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The “let pitchers throw more” folks are full of beans

Aug 28, 2013, 8:57 AM EDT

Nolan Ryan Rangers

Every time a promising young pitcher goes down with a serious injury some old timer comes out of the woodwork and says that the injury proves that guys are being coddled, that pitch counts are the devil’s work and if we went back to four-man rotations, 300+ innings pitched a year and real stirrups and wool uniforms everything would be OK.  They did it with Strasburg. They’re doing it now with Harvey.

The latest is Terrence Moore of MLB.com:

… pitchers used to throw forever. I’m talking about in the Major Leagues, in the Minor Leagues, in Little Leagues and in sandlot leagues. And let’s get that ridiculous example out of the way in Walter Johnson. After he made his Major League debut in 1903, he pitched 200 innings or more 18 times in 21 years. He even went nine straight seasons throwing 300 innings or more. Two-hundred innings once was the standard for starting pitchers during a given season. Now, not so much …  how are these pitch counts working overall these days when it comes to keeping guys in the lineup? Ask Harvey.

All of these things follow the same pattern: they note recently diagnosed injuries, ignore injured pitchers of the past and use massive exceptions to the rule in the form of Hall of Fame-level superstars when it comes to trotting out examples.

Walter Johnson and Nolan Ryan are freaks in the best sense of the word. They were hard throwers who never broke down and pitched forever and ever. That’s why they are, quite literally, exceptional. As in: they are exceptions to the rule which posits that pitchers get hurt. Why does Terrence Moore write garbage when William Shakespeare did not? Why are writers these days not all like Shakespeare? See how that works?

Even more significantly, Moore and his old school brethren fail to recognize that, these days, pitcher injuries are diagnosed whereas, in the past, they rarely were. Guys who pitched all the way up until the 1970s were fine and then they “just lost it” or “their arm gave out.” They continued pitching as junkballers and knuckleballers or they were relegated to one of the hundreds upon hundreds of minor league teams, affiliated or not, and just gutted things out all the while never having a good answer to the question “what happened, Smokey? You used to zip it in there?”  How many of them tore UCLs or rotator cuffs or capsules or what have you? Tons, I’m sure. It’s not like someone invented the UCL in 1978. We just couldn’t diagnose those injuries.

Finally Moore and his ilk fail to recognize that guys throw much harder today with much more violence done to the arm and shoulder. Nasty hard sliders and split-finger pitches and cutters and what have you, with overall velocity — like all measurable athletic acts — improving and increasing as time goes on. How many third and fourth starters in the 1940s hit 93 on the gun? How many threw ungodly breaking stuff? That’s the threshold for even making it to the bigs these days and as such way more guys are doing way more violent things to their arms.

I don’t know if pitchers should throw more between starts. Or if we’re too soft with some guys who are mechanically sound and suffer no ill effects. Or if pitch counts matter less than innings or matter more. Like I said the other day, I don’t think we know much more about how to save a pitcher these days than we ever have and some are gonna get hurt no matter what we do.

But I do know that Moore and the old folks who think like him are just guessing here when they say pitchers should be treated like Mickey Lolich was treated in the 70s, and they’re guessing while being willfully blind to the differences in the game of old vs. the game today.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Excellent post – this was the organizational nonsense that Nolan Ryan was spouting off a couple of springs ago – before almost every Rangers pitcher got hurt, including Neftali Feliz.

  2. Marty McKee - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    If you admit in your next-to-last paragraph that you don’t know, how do you know those writers are full of beans?

    • zzalapski - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      He’s referring to how they reflexively write columns about how pitchers should throw like Walter Johnson without offering any substantial evidence why, while overlooking the obvious reasons why there weren’t (and aren’t) many pitchers like him in the first place.

