View single post by WongLee
 Posted: Thu Jun 14th, 2018 02:20 am
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Joined: Fri Oct 19th, 2007
Location: Bay Shore, New York
Posts: 7061
srossi wrote: WongLee wrote: This is what I can't understand and I've never heard a good explanation of why. How could guys like Cy Young, Iron Joe McGinnity and Walter Johnson, throw 400 plus innings year in and year out, strike out well over 300 guys a year, and have 20 year careers?
They weren’t throwing as hard or a variety of pitches. It was all fastball curve and despite some tall tales that can’t be proven in the days before radar guns, they were probably topping out in the 80s. And even so, some of these guys put their bodies through torture that would never be allowed today. I’ve read that Old Hoss Radbourn couldn’t brush his teeth or comb his hair during the off-season because his arm was so fucked up. That was after he won a record 59 games, pitching approximately every other day. During the deadball era, he probably was throwing the equivalent of what softball pitchers throw today, but he still basically destroyed his arm. 

I also think in all seriousness that natural strength from farming or manual labor, which is what all these guys had, preserved the arm a lot more than weight training. Pure speculation that those guys couldn't throw as fast. Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson had fastballs that were close to unhittable. The same with Bob Feller who some modern day historians think topped 100mph on a regular basis. Satchel Paige (go ahead and disagree racist). While the mechanics were not nearly as sophisticated as they are now, these guys were just as good as anyone today.

Now as far as these guys fucking up their arms, did they really? Christy Mathewson pitched 17 seasons and was only stopped because the Hun mustard gassed him in the trenches. Walter Johnson went 21 seasons. Cy Young went 22. Iron Joe McGinnity went 10 years but was a rookie at age 28. Muthafucka had consecutive years where he went well over 400 innings.
Two pitches is not exactly right either. You had knuckleball pitchers, screwball pitchers, and sinkerball pitchers.

Just like Strangler Lewis could beat John Cena in a shoot match, Smokey Joe Wood had a better fastball than Jerry Blevins.

— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) October 8, 2009
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