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  1. #1
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    Whitey Ford says lower mound hurts pitchers

    Maybe this thread is easier for some people to understand. Whitey Ford was asked why so many pitchers have damaged arms at such a young age that require surgery. Ford said pitchers lasted much longer and were hurt less before the mound was lowered. Pitching from a flatter, lower plane puts a great deal of stress on the arm and shoulder than throwing more downhill. Many oldtimers agree.

    It is about time that MLB raise the mound back up.



    March 24, 1969

    From Mountain To Molehill
    When baseball decided to lower the pitching mound to help the hitters, the change seemed minor, but there were signs last week that it may have a major effect on the pastime
    William Leggett
    View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
    Print This PRINT E-mail This EMAIL Most Popular MOST POPULAR SHARE SHARE

    Nelson Briles of the St. Louis Cardinals is a personable young man of 25 who, aside from being able to speak some Spanish, French and Russian, thinks a great deal about his career. As a starting pitcher for less than a season and a half, Briles has already won 29 games, not including one victory in the 1967 World Series. Last week at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., Briles ventured a few preseason comments on the state of the game. "This is a very unorthodox year for spring training," he said. "Everything seemed to hit at exactly the same time. There was the players' boycott, a period of long holdouts and a series of rule changes. It is all very confusing, especially to people trying to get themselves in shape for the start of the season."

    In less than three weeks this already complicated season will indeed begin in earnest, complete with four new expansion teams, sub-league divisional play, a new commissioner and the hope that some hitting will offer improvement on a season of suffocating pitching excellence. The hope is based upon a major change in the rules: the lowering of the pitcher's mound from 15 inches to 10. It could have as profound an effect upon baseball as, say, widening the holes in golf or lowering the net in tennis. It already has caused more genuine spring training arguments, discussion and jokes than anything in years.

    Five inches off the top of the mound may not sound like much, but when you walk into any training camp it looks as if a mountain has been turned into a molehill. From the stands and the dugout the mound, which used to rise like Mount Fuji in the middle of the infield, now resembles the Salt Flats of Utah. Many pitchers are grumbling often and loud while others just wink. The hitters say very little, because they know that when pitchers get angry anything can happen.

    What has happened so far is that spring training has been a hitter's festival. Imagine 54 runs being scored in the first three games of the Arizona exhibition schedule, or the New York Mets pounding out 22 hits in a single game. And all those strikeouts that seemed so dominant last March and early April are now a relic. The games might not be any faster this year, but they certainly are more interesting. Sometimes they recall jai alai more than baseball.

    A slight reduction in the strike zone and the experiment involving pinch hitters received more publicity during the off season than the lowering of the mound. Last year's strike zone was from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the kneecap, but it is now from the armpit to the top of the kneecap. So far there is little evidence that the changed strike zone has had any effect at all, or that indeed the umpires are paying any attention to it. The idea of using a "designated pinch hitter" in place of the pitcher has certainly not been universally accepted, even as an experiment. (Many teams, particularly in the National League, believe that the pitcher should bat in spring training because he is going to have to hit for himself once the regular season begins.)

    But the lowered mound has many of the game's theorists puzzled. Put simply, the mound is now only 10 inches higher than home plate. When a pitcher throws—and particularly a straight overhand pitcher—he finds the ground coming up to meet him a lot quicker than it did before, and he is thus off balance when he releases the ball. "The difference I have noticed is that most of the pitchers seem to be throwing high," says Larry Shepard, the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates and a close student of pitching. When a pitcher throws high he often throws himself out of a job.

    Mickey Lolich, the man who won three games to become the star of last fall's World Series for the Detroit Tigers, says, "My elbow has been bothering me this spring. I can't pinpoint exactly that it has been caused by the lowering of the mound but this is my 11th spring and I never had problems like this before. They've lowered the mound, changed the strike zone and said a pitcher can't go to his mouth. Are we pitchers the bad guys, the villains? Who is going to balance my salary if my earned run average goes up to 3.50?"

    The mound was lowered to try to help return hitting to baseball, since 1968 was completely owned by the pitchers. Highlighted by the excellence of Denny McLain, who won 31 games for the Tigers, and also by Bob Gibson of the Cardinals, who pitched 13 shutouts, pitchers took charge from the very beginning. Only by putting on a strong surge late in the season did Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox lift his batting average to .301, the lowest figure to win a batting championship in the history of the game.

