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THE DINGER TAKES A DIVE
Peter Gammons
June 13, 1988
After a record-shattering season for home runs in 1987, the long ball has come up short. Here are 10 theories why
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June 13, 1988

The Dinger Takes A Dive

After a record-shattering season for home runs in 1987, the long ball has come up short. Here are 10 theories why

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7) The bats are uncorked. Elias has pointed out that the home-run rate dropped 11% after St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog accused the New York Mets' Howard Johnson of corking his bat. And when National League president A. Bartlett Giamatti suspended Houston's Billy Hatcher for 10 days for using a corked bat, others took notice. "Who wants to take the chance?" says former San Diego Padre manager Larry Bowa. "I know that last year a lot of hitters were using them and have backed off because of what happened [to Hatcher]."

8) The balk rule is messing up hitters. "Holding the ball has confused a lot of hitters' timing," says Toronto Blue Jays batting coach Cito Gaston.

9) The decline is simply part of a cycle. "It's the same as why the National League has so few young right-handed power hitters and so many good young second basemen," says Cubs scout Charlie Fox. Which also surely explains why some northern New Englanders have reported a record number of loons.

10) Reggie Jackson retired. Everyone always said that when Reggie left, he would take something with him.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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