Different Era, Different Approach, Same Job...
I am no pitching coach, but I will say that the level of pitching was still very good back 80-90 years ago. The offense of the game was off the charts back then, a complete 180 from the Dead Ball Era, however there were still many very fine pitchers who threw very hard. These guys would throw in the mid to upper 90s, but didn't have all the access to proper conditioning, training, nutrition, medication, coaching, etc that we have today. We have learned over time, and these early greats didn't have the luxury of the specialization that we have today.
Guys like Dizzy Dean, Carl Hubbell, Dazzy Vance, Lefty Grove, Lefty Gomez, etc were all great pitchers whose career stats were skewed due to the league they played in and its emphasis on offense. Take a look at many of those aces back in the day, they were typically the team's "closer" as well. Of course, that term and saves didn't exist back then, but MGRs used their best pitchers in relief quite often back then. I'll use Dizzy Dean as an example, based off his stats from baseball-reference.com:
From 1932-1937 (before the broken toe in the All Star Game, DAMN YOU Earl Averill!!!), Ol' Diz was the premier strikeout pitcher in the NL. He led the league in Ks from 1932-1935 (totals in order - 191, 199, 195, 190) and was second in 1936 (195). The game back then was a lot different, with .400 hitters and the whole NL as a league hit over .300 in 1930.
Anyway, as the Cardinals only great pitcher and ace, Dizzy had game started (GS) totals of (again, in order from '32-'37: 33, 34, 33, 34, and 25, however he also pitched in relief and added these totals as reliever: 13, 14, 17, 14, 17, 2.
He led the NL in wins twice ('34 and '35), CG 3 times ('33, '35, '36) and saves once ('36). Imagine today if a Justin Verlander or an Adam Wainwright was not only leading his team (or league) in wins, CG, IP SHO and K, but ALSO in SAVES!?! Here are Dizzy's wins and saves totals for 1932-1937 (led NL in bold):
1932 - 18 W, 2 SV
1933 - 20 W, 4 SV
1934 - 30 W, 7 SV
1935 - 28 W, 5 SV
1936 - 24 W, 11 SV
1937 - 13 W, 1 SV
Lefty Grove also pitched during this time, and is considered by many as possibly the greatest pitcher of all time.
"It ain't braggin' if you can do it!" Dizzy Dean
Last edited by Dizzy Dean 17; 08-20-2013 at 05:26 PM.