    Mounds have never been standard in either height or shape even though the rule—1.04 in your Official Baseball Rules—clearly states that the infield shall be graded so that the baselines and home plate are level, with a gradual slope from the baselines up to the pitcher's plate, which shall be 15 inches [now 10] above the baseline level.
    Last edited by 7chuck7; 11-09-2012 at 10:51 AM.
    'Real' Yankee fans tell the truth about the team whether it is nice or not.

    "Well, that kind of puts a damper on even a Yankee win."
    -- Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto after reading a bulletin that Pope Paul VI had died

  2. #2
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    Wait, when the mound was higher, wasn't that only for a short stint?

  3. #3
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    MLB won't raise the mounds. If anything they would want to lower them to try and create more offense.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by giants73756 View Post
    MLB won't raise the mounds. If anything they would want to lower them to try and create more offense.
    add a dh.

  5. #5
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    Throw a barrage of pretzels at him.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOwolfOL View Post
    Wait, when the mound was higher, wasn't that only for a short stint?
    No. It was unregulated. However the mounds in general started to rise quite a bit after the expansion to 20 teams - hence the dead ball 1963-1968 years.
    I am not a con artist! I am a businessman! I have a big brain and I'm good at making deals! People are just jealous of my BIG BRAIN! BAD!

    Guess who? The future X-Presdent...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOwolfOL View Post
    Wait, when the mound was higher, wasn't that only for a short stint?
    It was always higher but they lowered it from 15 to 10 inches.

    Article:


    March 24, 1969
    From Mountain To Molehill
    When baseball decided to lower the pitching mound to help the hitters, the change seemed minor, but there were signs last week that it may have a major effect on the pastime
    William Leggett
    View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
    Print This PRINT E-mail This EMAIL Most Popular MOST POPULAR SHARE SHARE

    Nelson Briles of the St. Louis Cardinals is a personable young man of 25 who, aside from being able to speak some Spanish, French and Russian, thinks a great deal about his career. As a starting pitcher for less than a season and a half, Briles has already won 29 games, not including one victory in the 1967 World Series. Last week at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., Briles ventured a few preseason comments on the state of the game. "This is a very unorthodox year for spring training," he said. "Everything seemed to hit at exactly the same time. There was the players' boycott, a period of long holdouts and a series of rule changes. It is all very confusing, especially to people trying to get themselves in shape for the start of the season."

    In less than three weeks this already complicated season will indeed begin in earnest, complete with four new expansion teams, sub-league divisional play, a new commissioner and the hope that some hitting will offer improvement on a season of suffocating pitching excellence. The hope is based upon a major change in the rules: the lowering of the pitcher's mound from 15 inches to 10. It could have as profound an effect upon baseball as, say, widening the holes in golf or lowering the net in tennis. It already has caused more genuine spring training arguments, discussion and jokes than anything in years.

    Five inches off the top of the mound may not sound like much, but when you walk into any training camp it looks as if a mountain has been turned into a molehill. From the stands and the dugout the mound, which used to rise like Mount Fuji in the middle of the infield, now resembles the Salt Flats of Utah. Many pitchers are grumbling often and loud while others just wink. The hitters say very little, because they know that when pitchers get angry anything can happen.

    What has happened so far is that spring training has been a hitter's festival. Imagine 54 runs being scored in the first three games of the Arizona exhibition schedule, or the New York Mets pounding out 22 hits in a single game. And all those strikeouts that seemed so dominant last March and early April are now a relic. The games might not be any faster this year, but they certainly are more interesting. Sometimes they recall jai alai more than baseball.

    A slight reduction in the strike zone and the experiment involving pinch hitters received more publicity during the off season than the lowering of the mound. Last year's strike zone was from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the kneecap, but it is now from the armpit to the top of the kneecap. So far there is little evidence that the changed strike zone has had any effect at all, or that indeed the umpires are paying any attention to it. The idea of using a "designated pinch hitter" in place of the pitcher has certainly not been universally accepted, even as an experiment. (Many teams, particularly in the National League, believe that the pitcher should bat in spring training because he is going to have to hit for himself once the regular season begins.)

