Philosophy: I don't know. We were in the middle of that strange era where it seemed like half the teams in baseball had a (or several) little middle infielders who hit .241 with a .298 OBP and 33 steals and led off 150 times. Possibly the wholesale acceptance of little guys who stole bases but didn't really hit at all had an impact. They were probably mostly contact hitters.
Expansion: Maybe. Although I don't usually buy that there is an imbalanced impact to expansion, only a slight, short-term overall decline in quality of play. We used to hear that "expansion killed pitching". I never bought into that idea, and we don't hear that so much any more now that every team has 14 guys who can throw 98 mph.
This is a great point. From a business/PR perspective, they definitely avoid some of the "ugh, not again" factor among the fanbase that accompanies the tear-it-down-to-build-back-up strategy they're pursuing.
This kills just about any outside shot Nick may have had at getting anywhere close to 3,000 hits. Really losing 102 games was the more meaningful component of that.He has 2,355 hits right now. If the full season had been played, he would have been a pretty good bet to pass 2,500 by the end of the season.
Were there any philosophical changes or movements in management/instruction around that time (similar to the swing plane/launch angle revolution)? Was there perhaps an increased emphasis on choking up on the bat with two strikes and putting the ball in play that came more into vogue at that time?
Any chance that MLB adding 4 new teams in 1969 via expansion impacted those trends?