota Twins’ Larry Eugene Hisle during a 1973 preseason game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hisle hit a three-run homer and followed it with a grand slam.