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Did Pitchers of Yesteryear Throw With "Much Less" Velocity Than They Do Today?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Imapotato
    As for Cy Young, that was his non medical reasoning...and axe chopping did in fact help muscles to have him pitch so many innings, but his ability to pitch was genetic in the form that he had better high twitch fibers
    All of us have genetically determined amounts of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers in our muscles. It's possible that Cy had a genetic gift of a higher percent of slow twitch (endurance) fibers, and that his railroad work simply helped to build strength. In the end you have one mean machine.

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    • #62
      The argument between the great athletes of the past and the athletes of present time has been something that I have debated about for years.

      The thing that strikes me is that the argument of the past athletes being anywhere close to the present athletes is only a matter of statistics.

      I read all of the comments of this post regarding pitching speeds of the past, and I am totally surprised at the comments because the evidence is very obvious when you look at statistics that we can accurately measure.

      All we have to do is go on a site like www.infoplease.com/ipsa/A0114920.html, and review the Olympic statistics that were carefully recorded of every athletic event since the late 1800's.

      For example:
      1912 2004 High School

      100M Running 10.8 9.85 10.13
      200M Running 21.7 19.79 20.13
      High Jump 6'4" 7'8 3/4" 7'7"
      Javlin 198'11" 283'9" 259'10" (Similar to throwing)
      100MFS Swim 1:03.4 48.17 50.12

      Understandably, these are a few examples across the board that show the progression of statistics that we can measure and in all cases we have consistantly made our times and measurements better through years.

      It is obvious that current athletes are much faster, quicker, stronger, and bigger than athletes of the past.

      So what I don't understand is, why would throwing a ball be any different than all the other sports that we have measured throughout the years?

      John Wooden has stated that the athletes of today are much better than the athletes of the past. (paraphased) He is one person who, now is in his 90's , has seen the progression of the era's.

      In my opinion, the only realistic answer to the question is, to use objective, measurable data. Objective, measureable data does not include, blown up fish stories.

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      • #63
        regardless which ever way this argument swings - i don't think the level of competiveness has changed drastically one way or the other

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        • #64
          Originally posted by SABR Matt
          You guys are forgetting one important contributor to ball velocity. THE BALL.

          The live (tightly wound) ball will have a little more speed on it than the dead ball. Could make for an extra couple miles an hour.
          Goog point Matt. The ball can effect velocity in two ways.

          1) Mass- a heavier ball is more diffucult to throw at high speed because one must overcome a higher inertia. (think of throwing a tennis ball vs a steel ball of the same size)

          2) The outer surface of the ball. A "rougher" ball would disrupt the airflow around it more and thus effect velocity.

          And yes, I'm a nerdy engineer by profession.
          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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          • #65
            Would raised seems have an effect?

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            • #66
              Originally posted by bbforlife
              Understandably, these are a few examples across the board that show the progression of statistics that we can measure and in all cases we have consistantly made our times and measurements better through years.

              It is obvious that current athletes are much faster, quicker, stronger, and bigger than athletes of the past.

              So what I don't understand is, why would throwing a ball be any different than all the other sports that we have measured throughout the years?
              Olympic results have improved quite a bit over the past 100 plus years. But one thing to keep in mind is that the level of participation in the Olympics back then was not even close to the level of participation now. A lot more countries participate as well as hundreds and hundreds more athletes. Also, back then it was a true amateur contest. Now it's all about money. Athletes train all year and most are sponsored. If track and field was as big back then and had the participation levels as we have now, I think that the top results would have been better. They wouldn't be ad good as they are now but there wouldnn't be as big of a difference.

              In the case of baseball, I think there's an upper limit to how fast a human being can throw a ball. The first reliable test to determine how fast the best pitcher can throw showed that the fastest pitcher from the late 30's and 40's could throw as hard as the fastest today. I don't think it's a stretch that players from even earlier eras could hit the 100 MPH level as well.
              "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

              Rogers Hornsby, 1961

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              • #67
                Originally posted by [email protected]
                Would raised seems have an effect?
                A positive one on curves, and a negative one on fastball, but probably not too much.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Bench 5
                  Olympic results have improved quite a bit over the past 100 plus years. But one thing to keep in mind is that the level of participation in the Olympics back then was not even close to the level of participation now. A lot more countries participate as well as hundreds and hundreds more athletes. Also, back then it was a true amateur contest. Now it's all about money. Athletes train all year and most are sponsored. If track and field was as big back then and had the participation levels as we have now, I think that the top results would have been better. They wouldn't be ad good as they are now but there wouldnn't be as big of a difference.