      • Marty McKee - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        Nor does Craig offer any substantial evidence why they’re wrong. Maybe some pitchers should throw 250 innings a year. The problem with pitch counts is that it treats all pitchers of all sizes and skill sets exactly the same. 100 pitches? You’re out of there. Some guys can throw 150 pitches. Some can’t. I don’t see where pitching coaches and managers are making the effort to find out which is which.

      • zzalapski - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        If one posits a theory without any substiantial evidence to support it, one can still be considered to be “full of beans”, whether the theory turns out to be right or not.

      • drewsylvania - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        Which means Craig is full of beans regardless of whether there were more UCL injuries decades ago or not. :-)

  3. kcw0lf - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    When will we see teams go to a 6 man rotation? Seems like the smart thing to do with the studs still pitching too many innings and blowing out elbows.

    • jarathen - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      There’s a certain inevitability to some of it. The real problem is that each person is unique and should be treated as such within the overall framework, but they’re not. Dan Haren, for example, had some back issues last year but otherwise is a workhorse style pitcher who actually pitches better on normal rest. Some pitchers might do better with an extra day or two. You’d think with the huge amount of money invested that more teams would be trying to find out how to maximize the value of a player without losing them.

    • orangecisco - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      I think the real problem with this is the added expense. You can’t just throw a guy out there every 6 days. He needs to be quality so by making this small change in the game you are likely adding $10,000,000 in payroll every year.

      • stoutfiles - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:17 AM

        In what world does a 6th starting pitcher cost 10 million? In reality it’d probably make the total pitching cost cheaper, because the high paid pitchers are not out there at much, and therefore don’t need to be making as much money.

      • Cris E - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        You’re just adding another fifth starter, so the problem won’t be the money so much as finding someone worth spending it on.

      • orangecisco - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:54 PM

        $10mill wouldn’t be that far off from reality. See last years contracts for Joe Blanton, Dan Haren, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Dempster… A 6 man rotation doesn’t mean a team is plugging in a crappy 6th starter. Good luck trying to make the playoffs with that strategy. Mediocre starters are still expensive.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      One problem seems to be that there just isn’t enough pitching to go around for a six man rotation.

    • mntreehugger - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      Ron Gardenhire wouldn’t like that one bit, he wouldn’t be able to carry that third catcher

      • drewsylvania - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        True, but you can hardly blame Gardy, he’s so used to looking at a bad pitching staff that learned helplessness has set in.

  4. chacochicken - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Personally, I don’t believe in the ulnar collateral ligament at all. It isn’t real. I’m a UCL denier. Just take R.A. Dickey. He doesn’t have one and he seems like an honest guy.

    • paperlions - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Well, if you don’t believe in the UCL, that makes Dickey just like everyone else, don’t it.

      • chacochicken - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

        Well they started appearing in the late 70’s along with drugs. So we need a War on the UCL just like Nancy’s War on Drugs. Drugs won by the way but we can beat the UCL myth.

  5. jcmeyer10 - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Daisuke loved to throw and look what happened to him.

    • dcarroll73 - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      Dice-K was an artist. Why settle for a one-pitch groundout or a three-pitch strikeout when with skillful location you can work it to 10 or 12 pitches per at bat? If you just love to pitch, you want to do more of it.

    • jcmeyer10 - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      I meant to say, wasn’t he all about throwing on off days and all that training program non sense the Red Sox staff didn’t agree with?

  6. jarathen - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    It’s always strange when people would rather bury their heads in the sand than try to figure out the why of something. And then some people get PAID to embrace ignorance and it’s even stranger.

  7. Marc - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Ungodly breaking stuff? When did Crash Davis start writing for HBT?

  8. umrguy42 - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    On the other hand – If I’m not mistaken, on yesterday’s Around The Horn on ESPN, Bill Plaschke argued that pitchers should just throw until they blow up their arm, get TJ surgery, come back, and finish their career. I was kind of like “do what?”

    • km9000 - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      I think the mistake was just watching Around the Horn.

  9. zzalapski - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    I would guess that Shakespeare did certainly write garbage, but he was better about not making it available for public consumption.

    Except for Troilus and Cressida. Ye gods, that was awful.

  10. tferr85 - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Sandy Koufax is always ignored in these discussions.

    • orangecisco - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      Perfect example. Sandy could have pitched 8 more seasons in the modern era

    • clydeserra - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      Sam McDowell.

      wasn’t there a guy in the 70s that blew out his arm? tommy J or something?

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:12 PM

        Yep…then he ran a bar in Boston.

    • cohnjusack - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      Remember Dean Chance?
      Ewell Blackwell?
      Herb Score?

      Of course not, because they were studs for a couple of years until their arms exploded and they were out of baseball. There are far more examples of guys like this in days of yore than Nolan Ryans.

      • jarathen - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        Dean Chance’s career is a perfect example. He was great and was ridden into the dirt. Sure, he was excellent for a while, but maybe his career would be one people still remember in Cooperstown today if he hadn’t been destroyed like that.

        Over his seven-year prime, he averaged 254 innings, hitting 292 before the wheels started to fall off.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        Fernando Valenzuela and Denny McClain as well. The list goes on and on.

      • anxovies - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        Herb Score’s longevity problem came from the fact that he was severely injured and almost killed by being hit in the face by a line drive from Gil McDougald and never bounced back. Ewell Blackwell had a strange sidearm delivery that put a lot of stress on his arm. They called him “The Whip.” Dean Chance injured his back in 1969 after he held out for a larger contract and never got in shape before trying to pitch. There are pitchers who should not pitch a large amount of innings because they have to rely on one pitch too much or their mechanics are bad. We call them “relief pitchers.”

      • Marty McKee - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        The problem with your theory is that there’s little evidence that their pitch/inning counts were responsible for their injuries. Maybe they got hurt because of their deliveries or their nutrition or poor coaching or just because, hey, people get hurt sometimes.

      • cohnjusack - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        @Marty

        The point is, the people who went an indiscriminate amount of innings with little oversight into their workload were far more likely to be injured. Of course, any individual case can be the result of many things. But, on the whole, pitchers with heavier workloads ended up being pitchers whose careers were destroyed early on by injuries.

  11. dirtyharry1971 - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Johnson and Ryan re just two examples, we can add a LOT more names to that list and don’t have to go anywhere near as far back as Johnson (Seaver Carlton, Clemens, just to add a few). I think it has to do with the different pitches they are throwing today that you never even heard of just 25 years ago like the cutter. Not saying the cutter is causing it just giving an example

    • Liam - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      There’s a survivor bias issue though. The only guys we remember thirty years later are the ones who made it. For every one example you cite, there could be ten guys whose arms were ruined by overthrowing, it just happened before they were famous enough to be remembered.

    • paperlions - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      The point isn’t that there are exceptions, there have ALWAYS been and still are exceptions. The point is that until 30 years ago, no one knew anything about pitcher injuries, and all the guys that were injured before have essentially disappeared from the narrative of baseball history. In all likelihood, guys tore their UCLs just as often back then, just no one knew it and people ignore those guys when noting that a few guys threw 300+ innings regularly. Most guys NEVER threw 300+ innings regularly, and most guys did not have long careers because they were hurt and never fixed.

      Of course, those guys that threw 300 innings all got to face pitchers hitting, as well as plenty of weak hitting position players…back then, a team might have 1 or 2 guys capable of hitting 20+ HRs…now, if you groove a FB to 90% of players, they’ll lose it.

  12. paperlions - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    When recently asked what area of research MLB teams were most ahead of baseball research that is in the public domain, Dave Cameron (I think it was), said injuries. Teams have far more information on players, their work loads, their training/throwing programs, and their injuries. Just because they don’t share every detail with us, doesn’t mean they are doing all they can to understand what leads to particular injuries and how to reduce the risk….but no matter what you do, if pitchers are going to be throwing baseballs at high rates of speed, guys are going to get hurt.

