cy young asked in SportsBaseball · 6 years ago

should mlb make new skill challenges to go along with the homerun derby?

Do you guys have any suggestion for any new challenges.

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  • 6 years ago
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    There used to be other competitions, but then Barry Larkin got injured in a throwing contest, missed most of the rest of the season, and that was the end of that. I cannot see MLB returning to such competitions and putting star-level talent at risk, particularly with salaries now much, much higher.

    Here's what I wrote five years ago:

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    There used to be some other skills competitions.

    And then Barry Larkin got injured during one. Had to miss most of the next two months. Team owners don't like their players getting injured. Large Marge Schott REALLY didn't like paying injured players. All-Stars tend to be the better players in the leagues. There's very, very little interest in having star players get injured for exhibitions.

    And thus, all the skills competitions besides the Home Run Derby (which has negligible injury risk, and makes a lot of money from TV rights), went the way of the dinosaurs.

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    It's difficult to find solid on-line information about the 1980s All-Star skills competitions -- they were a lot less formal back then, it was just something to do on the off Monday. There doesn't even appear to be a name or title for the competitions.

    But Larkin did get injured. You can check his game log -- played (brilliantly) through 09-July, the AS break was 7/10-12, he got injured making a throw, and wasn't back until early September -- and when he did come back, he only pinch-hit.

    Now, the 1989 Reds finished in fifth place, 17 games behind the Giants in the NL West, and Larkin alone probably wouldn't have made much difference -- some, but not enough -- in that pennant race. But at the break, they were in third, only seven games back.

    Here's how the Reds did that season:

    Opening Day through 09-July (All-Star break): 44-43.

    With Larkin: 43-39 (all starts).

    W/o Larkin: 1-4.

    13-July through 02-Sept, while Larkin was injured: 22-26.

    03-Sept through 01-Oct, end of season, Larkin back as a pinch hitter: 9-18.

    Larkin PH: 5-10 (15 PA, 10 AB, 4 hits (1 double), 4 BB, 1 SF -- good, but hardly game impacting).

    Larkin sat: 4-8.

    Total after Larkin's injury: 31-44.

    1989 Reds: 75-87.

    Think that an All-Star shortstop -- and he was scorchingly brilliant that year -- wouldn't have made this team better? The Reds had other injuries, but this was by far the harshest (manager Rose getting banned in August didn't help either). And the injury was suffered for a non-game event!

    Which could happen to the star players for ANY team!

    That was the end of that. Salaries are a lot bigger today (Larkin was earning just over $300k, in his fourth year of major league service). No one wants to risk a player, a key player, for anything less than in games that count.

    Here's all the NY Times had to say about Larkin's injury: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/07/15/sports...

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    Here's a bit more the Times had, published 11-July-1989, the day of the ASG and, therefore, the day after the skills competitions. It was buried in the closing notes of a general All-Star column. No mention if the AL won anything.

    "...The National League scored victories in competition for catchers' throwing accuracy, throwing relay and home-run hitting as part of the workout today. Glenn Davis of Houston, Kevin Mitchell of San Francisco and Johnson of the Mets hit two homers each to defeat Gary Gaetti of Minnesota, Bo Jackson of Kansas City and Mickey Tettleton of Baltimore, who had four among them."

  • 6 years ago

    Throwing the hardest maybe, but I don't think it would ever happen because of the injury risk.

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