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Tom Seaver thinks pitchers today should be like him and his Hall of Fame friends

Aug 30, 2013, 8:23 AM EDT

Tom Seaver

This is in keeping with my observation from the other day that, when talking about the pitchers of yesteryear and their heavy work loads, people almost always talk about the exceptional and other-worldly talented, not the ones who never made it because their arms blew out.

Here’s Tom Seaver talking to Bill Madden of the Daily News about how today’s pitchers get hurt because they’re coddled, and how his generation (and the generation before) was not coddled and look how good they were:

“Take a look at all of them, Marichal, Jenkins, Spahn, what do you think made them successful?” Seaver asked. “They conditioned their arms by pitching more, not less, starting from when they signed their first contract. Jenkins threw 300 or more innings half a dozen (actually five) times. Same with Palmer, Carlton and Marichal. I keep going back to that (July 2, 1963) Marichal-Spahn game when they both pitched 16 innings and threw almost 500 pitches between them.

“Neither one of them had any adverse aftereffects from it.”

No, they didn’t. And that’s one of the things which made them absolutely incredible pitchers. It’s quite possible, however, that there are tons of anonymous guys who would have come up in the 50s and 60s and had great careers — or even good careers — but never did because they blew out their arms in Double-A or two years into their major league career and were done for.

The point isn’t that coddling pitchers is the way to prevent injuries. Obviously guys still get hurt, so Seaver’s points about coddling not being the answer could have a lot of validity to them. His point that we don’t know what’s going to lead to injuries certainly has validity, because we don’t. The point is that Hall of Famers like him and Marichal and others are not the best examples of a better way of doing things precisely because they were, by definition, exceptional.

I am certain there are pitchers in the game today who could log the innings that those guys did and be just fine. Felix Hernandez? Justin Verlander? CC Sabathia? There have to be several. But there are tons of guys who fate and physiology are not going to allow to do that, just as there are guys who pitched alongside Seaver back in the day who could not do it either without blowing out their arms.

Teams and doctors need to figure out how to help those guys. How to tailor workloads and physical regimens to — if possible — prevent catastrophic injuries from occurring. Maybe that is futile. Maybe there is absolutely no way to prevent this stuff. But I feel like it’s worth trying to do that with the best information and evidence we can rather than to just throw up our hands, say “there’s no hope” and immediately go back to four-man rotations and 300 inning workloads for everyone.

Because while that did work for Tom Seaver and Fergie Jenkins, it didn’t work for a lot of Joe Shlabotniks whose careers were over before they began thanks to blown out arms.

  1. tjg25 - Aug 31, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Hey Craig way to make a great case to support the Pussification of America. Seaver is right. Period. Pussies are overrunning every facet of our country. Unreal.

  2. skipcastaneda - Sep 3, 2013 at 12:35 AM

    jimeejohnson, you are so right. I work in Napa. Snobs everywhere! I’m from blue collar Woodland, Ca. Home of Dustin Pedroia.

  3. vpettibone57 - Sep 5, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    from what i have observed some of the pitchers that are getting hurt, i think they have bad mecanics period. ill use lincecum as an example, i dont think he will ever get hurt, sometimes kruk & kipe kid around and they elastic arm. dont say that for nothing. ok you have the long stride but the point is he uses everything in his body to make the most of it and then his arm has the dangle and he doesnt get the arm involved till the very last, let see he has a stretch routine he uses, not so much the wgts but he stretchs his body, he has been doing this forever since he was a kid. so his body and his arm are well conditioned to this. he has good mechanics is what im saying. and 148 pitch count on his no hitter didnt affect him whatsoever, everybody kept saying this would bode ill for him, na dont think so in college he used to have multiple games where he racked up pitch counts up to 150 + and it didnt affect him. so i im saying if you have good mechanics to begin with maybe you wont get hurt so much. just what i have observed.

  4. vpettibone57 - Sep 5, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    ok. watch on you tube the somax analysis on pitching. explains everything i think.

  5. dexterismyhero - Sep 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Who did Joe Shlabotnik pitch for?

  6. fetucinni - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    Injuries are due to poor mechanics and lifting too much weights. Weights is what stiffens elasticity and leads to loss in velocity and injuries. Many pitchers are simply overthrowing the ball with poor mechanics.

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