    Rob Neyer recent noted that of the 360 pitchers that started the year the majors, 124 of them had TJ surgery already. Pitchers break, and if you aren’t going to let the broken ones put foreign substances on the ball or scuff it up, then it is going to make wear on the arm a lot harder….imagine how much easier it was to throw breaking pitches back when a ball was left in the game until it wound up in the stand….now, any time it touches anything and has the smallest scuff, it is gone.

  13. raysfan1 - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    I’ve often wondered what an MRI of Steve Blass’ elbow might have looked like in 1973, for example.

    It’s pretty clear a lot of sports pundits are not familiar with selection bias.

    • raysfan1 - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      To expand on my selection bias comment…MRIs are much better at revealing UCL injuries than CT scans, and CT scans revolutionized the ability to diagnose UCL injuries. The first CT scanners were installed at Mass General Hospital and at the Mayo Clinic in the summer of 1973. They did not become widespread until later in the decade. Tommy John surgery in part was even possible because of the advent of advanced diagnostic imaging. Pre-1978, UCL injuries generally ended careers.

      If a young pitcher in the 1950s for example was pitching in the minors every 4 days, and his elbow “gave out” from an undiagnosable ruptured UCL, his career was over…and nobody ever heard of him. The pitcher who made it to the majors had already, to an extent, shown he was less likely to be injured. That’s selection bias. We do not know how many good pitchers had their careers shortened due to such injuries back then(my guess is a lot); we only know is that TJ surgery routinely salvages such careers now.

  14. seandon2186 - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Dr Mike Marshall knows how to save arms, but nobody wants to listen to him

  15. 13yrsmlbvet - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    MLB did a study in the early 2000’s that focused on elbow injuries. The results found that 3 major contributing factors to elbow pathology are biomechanical inefficiency, throwing too much and throwing too hard too soon (warming up too fast). The elbow reacts to the shoulder. It’s a hinge joint. If the shoulder is weak- it affects biomechanics, which leads to more throwing to try to fix them. Vicious circle.

  16. Brian Donohue - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    “Why are writers these days not all like Shakespeare?”

    I agree, CC: I think you should start writing all your posts in iambic pentameter.

  17. tmohr - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Writers always use Walter Johnson as their Exhibit A, but conveniently ignore his contemporary, Smokey Joe Wood. He won 102 games before his 26th birthday and none after.

    • jarathen - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      Smokey Joe obviously should have thrown more pitches.

  18. sportsdrenched - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Props for using “folks” and “beans” in the same title.

  19. Joe - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Also worth mentioning is that Walter Johnson pitched mostly in the deadball era, when he could just toss them in and only bear down when guys were in scoring position.

    I think it’s instructive to look at the IP leaderboards from the 1970’s and see what happened. Say AL 1971:

    Mickey Lolich – last good year as starter at age 35.
    Wilbur Wood – last good year at 33 (and a knuckleballer!)
    Vida Blue – last good year at 32
    Mike Cuellar – Made it to 38 before becoming ineffective
    Joe Coleman – Last good year starting at age 26, pretty much full time in the pen at age 29
    Tom Bradley – Who? Exactly. LGY at 26. Out of the majors at 29.
    Pat Dobson – LGY at 32, done at 35.
    Jim Palmer – Was pretty good through age 36, then two bad years.
    Bert Blyleven – Good through age 38, but missed over a season’s worth of games at age 31-32
    Clyde Wright – LGY at 32, done at 34
    Andy Messersmith – pretty much done at age 31

    New guys on the list in 1972 include Ryan and Gaylord Perry, both of whom are exceptions to the rule, along with Catfish Hunter (LGY at 30, last season at age 33) and Ken Holtzman (done at 30).