    But the lowered mound has many of the game's theorists puzzled. Put simply, the mound is now only 10 inches higher than home plate. When a pitcher throws—and particularly a straight overhand pitcher—he finds the ground coming up to meet him a lot quicker than it did before, and he is thus off balance when he releases the ball. "The difference I have noticed is that most of the pitchers seem to be throwing high," says Larry Shepard, the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates and a close student of pitching. When a pitcher throws high he often throws himself out of a job.

    Mickey Lolich, the man who won three games to become the star of last fall's World Series for the Detroit Tigers, says, "My elbow has been bothering me this spring. I can't pinpoint exactly that it has been caused by the lowering of the mound but this is my 11th spring and I never had problems like this before. They've lowered the mound, changed the strike zone and said a pitcher can't go to his mouth. Are we pitchers the bad guys, the villains? Who is going to balance my salary if my earned run average goes up to 3.50?"

    The mound was lowered to try to help return hitting to baseball, since 1968 was completely owned by the pitchers. Highlighted by the excellence of Denny McLain, who won 31 games for the Tigers, and also by Bob Gibson of the Cardinals, who pitched 13 shutouts, pitchers took charge from the very beginning. Only by putting on a strong surge late in the season did Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox lift his batting average to .301, the lowest figure to win a batting championship in the history of the game.

    Mounds have never been standard in either height or shape even though the rule—1.04 in your Official Baseball Rules—clearly states that the infield shall be graded so that the baselines and home plate are level, with a gradual slope from the baselines up to the pitcher's plate, which shall be 15 inches [now 10] above the baseline level.
    'Real' Yankee fans tell the truth about the team whether it is nice or not.

    "Well, that kind of puts a damper on even a Yankee win."
    -- Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto after reading a bulletin that Pope Paul VI had died

  8. 11-09-2012, 10:57 AM
    Reason
    Comment on the topic or don't post at all.

  9. 11-09-2012, 11:15 AM
    Reason
    Comment on the topic or don't post at all.

  10. 11-09-2012, 11:23 AM
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    Comment on the topic or don't post at all.

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halladay View Post
    Throw a barrage of pretzels at him.
    You can call them Whitey Wackers.

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagwell368 View Post
    No. It was unregulated. However the mounds in general started to rise quite a bit after the expansion to 20 teams - hence the dead ball 1963-1968 years.
    Ah, thanks for clarifying.

  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7chuck7 View Post
    It was always higher but they lowered it from 15 to 10 inches.

    Article:


    March 24, 1969
    From Mountain To Molehill
    When baseball decided to lower the pitching mound to help the hitters, the change seemed minor, but there were signs last week that it may have a major effect on the pastime
    William Leggett
    View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
    Print This PRINT E-mail This EMAIL Most Popular MOST POPULAR SHARE SHARE

    Nelson Briles of the St. Louis Cardinals is a personable young man of 25 who, aside from being able to speak some Spanish, French and Russian, thinks a great deal about his career. As a starting pitcher for less than a season and a half, Briles has already won 29 games, not including one victory in the 1967 World Series. Last week at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., Briles ventured a few preseason comments on the state of the game. "This is a very unorthodox year for spring training," he said. "Everything seemed to hit at exactly the same time. There was the players' boycott, a period of long holdouts and a series of rule changes. It is all very confusing, especially to people trying to get themselves in shape for the start of the season."

    In less than three weeks this already complicated season will indeed begin in earnest, complete with four new expansion teams, sub-league divisional play, a new commissioner and the hope that some hitting will offer improvement on a season of suffocating pitching excellence. The hope is based upon a major change in the rules: the lowering of the pitcher's mound from 15 inches to 10. It could have as profound an effect upon baseball as, say, widening the holes in golf or lowering the net in tennis. It already has caused more genuine spring training arguments, discussion and jokes than anything in years.

    Five inches off the top of the mound may not sound like much, but when you walk into any training camp it looks as if a mountain has been turned into a molehill. From the stands and the dugout the mound, which used to rise like Mount Fuji in the middle of the infield, now resembles the Salt Flats of Utah. Many pitchers are grumbling often and loud while others just wink. The hitters say very little, because they know that when pitchers get angry anything can happen.

    What has happened so far is that spring training has been a hitter's festival. Imagine 54 runs being scored in the first three games of the Arizona exhibition schedule, or the New York Mets pounding out 22 hits in a single game. And all those strikeouts that seemed so dominant last March and early April are now a relic. The games might not be any faster this year, but they certainly are more interesting. Sometimes they recall jai alai more than baseball.