                  In the case of baseball, I think there's an upper limit to how fast a human being can throw a ball. The first reliable test to determine how fast the best pitcher can throw showed that the fastest pitcher from the late 30's and 40's could throw as hard as the fastest today. I don't think it's a stretch that players from even earlier eras could hit the 100 MPH level as well.
                  I wonder if it is because baseball is so much a game of skill as opposed to pure athletism.
                  Johnny
                  Delusion, Life's Coping Mechanism

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Bench 5
                    Olympic results have improved quite a bit over the past 100 plus years. But one thing to keep in mind is that the level of participation in the Olympics back then was not even close to the level of participation now. A lot more countries participate as well as hundreds and hundreds more athletes. Also, back then it was a true amateur contest. Now it's all about money. Athletes train all year and most are sponsored. If track and field was as big back then and had the participation levels as we have now, I think that the top results would have been better. They wouldn't be ad good as they are now but there wouldnn't be as big of a difference.

                    In the case of baseball, I think there's an upper limit to how fast a human being can throw a ball. The first reliable test to determine how fast the best pitcher can throw showed that the fastest pitcher from the late 30's and 40's could throw as hard as the fastest today. I don't think it's a stretch that players from even earlier eras could hit the 100 MPH level as well.

                    True but we are bigger, faster, stronger today because of the food we eat and the chemicals in them

                    However, that has effected bones, and (forgot the medical term) muscles, those are the muscles that generate leg speed, strength

                    Those type of muscles do not give any significant improvement in the motion of throwing a baseball

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                    • #70
                      Oh and here is something to ponder

                      Because the older balls were less stiched and had rougher surfaces, they break on the ball especially with all the illegal pitches would be sharper, would they not?

                      Something to keep in thought when discussing the game was inferior back then, why they used bigger bats...etc.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by [email protected]
                        Would raised seems have an effect?
                        Yes, raised seams create turbulent airflow around the ball and possibly increase the air friction on the ball. A perfectly smooth ball would have far less turbulent flow.
                        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by johnny
                          I wonder if it is because baseball is so much a game of skill as opposed to pure athletism.
                          Baseball has much more in common with golf than track, footbal, and basketball. It's a game of skill.
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by johnny
                            I wonder if it is because baseball is so much a game of skill as opposed to pure athletism.
                            It's always a hoot when baseball is compared to other sports, especially olympic events. Relating the improvements in track and field to baseball, only short-changes our National Pastime for what it truly is. Beyond all other games it's a game of strategy, heart, mental strength/quickness, reflexes, and technique perfected through failure.

                            Do size and strength matter in baseball. They sure do now, especially with how the game is setup. There was a time when a strong mind meant more than a strong bicep, and where the will to win was harshly tested inning by inning. Not so anymore. Baseball stands the test of time because of it's intricate details, and to somehow compare that to an "event" which is based on doing something as simple as running, is insulting and humorous altogether.

                            Todays baseball players are like pro motocross riders who were never financially strapped and always rode on the best bikes, with the best parts, had the best technicians using the best tools. Actual rider wise, there isn't much difference from a pro rider compared to some amateurs. Different opportunities and open doors create different results in the end, plain and simple.

                            If we stripped down some of these players today; take away the millions, take away the helmet, body armor, light bat, short fields, strike zone, no throwing inside approach, jets, best food, hotels, workout equipment, etc.. if we strip them down and even take away the evolution of knowledge they benefit from; they aren't better. In fact, they're worse if we let them keep their premadonna, lackadaisical approach.

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                            • #74
                              Stitching the seams could also be a factor, if a better grip helps to throw. Also the ball was changed from horsehide to other animal leathers. Smoothness of ball affects the gripping.

                              Remember, if we are only talking about a difference of 5 mph, anything could be a factor, including atmospheric density in Coors Field.

                              Another factor is the strike zone. The larger the strike zone, the harder you can throw and still get it in there. If the zone were ever expanded to the tops of the shoulders, as it was in the 60's, pitchers could crank it up more, and still throw it over the plate for strikes.

                              And if you only have to go 6-7 innings, that again will let one throw it harder, in strategic moments. No need to save it for later. So a closer can throw it hard and not worry.

                              I just don't think bigger, stronger, faster applies to pitching, because pitching has always depended on technique more than sheer strength. Otherwise, weight-lifters / body-builders would be great pitchers.

                              Bill

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                              • #75
                                I'm reposting a former post, since it was relavant.

                                http://www.baseball-fever.com/showpo...5&postcount=33

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