    1973 add Bill Singer (hurt at 30, one more decent year at 32, done at 33) and Jim Colburn (LGY at 31, done at 32)

    1974 add Fergie Jenkins and Luis Tiant, both of whom lasted awhile but had injury bouts. Also add Ross Grimsley (worthless after age 28) and Steve Busby (worthless after age 25).

    And on it goes. In 1976 Mark Fidrych threw 250 innings at age 21. He pitched 27 more games in the bigs for his career.

    • 14thinningstretch - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      You do have to be careful just broadly attributing any pitcher injury to overuse though. For instance, Wilbur Wood’s injury was caused by a comebacker shattering his kneecap. Vida Blue’s coke problem probably had a little to do with his career falling apart in 1983. Mark Fidrych blew out his knee Rivera-ing it in the outfield during spring training. Andy Messersmith slipped and fell on his elbow fielding a ball and exacerbated the injury by tripping over first base in a game.

      Not saying that these guys WEREN’T overused, particularly Lolich, but pitchers get injured for a whole lot of reasons that have nothing to do with how many innings they pitched.

      • Joe - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        That’s true. However, with specific regard to Fidrych, he did come back and complete seven of his first eight starts following the injury. From that point forward, a couple months shy of his 23rd birthday, his major league career consisted of 19 starts, 93 IP, and a 6.10 ERA. His minor league career during that time was 384.3 IP with a 5.36 ERA.

      • Marty McKee - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        Thank you!

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      How about Dizzy Dean? Show us some of Dizzy’s numbers.
      My guess…ole’ Diz is still pitching to this day.

      • clydeserra - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:38 PM

        broken toe in All star game lead to favoring and then arm trouble is the story.

        I am guessing the 5 years of ~300 innings before age 26 was a greater contributing factor than most want to admit

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        Yeah…Dizzy was a complete game machine for a 4 – 5 year period.

    • Joe - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      And the point of this information isn’t so much to prove that throwing a lot of innings kills careers, it’s to show that no, there aren’t a ton of guys who threw 275+ innings every year and were fine.

  20. amuccigr - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Ron Darling, Gary Cohen and Hernandez went on about this forever the night Harvey’s injury was announced on the SNY Mets broadcast. No science, no studies or anything, just “Tom Seaver threw 250 inning as a rookie! Rest my case.” And, “Chris Sale made a huge jump in innings, how’s he doing???” Stuff like that. Darling’s main complaint was that everyone gets treated the same, no matter their demonstrated ability. Not a terrible point, but Gary actually suggested and it was kind of agreed that inning limits may actually be CAUSING injuries.

    Here’s a piece from BP about predictors of injuries, not all definitive but something at least, rather than anecdotes about guys from years gone by that pitched a lot.:
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19653

  21. dowhatifeellike - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Jim Palmer still regularly refers to the fact that the average fastball is 88mph.

    Maybe in ’72 it was, Jim.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Jim Palmer still thinks it is ’72. I love when he takes his extended break from announcing Orioles games. He can’t go 5 minutes without talking about himself and what things were like in his day. (Hint: We don’t care anymore Jim)

      • dowhatifeellike - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:57 AM

        I do envy his photographic memory. I bet he remembers ever pitch he ever threw.

        But for every good story he tells, 4 of them are boring.

      • dowhatifeellike - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:15 AM

        I realize me not english good in that last comment and I just had to say something because it hurts my insides to read it.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        The one thing I like about him is he is NEVER afraid to go after an umpire and really call them out. And he does provide some good insight, I just with he would stop puffing out his own chest all the time. We get it. You were a hall-of-famer. So were a lot of people you played with. Can we focus on the game at hand now?

  22. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    I think part of the problem is how players are handled in youth leagues and highschool. No person should be throwing anything with spin until they are in college, and kids are getting worked too hard. In addition, I think pitchers CAN go more innings and pitches, but they aren’t conditioned to do so. You have to slowly develop a pitchers arm over the course of several years, not simply trot them out there at 20 and expect 250 innings.

