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pitchers different 100 years ago?

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Re: pitchers different 100 years ago?

Postby Carnac » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:15 pm

The pitching distance was changed to 60 ft. 6 in. in 1893, so all modern day (post 1900) pitchers pitched from the same distance as today's pitchers.

As for Walter Johnson, he threw harder than the mid 80's. All accounts say he could throw a ball somewhere in the mid to upper 90's. Did he ever use it in games? Yes, but sparingly. If any of today's pitchers needed to pace themselves for possibly 150-200 pitches in some games they would back off on their speed also. There is a different approach when you go as hard as you can for 5-7 innings or know you have to complete the game even if it goes 12 or more innings.

That is why most early pitchers did not throw the ball as hard as they were capable of very often. They had to save their arms.
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Re: pitchers different 100 years ago?

Postby Carnac » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:33 pm

Walter Johnson said Smokey Joe Wood threw harder than he did. Ted Williams said Steve Dalkowski threw the ball faster than anyone he ever saw. He had terrible control, but could by some accounts throw the ball up to 107. (maybe a little high?). But, I think Williams would be about the foremost expert on pitchers.

Today's pitchers don't have the market cornered on speed. But, they throw at 100% more often.
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Re: pitchers different 100 years ago?

Postby Padres Fan » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:40 pm

I think another factor is conditioning, alot of players up to the 60's were farm boys and spent time doing farm work and other manual labor and when they got hurt doing it they still went back out did their jobs because their families depended o it. players today do general exercises that only work after certian muscles and etc. and when they get a small boo boo they choose to sit out awhile, but the other big difference as well, is baseball doesnt draft big ol country boys anymore, its all prospects whose paents pay for them to go to academies and spend money on conditiong and supplements, not the kids who learn by hitting rocks with a rake handle. I am not a country boy, but I learned to hit that wa and had 3 year high school average of .527 average 59/112 with 15hrs 57doubles but was ignored cuz I lived in a rural area and was only 5'6"
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Re: pitchers different 100 years ago?

Postby Chicago RedSox » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:14 pm

CadensDad wrote:If I'm not mistaken didn't they use to stand closer to home plate as well?


They lowered the height of the pitching mound in 1968, from 15" to 10".

Data stolen from:
THE HEIGHT OF THE PITCHING MOUND
On December 3, 1968, the Baseball Rules Committee voted to lower the height of the pitching mound from fifteen to ten inches and to require that all pitching mounds be sloped gradually so that pitchers will not appear to be firing from a steep cliff to the batter below. The pitcher has more leverage on a higher mound while the greater angle produced from the higher mound makes it more difficult to hit the ball squarely. According to physicists, the gear effect states that when comparing a smaller arc and a wider arc, the wider arc generates more velocity from the same force, which means that throwing off a higher mound results in greater velocity.http://www.fantasybaseballcafe.com/forums/posting.php?mode=quote&f=7&p=3130475
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Re: pitchers different 100 years ago?

Postby JMB05 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:39 am

I've been delving into the history of baseball recently and one thing that has not been stated thus far (in any depth I suppose) was the dead-ball era.

Before Ruth's era, teams did not score runs in droves. Winning a ball game 1-0 was much more common than a blowout.

Borrowed this stat from wiki,
The nadir of the dead ball-era was around 1907 and 1908, with a league-wide batting average of .239, slugging average of .306 and ERA under 2.40. That year, the Chicago White Sox hit three home runs for the entire season, yet they finished 88–64, just a couple of games from winning the pennant.


And again,
There were some complaints about the low-scoring games and baseball looked to remedy the situation. In 1909, Ben Shibe invented the cork-centered ball, a ball which the Reach Company, the official ball supplier to the American League (AL), began marketing. Spalding, the ball supplier to the National League (NL), followed suit with its own cork-center ball. The change in the ball had a dramatic impact on both leagues. In 1910, the AL batting average was .243; in 1911, it rose to .273. The NL saw a jump in the league batting average from .256 in 1910 to .272 in 1912.


Small ball was the name of the game. Stolen bases back then were the homeruns of today. Guys didn't hit 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60 hr's, ever, back then.

And speaking of the ball, previously mentioned in this thread but I think we should look at it a bit further. Could you imagine a ball that was soft after a few innings. You could have the best batter ever, but with a ball that has been beaten on, without (until 1909) a cork center, there is not much you could do with it.

And my final thought is the sheer size of the stadiums back then.

