The Dead-ball Era: 1900 To 1919
At this time the games tended to be low scoring, dominated by such pitchers as Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, and Grover Cleveland Alexander to the extent that the period 1900–1919 is commonly called the "Dead-ball era". The term also accurately describes the condition of the baseball itself. Baseballs cost three dollars apiece, a hefty sum at the time, which in 1900 would be equal to $84 today; club owners were therefore reluctant to spend much money on new balls if not necessary. It was not unusual for a single baseball to last an entire game. By the end of the game, the ball would be dark with grass, mud, and tobacco juice, and it would be misshapen and lumpy from contact with the bat. Balls were only replaced if they were hit into the crowd and lost, and many clubs employed security guards expressly for the purpose of retrieving balls hit into the stands—a practice unthinkable today.
As a consequence, home runs were rare, and the "inside game" dominated—singles, bunts, stolen bases, the hit-and-run play, and other tactics dominated the strategies of the time.
Despite this, there were also several superstar hitters, the most famous being Honus Wagner, held to be one of the greatest shortstops to ever play the game, and Detroit's Ty Cobb, the "Georgia Peach." Cobb was a mean-spirited man, fiercely competitive and loathed by many of his fellow professionals, but his career batting average of .366 has yet to be bested.
Read more about this topic: History Of Baseball In The United States