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That policy moderated with the passing years but it was not until 1920 that league officials stipulated the use only of clean and new baseballs both in an effort to enhance offense and as a concern for player safety since worn and discolored balls frequently were hard to control or even see Those directives lent a new measure of consistency to the game so that the ball a batter swung at in the bottom of the ninth was not different from the one used in the first-pitch ceremonies Baseball today is different from the game of the turn of the century in as many ways as American culture is different from the horse-and-buggy era Imagine paying a quarter for admission to the ballpark another quarter for access to the grandstand and a third quarter for a seat Imagine games played before audiences of a few hundred or maybe a thousand Imagine visiting teams arriving in town on trains bunking two to a bed then caravaning to the ball yard in a grand parade through the towns streets But never at night And never ever on Sunday Now imagine baseball as the only sport of widespread popularity No football to speak of no basketball no hockey no golf no tennis no track of consequence horse racing only for the elite and boxing only for the disreputable There was such a time only about a century ago Major league baseball enjoyed widespread popularity during the early 1900s Attendance at games swelled and the World Series became one of the leading annual events in sports Outstanding players such as Cy Young Christy Mathewson and Ty Cobb emerged as national stars Owners responded to the prosperity by building larger more modern ballparks Baseballs success also brought difficulties Many players argued that their salaries were too low and the players union tried unsuccessfully to change the reserve clause and other major league policies But baseball faced its greatest
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