As we embark upon the final year of the 2010s, the 15th decade of big league baseball history is nearly complete. Readers of Bill James' historical abstracts will recall his recounting of the high points and innovations from each decade, going all the way back to the 1870s. At the end of each chapter, he'd hand out a highly creative set of awards for each decade such as, just to pick one example, "Ugliest player."
Well, I'm not going to do an ugly player award, though I have a few candidates in mind. But I have to face these guys in their clubhouses, where a wooden bat is never far away. Having seen Brian De Palma's "The Untouchables" I think it best to tread lightly. So let's stick to the statistical realm and see what bragging rights might be at stake in the season to come, the last of this 10-year period.
There's a reason I do this. Think back to the decades from your younger days, whenever they may have been. Aren't there certain players and teams you associate with that time? Of course this is place-dependent, but let's say you're thinking of baseball in the 1970s. The Big Red Machine might leap to mind, or perhaps it's Reggie Jackson going deep in a World Series for the Yankees. The 1980s? Maybe you think of Whitey Herzog's Cardinals burning up the bases, or the Gooden-Strawberry Mets.
You get the idea. We're trying to use a little foresight to glimpse what we might remember in hindsight.