A lot was different. Part of it was the culture, and just the evolution of baseball. Managers had smaller teams (i believe teams used to be 20, not 25), so managers were required to go to their bullpens less. In addition, managers used the bullpens only if the starter struggled so much that he had to be taken out, not because the starter had thrown 100 pitches in the 6th inning. This means that the only pitchers who would make it to MLB would be the "genetic freaks" who could could throw and throw and throw without getting hurt. The biggest difference was that pitchers used to simply not be as good. While starters today dial it up near 100 MPH, pitchers back 100 years ago usually threw their fastball in the 70s. I believe Walter Johnson's "insane" fastball was like, mid 80s or something like that. Another big difference was that today, any hitter is a threat for a HR. THis wasn't always the case, so pitchers used to be able to "pace themselves" and only had to really give max effort when they put men on base, or were facing the 1 or 2 power hitters that each team had.
EDIT: that wasn't very in-depth, but it just gives you an idea.... there are also other reasons why pitchers used to throw 150 pitches every other day, but I'm sure others could explain it better than I.
by jake_twothousandfive » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:43 am
Art Vandelay wrote:There was no drug testing in Cy Young's era. If they didn't test today, pitchers could take stuff to help them recover faster, then everyone would be pitching fifty complete games a year.
PEDs in Cy Youg's era would have been a lot different then they were today. Even if they were used in that time period (which they probably weren't IMO) you'd have to question their effectiveness among other things.
The two periods are tough to compare because like buffalobills pointed out, pitching 100 years ago was likely a lot different then it is today. The stress put on by each pitch was almost without a doubt a lot less than the stress put on pitchers today. Cy Young probably had a few deceptive pitches which fooled hitters rather than a dominant fastball and overpowering stuff as is typical among the aces of today.
"Don't take anything for granted, because tomorrow is not promised to any of us." ---Kirby Puckett
If pitchers were taking something back in the day, it probably wasn't very effective. They had weight loss pills made out of tapeworms back then. We weren't exactly on top of the medical field.
Players in general train much harder to be athletes these days (also, the drugs, you have to mention the drugs I guess). This has led increased velocity and crazier breaking stuff. Consequently, I also think it has led to more violent motions and increased fatigue. As was mentioned earlier in this post, it's much easier to throw 150 pitches when you're topping out at 70 MPH.
Weaker hitters, hitters didn't work the count, pitchers didn't have to throw full effort as much. More fastball/curve/change up and less slider and goofy pitches.
In the past 20 years the number of pitches per game for the average starter hasn't changed, this idea that pitchers are wimps now is just mistaken. Cy Young would not be completing most of his games if he were to suddenly pitch today, the game has changed.
buffalobillsrul2002 wrote: The biggest difference was that pitchers used to simply not be as good. While starters today dial it up near 100 MPH, pitchers back 100 years ago usually threw their fastball in the 70s.
A decent high school team today would tattoo most pitchers throwing 70 - 80 mph.
There were other differences in the game that allowed pitchers to log so many innings. Up until 1920, it was completely legal to doctor the ball. Some pitchers would even boast about how great their "shineball" was. Balls were rarely replaced mid-game (sometimes, teams would even send people into the stands to retrieve them from fans), so they must've been messes (and harder to hit). This made it a lot easier to get away with not topping 80 MPH in a game.