Every game today has a pitch count. If a pitcher reaches 100 pitches the bullpen starts warming up. If the count goes above 120 the pitcher will usually be taken out. There is fear he will ruin his arm. Pitchers are throwing less innings and many still seem to be put on the disabled list for various reasons.
Today, a pitcher going 10 innings in a game is unheard of.
This has not been accomplished since 2007, when Roy Halliday pitched 10 innings for Toronto and Aaron Harang pitched 10 innings for Cincinnati.
At one time, it was not uncommon for a starting pitcher to stay in a game if the game went 10 innings or more.
Here are the leading pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched in a game 1950-2011:
Gaylord Perry 37
Robin Roberts 21
Warren Spahn 20
Jim Palmer 20
Billy Pierce 17
Tom Seaver 17
Bob Gibson 17
Phil Niekro 16
Jim Bunning 16
Nolan Ryan 15
Don Drysdale 15
Bert Blyleven 15
Ned Garver 14
Ferguson Jenkins 14
Curt Simmons 14
Steve Carlton 13
Rick Wise 13
Luis Tiant 13
Jim Kaat 13
Gaylord Perry 37:
Gaylord Perry pitched 10 or more innings in a game 36 times as a starter and once as a relief pitcher. He did it with five different teams: Giants 15, Indians 14, Rangers 4, Padres 2, Mariners 2
Robin Roberts 21:
Roberts pitched 300 or more innings 6 years in a row.
Roberts won games in which he pitched 15 and 17 innings
Warren Spahn 20:
Spahn did it 4 times in 1961 when he was 40 years old. He was 43 years old when he lost a game 1-0 in 16 innings to Juan Marichal and the Giants in 1963. Spahn won his first game in 1946. His career totals do not include 1946-1949.
Joe Torre caught Spahn in some of these games but was very quick with the hook as a manager.
Jim Palmer 20:
Palmer pitched 10, 11, and 12 inning games without allowing a walk
Billy Pierce 20:
In1957 Pierce won two ten inning 1-0 games
Tom Seaver 17:
In six of these games, Seaver did not allow any earned runs.
Bob Gibson 17:
Gibson pitched twelve or more innings in a game 6 times.
Imagine Bob Gibson’s reaction if a manager said to him “Gibby I’m taking you out!”
Phil NIekro 16:
Being a knuckle ball pitcher helped. Why do today’s knuckle ball pitchers have a pitch count?
Jim Bunning 16:
From 1958-1967, Bunning pitched 10 innings in a game at least once each season.
Nolan Ryan 15:
Throwing as hard as Nolan Ryan did, his arm somehow survived 27 years of pitching.
Don Drysdale 15:
In 5 extra inning games, Drysdale struck out at least 10 batters
Bert Blyleven 15:
Blyleven pitched at least 10 shutout innings in a game six times.
Ned Garver 14:
In 1951 Garver won 20 games for the last place St Louis Browns. He had to pitch 10 innings for one of those wins. Garver’s career began in 1948, so his totals are probably higher if 1948 & 1949 are added.
Ferguson Jenkins 14:
Jenkins did not walk more than three batters in any of these games.
Curt Simmons 14:
In his final season, 1967, Simmons pitched eleven innings in a game for the Cubs.
Steve Carlton 13:
Carlton struck out at least 12 batters in 4 of those games.
Rick Wise 13:
Wise pitched 10 innings in a game for the Phillies, Cardinals, Red Sox and Indians
Luis Tiant 13:
In one 10 inning game, Tiant struck out 19 and did not walk a batter.
Jim Kaat 13:
Kaat pitched 3 extra-inning complete game shutouts. In 1980 a 41 year old Kaat shut out the Mets 1-0 in 10 innings!
Kaat pitched in the major leagues for 25 years!
Now, pitchers are being paid more and pitching less. Today’s managers should consult the living members of this list and ask them how they were able to accomplish this without any problems.