Crazy to cite Koufax on high pitch counts argument

April, 2, 2009
I'm with Bruce Jenkins. These silly teams really do need to stop babying their pitchers

    Late last summer, your 3-Dot proprietor composed a two-part series on pitch counts for the Sporting Green. It was a plea for teams to use common sense and visual observations, not strictly a set of numbers, to get their pitchers to work longer into games and eventually become complete-game masters like so many stars of the past. As a team-wide philosophy, it doesn't come overnight; it would require a school of thought that blankets the system, stretching all the way down to Class A ball, and it would probably take two or three years to really take hold.

    There are also pitchers in every organization who are capable of handling 130-pitch complete games right now. Stifled by the paranoia of their manager or front office, they just don't know it yet.


    Vin Scully, the peerless announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, reckons that Sandy Koufax threw more than 200 pitches to win the last game played at the L.A. Coliseum in 1961. Koufax went on to compile three seasons of 300-plus innings, three with at least 20 complete games and three with at least 300 strikeouts, while leading the National League in ERA in each of his last five seasons.

    Asked about the so-called Quality Start (at least six innings, no more than three earned runs), Koufax scoffed, "To me, a quality start is when the starting pitcher is still on the mound when the game is over, and his teammates rush out of the dugout to congratulate him on the victory."

Jenkins' column/post runs 1,275 words. Maybe he just ran out of time or space. [Space? It's the Web!--ed.] I know, but he's a fellow BBWAA member so I'm bending over backward, as usual. But all those words, and it wasn't worth mentioning that Sandy Koufax didn't throw a single angry pitch after his 31st birthday?

I mean, if you want to throw Nolan Ryan out there as the exemplar of high pitch counts, great. But Sandy Koufax doesn't make your case; he destroys it.

(H/T: BTF's Newsstand)



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