My good friend from New York City, William Carron, recently submitted the letter shown above to Baseball Digest, a copy of which letter he shared with me.
I wrote Mr. Caron as follows:
Dear Mr. Carron,
Your letter to the editor of Baseball Digest re earned run averages was very well thought out and written.
Before commenting, I would like to share something I recall. Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson appeared a while ago on the Charlie Rose show. Some offhanded comment was made about pitchers either having broken, or possibly breaking, Bob Gibson’s record for the lowest ERA in a season. (It had not been broken.) Gibson, who impressed me in the interview, said something like, “Has it been broken? I didn’t know that.” I believe it was explained to Gibson that, no, his record had not been broken. I forget the specifics, but thinking that Bob Gibson was so humble or unconcerned about his standing in the record books impressed me. Very much unlike, say, Donald Trump.
Your point about innings pitched is valid. The statistics you cite for Gibson’s 1968 season — innings pitched, complete games, extra-inning games are remarkable. He pitched 304.2 innings out of a possible 312.2. Incredible! Where did you find these statistics?
Thanks much for sharing this very interesting letter with me. How did things change so that now almost no starter completes a game (as a rule) and many pitch only five or six innings?
— posted by Roger W. Smith
June 10, 2019
Thank you for publishing my letter and your comments. Pitchers today rarely complete a game because they are trained to go five or six innings and then the relief pitchers take over. When you and I were minors and young adults, pitchers were trained to go the distance and even come in to save a game if necessary. All the best.