Thorburn: Scouting pitcher deliveries from the dawn of the television era

From Doug Thorburn at Baseball Prospectus on January 24, 2014:

Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked at the pitchers who gained entry to the Hall of Fame during the formative years of my youth. Most of these pitchers hailed from the 1960s and ’70s, with the occasional senior citizen (read: Hoyt Wilhelm) having gained notoriety in the ’50s. The footage becomes more scarce—and less colorful—as we progress back in time, and the lack of video clips makes it more difficult to break down the pitching mechanics of the founding fathers of Cooperstown.

Some footage exists, and there are fascinating lessons to be learned from the original kings of the hill, but we have to ratchet back the analysis in order to reflect the error bars inherent in sofa-scouting the pitchers of 70-100 years ago. Rather than a comprehensive list of pitchers who earned enshrinement prior to 1980, the following rundown includes nine of the most dominant arms to enter the Hall during the first 40 years of voting. Complete mechanical report cards are offered for a couple of pitchers who transcended the color barrier of television, where additional footage allows for a more thorough analysis, but the majority of these players will be limited to a simpler assessment of strengths and weaknesses.

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Originally published: January 24, 2014. Last Updated: January 24, 2014.