Loss of 1970’s Stars Serve as a Reminder of Game’s Simple Past

This fall, we have been hit hard by the loss of numerous baseball stars from the 1970s.

It was my prime time as a youth, and the game was still a basic and simple game.

No charts or papers.

No analytics.

It was simply gut instinct. It was simply grind-it-out baseball that usually lasted under 2:30 as a time of game. That’s a main point that’s hard to stomach for anyone over 55.

Horace Clarke, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Joe Morgan, Jimmy Wynn, and Lou Brock were the main headliners who left us, but the list grew deeper.

The switch-hitting Clarke was a fan favorite for a string of mediocre Yankees’ teams, while Seaver and Gibson were the true workhorses.

Morgan, Wynn, and Brock were grinders in their own way, setting the pace in their own categories.

The point here is we will never see these types of players again in 21st Century baseball and beyond.

We were reminded of that point when Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash removed pitcher Blake Snell in Game Six of the World Series, and likely cost his team a great chance to win their first championship.

Cash wouldn’t react to a gut reaction like managers Whitey Herzog or Billy Martin, but instead rely on a printout.

Ironically, Tony LaRussa was the father of the quick hook relief pitcher, and the 79-year-old recently was named the White Sox skipper. It will be interesting to see how LaRussa handles the landscape as he was the precursor to analytics.

It’s hard to find too many old-school managers still in the game today. Joe Girardi probably is on the borderline, but he employs his share of analytics.

Instead, this comes down to the balance of power that has been shifted from the managers to the general managers and front office brass, who are really calling the shots.

Yes, the game has changed over the past 50 years mainly with extreme steroids, scandals, and pitching changes.

It continues to make the game less attractive, especially unappealing to today’s youth programs.

I recently lost a good friend and fellow sportswriter who always noted how the now three-hour-plus game has changed for the worst. He also told me that “it is a simple game.”

It still should be. Unfortunately, we get reminded about it when another 70’s player leaves us.

Photo: David Saffran


About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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