A nice thing about baseball is that, with scores of past seasons, thousands of past players and hundreds of thousands of past games — in the majors alone! — there’s always backstory to catch up on and extended universe to fall into.
So this year, while we were enjoying the drama, superlatives and weirdness of the 2019 season, we were also continually learning new bits of drama, superlatives and weirdness from baseball’s long past.
Here are nine totally unexpected things I learned about baseball this year:
1. In its first few years as home of the San Francisco Giants, Candlestick Park was blamed for as many as 19 fatal heart attacks.
The team’s owner, Horace Stoneham, liked Candlestick Point for his new stadium in part because of how much room there was for parking. But those parking spaces (as well as the public transit drop-offs) were a long incline from the main entrance, and until the team built giant escalators, fans had no choice but to climb. Within weeks of the stadium opening, writers noticed a lot of people…