What do Warren Spahn (right) – the man with the most wins ever for a lefty, Whitey Ford (left) – the man with the most World Series wins ever, Gregg Maddox and Tom Glavine – all Hall Of Fame pitchers have in common?
Give up?……..they achieved the heights they did with a top speed fastball of 91mph. In brief, they learned and executed the art of pitching.
See…..we often forget that the whole purpose of a pitcher is to get batters out. It’s that simple…..get batters out….any way you can. Or even better, make the batter get himself out. These Hall of Famers learned that and thrived because they absorbed that simple but essential tool that leads to winning.
And remember too that these hurlers regularly threw complete games and upwards of 300 innings each season.
Today what we see more often than not are flame throwers who don’t have the foggiest notion of how to pitch Case in point……..C C Sabathia. Here’s a man who found it quite easy when he was getting it up there at 95 or 97…….but now he finds himself￼ in a position where he has to really “pitch” instead of throwing and he’s wasting a whole season (and $20 million of the Yankees money and patience) trying to do it.
Who’s to blame? Certainly not the 6’5″ righthander who catches the attention of a scout who sees him clocking 98…….and snags a multi million dollar bonus before blowing out his elbow with little or no attention paid to finesse instead of brawn as he works up the ladder to the show. Put simply……if it’s not taught it can’t be learned.
And baseball suffers because of it. Because there is nothing more beautiful than a a pitcher like Gregg Maddox painting the corners with a 88mph fastball and watching hitters leaving the batter’s box stymied and asking themselves “How the hell did he get me out?”………again!