Author Topic: What happened to pitcher stamina?  (Read 322 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline hohoho

  • Posts: 1983
What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Topic Start: June 18, 2022, 09:46:52 PM »
In the 1964 WS, Bob Gibson pitched the final game for 9 innings on 2 days rest. Days before he pitched a 10 inning complete game. In those 2 starts, he struck out 22 and gave up 5 earned runs. This against the Yankees, featuring Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, etc.
In 1968 he had a 1.12 era, with 28 complete games in 34 starts. They lowered the mound to 10 inches in 1969, so Gibson that year had an era of 2.18 with 28 complete games in 35 starts!
So what happened?

Online JCA-CrystalCity

  • Global Moderator
  • ****
  • Posts: 34379
  • Platoon - not just a movie, a baseball obsession
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #1: June 18, 2022, 09:56:07 PM »
First came the shift to a 5 man rotation, then came relief specialists, then came folks realizing you are better off with maxing out pitchers rather than having most starters trying to throw more. Sure, Gibson, Spahn, Marichal, Clemens, Scherzer, etc... you want them to go 9, but most guys aren't that good.

Online Slateman

  • Posts: 59753
  • THE SUMMONER OF THE REVERSE JINX
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #2: June 18, 2022, 09:59:56 PM »
That was 50+ years ago. Baseball has changed a lot. No one was throwing upper 90s with the kind of breaking stuff pitchers are seeing right now.

Josiah Gray would be untouchable if you transported him back to 1968

Online JCA-CrystalCity

  • Global Moderator
  • ****
  • Posts: 34379
  • Platoon - not just a movie, a baseball obsession
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #3: June 18, 2022, 10:14:42 PM »
10 years ago, I don't think there were lefty starters that sat at 95. Johnson had retired, and I don't think Price, Lester, etc... could throw that hard.

Edit - 2 starting pitchers averaged 95+ in 2012. Price and Smardizjia. No other starter.

Online Slateman

  • Posts: 59753
  • THE SUMMONER OF THE REVERSE JINX
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #4: June 18, 2022, 10:21:46 PM »
Price sat 94/95 back in the day.

What teams didnt have was a bullpen filled with 96+. Or a number 5/spot starter who came up and threw triple digits.

Offline Natsinpwc

  • Posts: 21711
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #5: June 18, 2022, 10:23:34 PM »
I think Gibson probably threw mid 90s although they did not have the guns on them all the time back then. Now did he throw that on two days rest? Probably not but I bet he was still throwing low 90s with good location. These guys throw hard now but lack location. Gray would not have dominated back then because he lacks location. His 93-94 is not much faster than many threw back then. At least not the current Jo Jo. BTW they also threw breaking balls back then also. Probably not as many change ups. They were generally taught to pitch for contact so they could pitch lots of innings.

Offline Natsinpwc

  • Posts: 21711
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #6: June 18, 2022, 10:24:50 PM »

What teams didnt have was a bullpen filled with 96+. Or a number 5/spot starter who came up and threw triple digits.
You are correct on the bullpen statement. So starters taught to throw hard for 5 innings.

Online JCA-CrystalCity

  • Global Moderator
  • ****
  • Posts: 34379
  • Platoon - not just a movie, a baseball obsession
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #7: June 18, 2022, 10:29:35 PM »
Price sat 94/95 back in the day.

What teams didnt have was a bullpen filled with 96+. Or a number 5/spot starter who came up and threw triple digits.
yah, but look at the starters back as recent as 2012. There was price, smardizjia, and no other starter that averaged 95. None. Gray hit 95 consistently tonight.

Offline hotshot

  • Posts: 1322
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #8: June 19, 2022, 08:02:19 AM »
Many reasons. Pitchers were once taught that pitching to contact was a good thing. Batters goal being to work counts. Smaller ballparks. Pitchers' contracts (you don't want to risk a commodity you have so much capital tied up in). Not sure about that last one as arm injuries seem more prevalent with "babying" pitchers.

Online blue911

  • Posts: 18066
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #9: June 19, 2022, 10:30:58 AM »
The mound was lowered after the 1968 season

Offline Chelsea_Phil

  • Posts: 89
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #10: June 19, 2022, 05:27:15 PM »
And brush back pitches became virtually outlawed by umpires

Online van lingle mungo

  • Posts: 198
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #11: June 20, 2022, 02:32:41 PM »
Nolan Ryan has lots of answers re: this question, for sure!