    In addition, I wonder if pitchers aren’t throwing more breaking pitches than they were 40+ years ago as hitters have gotten bigger and bats gotten lighter and more aerodynamic. You can’t simply go up and toss mid 80s fastballs, you have to be hitting high 90s regularly with pinpoint precision on a smaller strike zone.

    And of course, let us not forget that health care has improved dramatically over the past few decades. We are able to detect problems, and fix them with greater ease. Wasn’t there a issue a few years ago where high-school kids were electing for Tommy John surgery that they didn’t really need simply so they could come back stronger a year later? It seems we jump on surgery so quick these days. Flexibility and conditioning seem to be a thing of the past when you can just go under the knife later.

    • dowhatifeellike - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      I think youth coaching is the #1 problem. I quit my high school team because the coach made me throw every day, even the day after a start, and even when I told him it hurt. I did manage to play a year in college but my arm just wasn’t the same. I was never a real prospect so I never got it checked out, but I’m fairly certain it’s a rotator cuff issue. I’m 28 now, bigger and stronger, and I can still bring the heat, but I don’t do it much because it hurts like hell. I throw for a couple weeks in the spring because I miss doing it.

      I also started throwing a slider at 14 because I wanted to. Nobody stopped me. Fortunately my elbow held up longer than my shoulder did.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        I tried to teach myself a slider and a curve ball at a very young age, and my elbow has never been the same. I never had much in the way of a cannon, but now if I throw the wrong way it’s shot for days. I did have a really cool natural sink with very late movement that could have gotten me into college if I wasn’t so stupid though.

    • CyclePower - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      Good points, here and by Craig. Another thing to consider is pitch counts per batter. I would guess that it’s higher now, that pitchers go deeper into the count because they nibble corners more, and that each pitch is thrown harder and with more purpose. I think the starting pitchers in previous generations paced themselves more, expected to go deep in games, and were around the strike zone more They didn’t over think every pitch as much and didn’t always throw at max velocity.

      …hitters now are bigger, stronger and more skilled, which has changed the way players pitch to them. In other words, PEDs did it. Ban Arod.

    • The Rabbit - Aug 28, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      @scout-Agree with everything you said.

      Re Youth Coaching: SI did a cover feature on Harvey. Obviously, I read this before Harvey was hurt.
      His dad was his coach and protected him by not letting him throw breaking stuff until he was a teenager. When I read his throwing program as a kid, it looked to me more like a dad trying to live vicariously and get him ML scout attention than a thoughtful conditioning program.
      Note: I’m a mom, so maybe I tune into this differently than men do. I’d be curious if any men who read this prior to the injury announcement thought the same thing I did..

  23. chip56 - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    You’re full of beans Craig.

    Yes, we’re better at detecting and diagnosing injuries than we were in the days of Walter Johnson or even Nolan Ryan, but players are also in better physical condition than they were in those days too.

    Today’s athlete (chemically aided or not) should be able to do more, not less, than his predecessors.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      Ugh, you do realize that tendons don’t get stronger no matter how many benches you press right?

      • dowhatifeellike - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        Which is why modern football players can blow a ligament even in non-contact drills. Huge leg muscles create incredible amounts of stress and the joining tissues just can’t handle it.

        The reason weekend warriors aren’t blowing ACLs is because they aren’t stressing them to their breaking point.

      • chip56 - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        Yes, but there are also stretching techniques that improve flexibility of muscles, tendons and ligaments.

  24. kalinedrive - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Mickey Lolich was a beast. My sister made me a Tigers scrapbook in 1974 with newspaper recaps of every game. There was a headline from the Detroit News around July or August that said something like “Lolich on the mound, bullpen rests.” He threw 27 complete games that year, and I think 11 or 12 in a row.

  25. 18thstreet - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Here was an awesome young pitching staff. Their manager didn’t care about innings limits:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/OAK/1980.shtml

    • clydeserra - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      that team had about 200 relief innings that year.

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