    A slight reduction in the strike zone and the experiment involving pinch hitters received more publicity during the off season than the lowering of the mound. Last year's strike zone was from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the kneecap, but it is now from the armpit to the top of the kneecap. So far there is little evidence that the changed strike zone has had any effect at all, or that indeed the umpires are paying any attention to it. The idea of using a "designated pinch hitter" in place of the pitcher has certainly not been universally accepted, even as an experiment. (Many teams, particularly in the National League, believe that the pitcher should bat in spring training because he is going to have to hit for himself once the regular season begins.)

    But the lowered mound has many of the game's theorists puzzled. Put simply, the mound is now only 10 inches higher than home plate. When a pitcher throws—and particularly a straight overhand pitcher—he finds the ground coming up to meet him a lot quicker than it did before, and he is thus off balance when he releases the ball. "The difference I have noticed is that most of the pitchers seem to be throwing high," says Larry Shepard, the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates and a close student of pitching. When a pitcher throws high he often throws himself out of a job.

    Mickey Lolich, the man who won three games to become the star of last fall's World Series for the Detroit Tigers, says, "My elbow has been bothering me this spring. I can't pinpoint exactly that it has been caused by the lowering of the mound but this is my 11th spring and I never had problems like this before. They've lowered the mound, changed the strike zone and said a pitcher can't go to his mouth. Are we pitchers the bad guys, the villains? Who is going to balance my salary if my earned run average goes up to 3.50?"

    The mound was lowered to try to help return hitting to baseball, since 1968 was completely owned by the pitchers. Highlighted by the excellence of Denny McLain, who won 31 games for the Tigers, and also by Bob Gibson of the Cardinals, who pitched 13 shutouts, pitchers took charge from the very beginning. Only by putting on a strong surge late in the season did Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox lift his batting average to .301, the lowest figure to win a batting championship in the history of the game.

    Mounds have never been standard in either height or shape even though the rule—1.04 in your Official Baseball Rules—clearly states that the infield shall be graded so that the baselines and home plate are level, with a gradual slope from the baselines up to the pitcher's plate, which shall be 15 inches [now 10] above the baseline level.
    Cool read. It does give an interesting perspective from a player who pitched on both. Thanks.

  14. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagwell368 View Post
    No. It was unregulated. However the mounds in general started to rise quite a bit after the expansion to 20 teams - hence the dead ball 1963-1968 years.
    From 1903-1968, every pitchers mound was the same......15". In 1969 it was lowered to 10"

  15. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by thawv View Post
    From 1903-1968, every pitchers mound was the same......15". In 1969 it was lowered to 10"
    On paper maybe. But it was an open joke that mounds like LAD's were much higher. They were not measured. After 1968 they were, and the height was changed.
    I am not a con artist! I am a businessman! I have a big brain and I'm good at making deals! People are just jealous of my BIG BRAIN! BAD!

    Guess who? The future X-Presdent...

  16. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagwell368 View Post
    On paper maybe. But it was an open joke that mounds like LAD's were much higher. They were not measured. After 1968 they were, and the height was changed.
    Also, there were a lot of complaints that the visitor bull pen mound was different than the field!! Gotta love a good cheater!!

  17. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOwolfOL View Post
    Cool read. It does give an interesting perspective from a player who pitched on both. Thanks.
    You're welcome. In recent decades people refer to who, 'is on the mound'?
    And although it was also referred to as, 'the pitchers mound' years ago it was just as likely for fans to say, 'who is taking/on the hill'?

    I was pitching in high school back when they lowered it and they lowered ours too. It stunk and all the pitchers hated it. It took a long time to get used to it and you had to throw harder to make up for less momentum going downhill. Five inches is a big deal. It's hard enough to get good hitters out. If you are ever up to it look back at the records of star pitchers from that era. You will be shocked by how many complete games they had. Today it is a big deal. Back then it was expected. Fans would say, he is pretty good but he can only go 8 innings! lol but true
    'Real' Yankee fans tell the truth about the team whether it is nice or not.

    "Well, that kind of puts a damper on even a Yankee win."
    -- Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto after reading a bulletin that Pope Paul VI had died

  18. #15
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    That was the purpose all along. They lowered the mound to create more offense. Just like in football where they will hit defensive players with ridiculous penalties. The objective of all sports is to have offense. It is what sells tickets.

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