The “Dead Ball Era” of baseball is a period that spans from the early 1900s through the early 1920s, during which the ball used in Major League Baseball (MLB) games was less lively and more difficult to hit for power than the balls used today. This resulted in a style of play that emphasized pitching, defense, and small ball tactics, such as bunting and stealing bases, rather than home run hitting and power hitting.
The dead ball era was characterized by low-scoring games and a focus on speed and strategy over raw power. Pitchers had a significant advantage during this era, as the ball was harder to hit for distance and batters had to rely more on “hit-and-run” and “small ball” tactics to move runners and score runs. Base stealing and the use of the sacrifice bunt were also more prevalent during this time, as teams sought to gain any edge they could on the field.
The dead ball era came to an end in the early 1920s with the introduction of a new, livelier baseball that was easier to hit for power. This led to a surge in home runs and a shift in the game toward a more power-oriented style of play. Players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig emerged as dominant sluggers, and the focus of the game shifted away from strategy and toward individual power and performance.
Despite its relative lack of offense and power hitting, the dead ball era remains an important and influential period in the history of baseball, and many of the strategies and tactics used during this time continue to be employed by teams today.