Huntington Avenue Grounds, home of the Boston Americans has the most ridiculous dimensions I have ever seen. You think Adrian Gonzalez has it bad in San Diego? How about 635 feet to center. I mean are you kidding me? The game was a lot different back then, and the big bats were really non-existent until the early 20's.

So with that, it is total plausible to see a guy pitch every other day and reach the milestone that Cy did. It is not meant to play down his accomplishment, he obviously was great in his own right, but putting it in that scope makes it much easier to believe. Probably throwing mid 80's gas, I have nothing to back that up with, and putting very little stress (versus what we have today) on a throwing arm a pitcher could much more easily accomplish this.

Also before I forget, the idea of a bullpen didn't come until much later, so you either pitched the whole game or you were not a pitcher.
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Re: pitchers different 100 years ago?

Postby chargerss24 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:40 am

Carnac wrote:Walter Johnson said Smokey Joe Wood threw harder than he did. Ted Williams said Steve Dalkowski threw the ball faster than anyone he ever saw. He had terrible control, but could by some accounts throw the ball up to 107. (maybe a little high?). But, I think Williams would be about the foremost expert on pitchers.

Today's pitchers don't have the market cornered on speed. But, they throw at 100% more often.


Bob Feller has been clocked at 107, the fasted pitch ever recorded. Nevermind it wasn't actually during a game, but that's still impressive.

I read his latest book and it talks about pitching. One thing he mentioned that's a big difference today is that today's pitchers are more muscle-bound than pitchers in Fellers' era. I'm paraphrasing here, but he stated that more muscle mass takes away the flexibility of the arm and tends to lead to problems. He also said that pitchers back then did very little strength training in the arms, but rather threw every day. He is a Hall of Fame pitcher, so I think he knows a thing or two about pitching.
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Re: pitchers different 100 years ago?

Postby HOOTIE » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:31 am

ayebatter wrote:
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.


Walter Johnson threw close to 100 mph. The 90 mph fastball was there back then. 9 innings back then ran around 110 pitches. 9 innings today is around 150 pitches.
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Re: pitchers different 100 years ago?

Postby Polar Bear » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:39 pm

chargerss24 wrote:
Carnac wrote:Walter Johnson said Smokey Joe Wood threw harder than he did. Ted Williams said Steve Dalkowski threw the ball faster than anyone he ever saw. He had terrible control, but could by some accounts throw the ball up to 107. (maybe a little high?). But, I think Williams would be about the foremost expert on pitchers.

Today's pitchers don't have the market cornered on speed. But, they throw at 100% more often.


Bob Feller has been clocked at 107, the fasted pitch ever recorded. Nevermind it wasn't actually during a game, but that's still impressive.

I read his latest book and it talks about pitching. One thing he mentioned that's a big difference today is that today's pitchers are more muscle-bound than pitchers in Fellers' era. I'm paraphrasing here, but he stated that more muscle mass takes away the flexibility of the arm and tends to lead to problems. He also said that pitchers back then did very little strength training in the arms, but rather threw every day. He is a Hall of Fame pitcher, so I think he knows a thing or two about pitching.


This could explain why Lincecum is a small fry yet throws the ball extremely hard.
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Re: pitchers different 100 years ago?

Postby Triplec223 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:35 pm

Polar Bear wrote:
This could explain why Lincecum is a small fry yet throws the ball extremely hard.


Agreed. Lincecum is extremely flexible. To be able to take that long of a stride over and over, then have the hip/hamstring flexibility to basically put the bill of his cap into the ground while standing on one leg after he delivers is impressive. He has some gymnastics in his athletic background, if I recall, which explains a lot.
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Re: pitchers different 100 years ago?

Postby Seanyfever » Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:41 am

Padres Fan wrote:I think another factor is conditioning, alot of players up to the 60's were farm boys and spent time doing farm work and other manual labor and when they got hurt doing it they still went back out did their jobs because their families depended o it. players today do general exercises that only work after certian muscles and etc. and when they get a small boo boo they choose to sit out awhile, but the other big difference as well, is baseball doesnt draft big ol country boys anymore, its all prospects whose paents pay for them to go to academies and spend money on conditiong and supplements, not the kids who learn by hitting rocks with a rake handle. I am not a country boy, but I learned to hit that wa and had 3 year high school average of .527 average 59/112 with 15hrs 57doubles but was ignored cuz I lived in a rural area and was only 5'6"


Add them up...15 HRs and 57 doubles equals 72 hits.... Despite going 59 for 112... :-?
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