Originally Posted by edabbs44
I think we are in a much better place so I am scared to open this back up but...how do "we" know with 100% certainty that "overworked" pitchers are much more likely to get hurt? That's the part that sticks with me.
I kind of view this in the same way some have described chemistry, where chemistry seems to exist in winning situations. "Overworking" seems to be more prevalent when pitchers get hurt.
I think my main point is that, in my opinion, this isn't as drastic as "100% certainty" or "much more likely". If there is solid evidence that this is really true, I am sure we would've seen it by now.
I would hypothesize that we're still in a place where we're over-genericizing things. While training, nutrition and bio-mechanical analysis have improved, the human physique is still essentially what is has always been. I would imagine that pitching is much like any physical activity and repetitive use injuries (even those that culminate in a traumatic event) are in large part of a function of the specifics of a given pitcher's body -- it's "design", it's recovery rate, etc.
One thing not taken in to account is the selection effect. If pitchers in the 60's were expected to throw 300 innings, the ones who were particularly susceptible to repetitive use injuries were more likely to get injured via overuse early in their baseball careers, lose effectiveness and fail make/establish themselves in the major leagues to begin with.
Would Rich Harden or Mark Prior have "survived" long enough to make the majors in 1966? It's possible that the pool of major league pitchers 40 years ago had already been filtered of it's most injury prone pitchers, making it appear that the average pitcher had greater ability to give innings. It's also quite possible that a number of pitchers today could be 300 inning guys were they given the opportunity to do so.
Add in the lack of the slider, an extremely stressful pitch to throw, and the increase of power throughout the lineup requiring a more sustained effort of the pitcher and it's easy to see the variety of explanations adding up.