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Cy Young says pitchers need elbow grease

By WILL GRIMSLEY Published: March 29, 2017 12:00 AM

NEW YORK (UPI) -- Cy Young, fabled "Iron Man" of baseball's horse-and-buggy days, thinks there's nothing wrong with modern pitchers that a little more elbow grease wouldn't cure.

"Too many pitchers, that's all, there are just too many pitchers," the snow-haired farmer from Newcomerstown, Ohio, said today. "Ten or 12 on a team. Don't see how any of them get enough work.

"Why, some of these fellows go a week or ten days without getting in the game and then maybe they pitch two innings. Four starting pitchers and one relief man ought to be enough.

"Pitch 'em every three days and you'd find they'd get control and good strong arms. I know. I've seen it done."

Denton Tecumseh Young, the only man ever to win more than 500 games, is 83 -- be 84 next month. His once robust frame has thinned to about 120 pounds. He can't see the outfield anymore, he said. But his baseball knowledge and memory are incisive as a butcher knife.

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"I worked every other day and it didn't seem to hurt me," the old right-hander added. He pitched in 874 games and won 511 between 1890 and 1911 with the Cleveland and St. Louis Nationals, and the Boston and Cleveland Americans.

"They hamstring the pitcher nowadays too much, too. He's got to think about those shortened fences. And got to stop in his motion to keep from balking. All that's hanging over the pitcher's head.

"That makes him throw with his arm and nothing else. I threw my whole body into every pitch."

Young, a renowned fireballer, said never in all his career did he ever throw a change of pace or use the spitball, although the spitter was legal at the time.

"Figured I was doing alright with what I had and didn't want to try any fancy stuff," he added. "But I had a sinker and slider and all that stuff the boys have today. But we didn't have names for 'em. We just called 'em curves."

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Young said his best-pitched games were against Rube Waddell, the famous left-hander. It was against Waddell that Young, then with the Boston Americans, pitched a perfect game (no man to first) with Philadelphia the victim, 3-0, in 1904.

"A few years later Waddell and I hooked up in a 20-inning game and I finally lost it on errors, 4-2," Young added.

The Hall of Fame pitcher, who came here to attend the National league's 75th anniversary and the New York Baseball Writers dinner, said Ty Codd was the toughest man he ever faced.

"He would manage to get on base some way," Young said.

Young laid down his glove in 1911, remarking:

"My arm is as good as the day I came to the majors, but I'm too portly to get about. The boys know this and bunt on me. When the third baseman has to start doing my work it's time for me to quit." -- Mansfield (Ohio) News-Journal, Monday, February 5, 1951.


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