Pitch counts suddenly gained more emphasis sometime back about 30 years ago. General consensus became that 100-110 pitches marked the point at which a pitcher could no longer be expected to be effective. Combine that with ridiculous salary increases and the subsequent need to pamper your high priced talent, and a measly 6 innings became a "quality start" instead of 7,8,or 9.

Online dracnal

  • Posts: 1667
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #12: June 20, 2022, 02:55:14 PM »
Nolan Ryan has lots of answers re: this question, for sure!

Pitch counts suddenly gained more emphasis sometime back about 30 years ago. General consensus became that 100-110 pitches marked the point at which a pitcher could no longer be expected to be effective. Combine that with ridiculous salary increases and the subsequent need to pamper your high priced talent, and a measly 6 innings became a "quality start" instead of 7,8,or 9.

Given how many guys arms are damn near falling off their body these days when they are being 'babied' vs the people who threw 150 pitches every couple of days, you have to assume there's something massively different between the pitching styles.

Going by everything I've seen, the answer is 'Velocity and movement.' Modern pitching does things to the body that it was never, ever designed to do. There is absolutely a price to pay for throwing more than 95 miles an hour constantly. Old school was pitch to contact with control and location being paramount. I really don't expect that approach would work well in the modern era of films, breakdowns, and stats. The old school guys were definitely amazing in their time, but the game is constantly evolving and adjusting and it has hit a point where if Walter Johnson in his prime pitched today, he would have to make significant changes to his style or he'd have had an ERA that made Trevor Rosenthal look like an ace.

I would not be surprised to learn that Nolan Ryan was the tipping point between the older approach and the modern fireball throwers. He had a one in a billion arm, so most guys who have come after him and tried that approach have success until their tendons explode.

Offline Elvir Ovcina

  • Posts: 4860
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #13: June 22, 2022, 09:00:24 PM »
Pitch counts and foul balls. 

Offline hotshot

  • Posts: 1322
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #14: June 23, 2022, 08:45:24 AM »
First came the shift to a 5 man rotation, then came relief specialists, then came folks realizing you are better off with maxing out pitchers rather than having most starters trying to throw more. Sure, Gibson, Spahn, Marichal, Clemens, Scherzer, etc... you want them to go 9, but most guys aren't that good.
Wasn't only the HoF-level pitchers who threw Complete Games. In a 154 game season, the top teams often posted CG numbers in the 50s and 60s,e.g., in 1956 the Cleveland Indians posted 67 Complete Games. Three other teams out of the 16 that existed had 64, 65 and 66. The lowest number of CGs was the NY Giants with 31. Our seventh place Senators had 36, with Chuck Stobbs' 15 leading the way.



Online JCA-CrystalCity

  • Global Moderator
  • ****
  • Posts: 34379
  • Platoon - not just a movie, a baseball obsession
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #15: June 23, 2022, 09:01:43 AM »
Wasn't only the HoF-level pitchers who threw Complete Games. In a 154 game season, the top teams often posted CG numbers in the 50s and 60s,e.g., in 1956 the Cleveland Indians posted 67 Complete Games. Three other teams out of the 16 that existed had 64, 65 and 66. The lowest number of CGs was the NY Giants with 31. Our seventh place Senators had 36, with Chuck Stobbs' 15 leading the way.

You are absolutely right about who was completing games back 40-70 years ago.  You didn't need to be a HoF candidate.  Just taking one mediocre year in the mid-70s, a 2 WAR pitcher with a 4.53 ERA, Ken Brett, made 34 starts and went 224.2 innings for Pittsburgh in 1977 at age 28.  That works out to an average of 6.6 innings per start for a .500 pitcher.  7 complete games for about as middling a guy as you could get. 

The thing that folks have realized is you are better off having a guy like that max out, pitch fewer innings, and have relievers maxing out finish games off.

A nice recent comparison to Brett's year would be Tyler Anderson's 2021.  2.1 WAR, 4.53 ERA, 31 starts, but just 167 innings.  5.4 innings per start. Anderson was viewed as an innings eater going into this off-season (he's done a lot better than that!), but he ate almost 60 fewer innings than Brett.

