Originally Posted by SC Reds Fans
Great read...I do not know about the validity of the article, but who knows...nonetheless, a good read.
Hey, probably a dumb question, but "back-in-the-day", how hard did pitchers throw?
Guys ranging from Walter Johnson to Cy Young to Sandy Koufax...granted they didn't have radar guns, but at least some intelligent guesses? Always wondered if pitchers nowadays throw noticeable harder or is it close?
In my understanding, some pitchers could "top out" at speeds into the mid to upper 90s, but there were fewer pitches in the game with the ability to do this and almost all of them paced themselves. For instance, if it was the third inning with a weak hitter at the plate and nobody on base, a pitcher wouldn't throw as hard since it wasn't a crucial situation. If runners were on base, however, the pitcher would ramp up the velocity and really bear down. There were exceptions, of course, Walter Johnson was known to just throw fast all the time, no matter the situation, and all the evidence I've seen suggests he could get it up there with similar velocity that today's pitchers too. Bob Feller was also recorded at 98.6mph with a US military device, and I believe that was circa 1948.
This is very, very interesting, especially the column of "Sandy Koufax actual count" ... Koufax apparently only averaged about 110 pitches per start, yet he completed so many more games than pitchers today do ...
You also might enjoy reading through this thread regarding velocity: