Johnny Carson Tests Out This Newfangled 'Live' Ball - 1987

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Today's Classic TV bit requires a little history lesson before we get to the video. Let's wind the time machine back to 1987, when men were men and boys were playing with Go-Bots. That particular baseball season was notable not just for Paul Molitor's 39-game hitting streak, but also for a huge power surge across the entire sport.

For six straight seasons prior to '87, only one player hit more than 40 home runs in a season (Tony Armas hit 43 in 1984). But in 1987, four players broke the 40 mark, and two nearly hit 50. Andre Dawson and then-rookie Mark McGwire led their respective leagues with 49. All in all, there were a whopping 4,458 home runs hit in 1987, a staggering 17% increase over the previous season and TWICE as many as had been hit just eleven years earlier. Baseball players didn't reach that level again until 1996.

So yeah, there was probably a little something extra in the ball that year. Whether the change was intentionally made to increase home runs or not, it certainly provided Johnny Carson with a chance to do a quick and hilarious skit on "The Tonight Show":


Hey, thanks to that YouTube user for uploading that video. But for God's sake, man, ADJUST THE DAMN TRACKING ON YOUR VCR!


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