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Drungo's Blog About Pitchers Throwing Harder Today - Question?


Old#5fan

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You don't think it's likely that someone would have said something if he threw that hard? That Neyer/James book was written by scouring countless old guides and magazines and scouting reports and the like, and all they found about Tom Phoebus' fastball was a quote that said it was "good", after it mentioned his curve.

I don't think it's on the level of Old#5 gossip to think someone, somewhere would have remarked that he had an excellent heater.

I don't think that it was on the level of Old Fan's gossip, which is why I said that it was almost as specious. You at least provided a basis for your presumption, which was deeper than "he once threw a no-hitter." I don't think that the Neyer/James book description of Phoebus' "good" fastball necessarily provides evidence that he didn't throw in the 90's (albeit, even if it was in the low 90's.)

Also, I have said several times that it WAS unlikely that Phoebus threw that hard, but not necessarily impossible.

The truth regarding the velocity of Phoebus' fastball could be somewhere in the middle of Old Fan's assertions and your presumptions, but I don't believe that it can (or will ever be) be proven, one way or the other.

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Btw Palmer was still throwing 88ph at age 44 so he had to be throwing upper 90 in the 60's when Phoebus was pitching . My point is I know Phoebus wasn't as fast as Palmer but he and Drabowski would have been the next two fastest on the Orioles in that time frame

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Drungo, you really don't know everything about things that happened before your time and neither do I nor anyone else. But I GUARANTEE you Jim Palmer was throwing 88 mph at age 44 because he was trying to make a comeback and I remember seeing that and thinking he's done. (and he was) He was in spring training for awhile and finally hung it up for good.

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Anyone know if Phoebus is still living? If so, someone ought to interview him about his no-hitter, and ask him if he thought how fast he thought he threw.

Phoebus is alive and well.

This is a "Catching up with Tom Phoebus" interview from 2009.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/thetoydepartment/2009/04/catching_up_with_tom_phoebus.html

Draw whatever conclusions that you'd like.

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Phoebus is alive and well.

This is a "Catching up with Tom Phoebus" interview from 2009.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/thetoydepartment/2009/04/catching_up_with_tom_phoebus.html

Draw whatever conclusions that you'd like.

This is a great article! Thanks for sharing. In my estimation it pretty much answered the question and both of us were wrong (Drungo and I). I think Phoebus somehow knew his fastball top end was 94 and that makes sense. My guess is he threw his fastball in the 91-94 range. So my previous assertion that he probably could throw in the upper 90's was wrong. Palmer in his prime was faster and likely threw above that in the 93-96 range. This makes perfect sense to me and it should everyone.

Drungo was also dead wrong in asserting he threw in the 88-91 range. From the pitchers I saw pitch in person during that era, I would put McNally and Bunker in that range, but not Phoebus, and not Moe Drabowski, who I also think threw in the same range as Phoebus. This would put them slower than Palmer but above the rest of the Orioles very capable pitching staff at that time.

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phoebus.jpg

Funny story. They used to have Safety Patrol Day at Memorial Stadium when I was in elementary school. You got in free with your safety patrol badge. I couldn't attend that day when Tommy Phoebus was to pitch because my Little League was opening that day. My best friend next door who had never, ever been to a baseball game, went that day and saw the no-hitter. 50 years of watching baseball almost every day and many, many games, I have yet to see one. But my buddy Phil (R.I.P.) saw one game in his life and it was a no-hitter.

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I'm just going to back away slowly, and then hit unsubscribe from this thread before I get into trouble.

No, I agree with you (even though I am an old timer who saw plenty of fastballers, including Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan (when he was in the Appalachian League with the Marion Mets!!!) It is also interesting to note that pitchers today not only throw harder, they do it from a mound that was lowered in 1969. For most pitchers, velocity would have been helped by coming from a higher mound (if their stride was sufficient to take advantage, which most certainly were.) Nowadays, pitchers throw harder even from the lower mound (and the TJ rate demonstrates the impact that this can have.) It may be about time to lower the mound even again given both the decline in offense after the peak of PEDs era and the fact that a lowered mound likely would reduce the injury rate to pitchers.

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He seems to think he threw 94.

Logically, that makes perfect sense that he did throw in the 91-94 range with his fastball,as he wasn't quite as fast as Palmer, who I believe had to throw in the 93-96 range in his prime. Heck, Jim was throwing 88 mph at age 44 when attempting a comeback after not pitching at all for several years. This seems accurate to me.

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Prior to the 1970s and the advent of modern radar technology the techniques for measuring speed were suspect, at best. I'd take anything prior 1970ish with a huge grain of salt. With Walter Johnson and Bob Feller they were often trying to measure with some kind of weighted pendulum devices and eyeballing how far they'd deflect after being impacted with the ball, then hand-calculating a velocity. They were probably doing well to get within +/- 10 mph.

And then you get the aprocyphal stories of Steve Dalkowski or other minor/Negro leaguers throwing 110 or 115 mph... totally unverifable and almost certainly exaggerated.

I also think that today's pitchers actually have the physical capability to throw harder than those of the past. Absolutely on average, even if there were a handful of outliers in the past who could occasionally approach 100 mph. Better training, knowledge of biomechanics, nutrition, workouts, etc. There are a lot more players today who can throw 95 mph on a regular basis than there were in the past. A lot. The farther back in time you go the more true that is. In 1890 there probaby weren't many pitchers who could even hit 90 mph. When the NL started in the 1870s everyone had to, by rule, throw underhanded from a flat surface and there was a lot of carry-over from the old cricket rules about not snapping your wrist or bending your elbow. And an average adult male was probably 5' 5", 140 pounds. It would be amazing if anyone from that era threw 85.

According to the link above, Bob Feller's velocity was measured using a photoelectric cell that was used for measuring artillery velocity. Ryan's was measured using a radar gun.''

Since Feller's velocity was measured at home plate, I believe they took the liberty of extrapolating his pitch velocity at the point that Pitch f/x takes its maximal velocity measurement (which is 50 ft from home plate, basically a couple feet past the pitcher's arm when he releases the ball.)

edit: Ryan's 100.9 that stands today was measured at 10 feet from home plate, so they extrapolated that as well.

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