Thursday, June 13, 2013

Marichal v. Spahn before and after July 2, 1963.

Juan Marichal 217
Warren Spahn 172

Those are the estimated pitch counts for their legendary 1-0 16 inning game from the previous post:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Marichal v. Spahn July 2, 1963: pitch counts.

For the 1963 season 25 year old Marichal won 20 games for the first time leading the National League (NL) in:
wins 25 (8 losses)
innings 321.33
batters faced 1,270.

42 year old Spahn won 20 games for the 13th and final time in 1963 going 23-7 leading the NL in complete games for the 9th and final time with 22.  Spahn pitched 259.66 innings.

At age 20 in B ball in 1941 Spahn threw 212 innings, then 248 innings in A ball in 1942 plus 15 innings for the Braves before missing three seasons (1943, 1944, 1945) due to military service in WWII.  Spahn was next in the minors in 1966 at age 45 but apparently did not pitch.  In 1967 in AAA Spahn threw 7 innings in three games, one in relief.

Maybe missing those three seasons at ages 22, 23, 24 contributed to Spahn's extraordinary longevity and durability.  In 1946 Spahn did not pitch a lot of innings, only 125.66, starting with 4 innings in relief on June 17.

Bob Feller was also in the military service missing seasons (1942, 1943, 1944) for ages 23, 24, 25 and pitching only 72 innings in 1945 at age 26.  Feller pitched in the majors for the first time in four years August 24, 1945: 9 innings complete game 4-2 win over Detroit, 12 SO.  Feller then started five games on three days rest, going 9 innings in the very next start.  In his final three starts Feller had 5, 3, 4 days of rest.

In 1946, still only 27, Feller led the American League (AL) in:
wins 26
games 48
starts 42
complete games 36
shutouts 10
innings 371.33
hits 277
BB 153
SO 348 (SO/9 = 8.4)
batters faced 1,512

Feller also had 4 saves in 6 relief appearances.  Feller was never the same again.  In 1951 Feller led the AL in wins (22-8) and home runs (HR) 22; in 249 innings he had only 111 SO (SO/9 = 4.0).   At age 32 Feller was finished as a big time pitcher.

I digress to Feller so that people do not succumb to the temptation to rail against pitch counts and describe how pitchers were much sturdier and braver in the old days, old generally being relative to one's youth.

Monday, June 3, 2013
Does Rico Petrocelli make us stupid?

The type of issue involving Rico Petrocelli in 1969 is repeated every day in 2013.  It's impossible to listen to a conversation about baseball for more than five minutes without an otherwise intelligent educated human being saying something comparably stupid.

Does baseball make us stupid or are we interested in baseball because we are already stupid?
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In the July 2 sixteen inning game Spahn was starting on three days rest.  On June 28, 1963 Spahn had shutout the Dodgers 1-0 on 3 hits in LA pitching on 4 days rest.  Four days before that Spahn had pitched on 4 days rest and gone 9 innings, beating the Giants 10-4.

Following the 16 inning game Spahn pitched on 4 days rest in Houston: 5 hit shutout winning 4-0.

Marichal was also starting the 16 inning game (10 SO) on three days rest.  On June 28 on three days rest Marichal went 7.66 innings against the Reds: no decision in a 7-3 Giants win; 2 hits, 3 unearned runs, 6 BB, 13 SO.  Four days after the 16 inning game Marichal pitched 7 innings against the Cardinals in a 5-0 loss: 2 runs, both earned, 1 SO.

In the next six seasons Marichal won 21, 22, 25, 14, 26, 21.  In 1968 at age 30 Marichal led the NL in:
wins 26
complete games 30
innings 325.66
hits 295
batters faced 1,307
SO/BB 4.74

In 1969 Marichal won 20 games for the final time: 21-11; 299 innings.  At age 31 Marichal led the NL in:
ERA+ 168
WHIP .994
BB/9 1.6

The closest thing to a big season for Marichal after that was 1971, age 33: 18-11, 279 innings; did not lead NL in anything.  In his final two seasons, pitching for the Red Sox then Dodgers, Marichal pitched 63 innings in 13 games; he finished one.  Juan Marichal retired at age 37 having pitched 3,507 innings.  Spahn pitched 5,046 innings, all but 15 starting at age 25.

Innings are a very crude way to measure work load.  Counting pitched is much more useful but it misses a lot:
- warm up pitches before the game
- warm up pitches between innings; 8 multiplied by 15 = another 120 in that 16 inning game
- throws to first.

33 year old Del Crandall caught all 172 or so of Spahn's pitches into the bottom of the 15th inning plus most if not all of Spahn's 120 or so between inning warm ups ... and threw all of them back.  Crandall was 2 for 6 batting.  32 year old Ed Bailey was 1 for 6 doing the same for Marichal.  On the other hand Crandall caught only 75 games in 1963, Bailey 88.

Crandall caught the very next day July 3 going 2 for 3 as the Braves beat the Giants 6-5; Crandall then caught July 4, 5, 6 (two games), 7; his next game was July 11.

Baily pinch hit July 3 and walked; finished the July 4 game against the Braves, no plate appearances; Giants lost both.  July 5 Bailey caught 11 innings: 0 for 5.

Catchers get banged up but rarely have arm trouble.  And nobody counts their throws.

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