REVISITING BILL JAMES’S HISTORY OF THE BEANBALL. Giancarlo Stanton, the great young star, was hit in the face by a pitch the other night. Stanton suffered facial lacerations requiring stitches, multiple facial fractures and dental damage. Stanton is only 24 years old and is leading the National League in both home runs and runs batted in.
I remembered reading a History of the Beanball in one of the annual Bill James Baseball Abstracts. The internet identified the year for me, and I found the essay in the 1985 Abstract (we have the Abstracts for each year). Here is what I remembered James writing: “There seems to be a huge number of cases of outstanding hitters being hurt by pitchers of most modest talents….” He then listed an impressive number of examples. The pitcher who threw the pitch that damaged Stanton’s face is 29 years old and has won 16 games in the majors—modest accomplishments.