It’s always a joy listening to former Oakton High School baseball pitching coach Don Kildoo talk about pitching.
In a brief conversation in recent days, the former AAA minor-league left hander in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization talked about how pitching has changed so much, certainly in professional baseball and at the amateur levels as well, like in the high school game.
Rarely in pro baseball are complete games thrown anymore, with starters having limited pitch counts. Starters pitch five to seven innings, then the relievers take over.
Kildoo said the philosophy now is that pitchers throw at “maximum effort” as long as they can, instead of pacing themselves, then yield to the next reliever. He also said that maximum-effort pitching leads to more injuries, as does work with the weights.
Kildoo, who once roomed in the minor league with Earl Weaver when the two were players, said back in the day when he played, pitchers didn’t work much with weights, instead doing more agility drills and exercising. They also didn’t get injured as much, and developed their arm strength by throwing more pitches in games than pitchers do now.
Pitch counts weren’t even kept much, if at all, when Kildoo played.
“So much has changed about pitching,” Kildoo said.
He sure is right, and many believe the changes aren’t a good thing.
– Dave Facinoli