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Friday, June 29, 2018

Pitcher activity has become so limited that they get injured running the bases: Wang, Wainwright, Tanaka. No Whitey Ford they.

First three pitchers who were injured running the bases in recent seasons, then a look at Whitey Ford in 1961.

Chien-Ming Wang: Yankees starter, won 19 in 2006 and 2007:
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Start Time: 1:05 p.m. Local
Attendance: 43,165
Venue: Minute Maid Park (Houston was still in the National League in 2008)
Yankees 13, Astros 0
Wang pitched 5 innings and got the win (8-2). Entering the 6th inning the Yankees led 3-0. With two on and one out Wang bunted into a force and reached first base and later scored from second on a single by Derek Jeter. Wang injured his right foot: torn Lisfranc ligament and a partial tear of the peroneus longus. He did not pitch again that season and was never the same again. He was 28 years old.

Adam Wainwright: Cardinals starter, won 20 twice, 19 twice:
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Start Time: 6:12 p.m. Local
Attendance: 35,919
Venue: Miller Park

Cardinals 5, Brewers 3
Leading 2-0 Wainwright led off the top of the fifth and popped out to first; trying to run out of the batter's box Wainwright tore his Achilles tendon, had surgery and next pitched September 30, 2015. Wainwright appeared in two more games that season, all one inning in relief with zero plate appearances. He was 33 years old. Four starts in 2018 at age 36.

Masahiro Tanaka: Yankees starter, won 24 in his final season in Japan, 2013:
Friday, June 8, 2018
Start Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
Attendance: 42,961
Venue: Citi Field
Yankees 4, Mets 1
The first Met batter, Brandon Nimmo, homered but Tanaka allowed only that one run in 5 innings pitched. He did not get the win. In the 6th Tanaka was safe on an error by the first baseman and later tied the game when he scored on a sacrifice fly by Aaron Judge but injured his legs. Tanaka has been on the disabled list with minor strains of both hamstrings. He's 29 years old.

Whitey Ford is regarded by many as the greatest pitcher in Yankee history. Through 1960 the most that Ford pitched was in 1955 when he was 26 years old and had these career highs to that point:
253 innings
39 games
33 starts

Ford also led the American League in 1955 with 18 wins and 18 complete games.

In 1961 the AL added two new teams and increased its schedule from 154 to 162 games. New Yankee Manager Ralph Houk had the 32 year old Ford pitch in 39 games, all starts, and throw 283 innings. Ford led the AL in wins, winning percentage, batters faced, FIP (fielding independent pitching). Ford won the Cy Young award, which went to the best pitcher in the majors through 1966, not to one pitcher in each league.

But Ford also batted. The Designated Hitter (DH) did not start in the AL until 1973. In 1961 Whitey Ford had a career high 114 plate appearances (PA). Ford's OPS was only .454 and his OPS+ a measly 27. But Ford had 17 hits and 12 walks. Ford scored 11 runs and drove in 10.

Whitey Ford pitched 283 innings and was on base about 30 times in 1961 at the age of 32. Ford then pitched in the 1961 World Series and broke the WS record for consecutive career shutout innings held by Babe Ruth. Ford also another 6 PA with one walk.

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