© 2024 New Hampshire Public Radio

Persons with disabilities who need assistance accessing NHPR's FCC public files, please contact us at publicfile@nhpr.org.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Purchase your tickets today and be entered to win ALL prizes including $35k toward a new car or $25k in cash during NHPR's Summer Raffle!

Baseball's Arms Race: The Price Of All Those Fast Pitches

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon Beachy throws against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 11 at Dodger Stadium. It marked his comeback from a second Tommy John surgery to his right elbow.
Kevork Djansezian
/
Getty Images
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon Beachy throws against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 11 at Dodger Stadium. It marked his comeback from a second Tommy John surgery to his right elbow.

Pitching a baseball overhand — which has always been a rather contorted, unnatural action — is now leading to an epidemic of injuries. Incredibly, it is estimated that one-fourth of all major league pitchers have had what's called Tommy John surgery, which involves the elbow's ulnar collateral ligament.

Part of the reason for this is, obviously, that kids have been throwing too much, too hard, too early in youth leagues. Now that we see all the arm injuries to young grown-up pitchers — and even some position players — we can surely expect that better care will be given to young pitchers.

However, the other apparent reason for this plague is simply that too many pitchers are now throwing too hard for the human body to bear. It's commonplace for pitchers to throw well over 90 miles an hour. That's the ticket to the big leagues. Can we expect teenagers and 20-somethings to cut back on their speed?

Click the audio to hear the rest of Deford's thoughts on the pressures that lead to sports injuries.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Frank Deford died on Sunday, May 28, at his home in Florida. Remembrances of Frank's life and work can be found in All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and on NPR.org.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.