10 bits of baseball history I learned from "A Game of Inches"
2. Sliding evolved from a defensive to a more offensive skill.
At first, sliding into base was seen as a means of applying the brakes to avoid overrunning the base without incurring a charley horse. But eventually its potential for avoiding tag-outs received increasing emphasis. Some runners, however, remained reluctant in the early years to slide at all because the infields were less finely groomed and sometimes pebble-strewn.