Offline Smithian

  • Posts: 10831
  • Sunshine Squad 2022
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #16: June 23, 2022, 11:38:47 AM »
You are absolutely right about who was completing games back 40-70 years ago.  You didn't need to be a HoF candidate.  Just taking one mediocre year in the mid-70s, a 2 WAR pitcher with a 4.53 ERA, Ken Brett, made 34 starts and went 224.2 innings for Pittsburgh in 1977 at age 28.  That works out to an average of 6.6 innings per start for a .500 pitcher.  7 complete games for about as middling a guy as you could get. 

The thing that folks have realized is you are better off having a guy like that max out, pitch fewer innings, and have relievers maxing out finish games off.

A nice recent comparison to Brett's year would be Tyler Anderson's 2021.  2.1 WAR, 4.53 ERA, 31 starts, but just 167 innings.  5.4 innings per start. Anderson was viewed as an innings eater going into this off-season (he's done a lot better than that!), but he ate almost 60 fewer innings than Brett.
You figured it out.

Load management. Same as basketball. People realized it was better for the team to manage workload.

Offline nfotiu

  • Posts: 4641
  • Juan Soto aka Human Wildcat
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #17: June 23, 2022, 12:19:30 PM »
As recently as 10 or so years ago, there would normally be about 100 pitchers who pitched an ip per team game played required for qualifying for ERA title.   There were 59 pitchers in 2019 and 39 last year.   We could be getting close to a time when no pitchers qualify for the ERA title.

More pitchers on the roster, more pitchers in the system to call up and down, and a bigger pool of pitchers who can throw over 95 has created this.   It also has created pitchers who are lucky to get through a season or two without surgeries.    Pitchers are becoming a disposable commodity.

Offline nfotiu

  • Posts: 4641
  • Juan Soto aka Human Wildcat
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #18: June 23, 2022, 12:21:16 PM »
Pitch counts and foul balls. 
Disappearing foul territory hasn't helped that at all.   It used to be a bit of risk to hit a foul and get out.  Now, almost all fouls are in the stands.  Just one more thing leading us to a 3 true outcome game, which is very boring baseball IMO.

Offline Natsinpwc

  • Posts: 21711
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #19: June 23, 2022, 12:33:11 PM »
Disappearing foul territory hasn't helped that at all.   It used to be a bit of risk to hit a foul and get out.  Now, almost all fouls are in the stands.  Just one more thing leading us to a 3 true outcome game, which is very boring baseball IMO.
Good point; had not thought about that. 

Offline nfotiu

  • Posts: 4641
  • Juan Soto aka Human Wildcat
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #20: June 23, 2022, 01:49:48 PM »
yah, but look at the starters back as recent as 2012. There was price, smardizjia, and no other starter that averaged 95. None. Gray hit 95 consistently tonight.
Heck, most of the ncaa tournament teams rolled out an endless supply of guys throwing 95.

Offline hotshot

  • Posts: 1322
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #21: June 23, 2022, 01:53:30 PM »
Bob Gibson, who threw hard by the standards of any era, had 255 CG out of the 482 games he started. Put another way, he finished 53% of all the almost 500 games he started in his 17 year career.. Yet, he never had any arm injury -- at least any that put him on the Disabled List. Only time that happened was when Clemente hit a line drive and broke his leg in 1967.

From 1968 (age 33, his 8th season at the top of the StL rotation) until 1972 (age 37), he averaged throwing 288 innings a year). In two of those years, he logged 304 and 314 IP. Zero arm trouble. He was a HoF pitcher but hardly the only pitcher to put up such IP numbers. 

Offline Senatorswin

  • Posts: 537
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #22: June 23, 2022, 02:48:25 PM »
One alarming thing these days is the number of high school and college players who need Tommy John surgery. In the old days kids would play football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. Jump in a creek during the summer. Now the travel teams want you to play for your school in the spring, summer league, then fall league. When the fall league ends in the beginning of November they want you to have supervised workouts until February when the school teams start practicing again. Kids are throwing as hard as they can year round and blow out their arm before ever getting paid. Of course the doctors fix them up and send them back out.

Online JCA-CrystalCity

  • Global Moderator
  • ****
  • Posts: 34379
  • Platoon - not just a movie, a baseball obsession
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #23: June 23, 2022, 04:22:42 PM »
there were still UCL tears back in the old days. It's just it either killed a career or you became a junk-baller like Frank Tanana.

Online blue911

  • Posts: 18066
Re: What happened to pitcher stamina?
« Reply #24: June 23, 2022, 06:25:01 PM »
Our little league fields didn’t have mounds