FORT MYERS, Fla. — Bobby Valentine, for all his innovative thinking, is a old-school baseball man at heart. He understands why teams protect pitchers, but he remembers when pitchers didn’t need protecting.
Valentine told a story today about a game he played at Fenway Park on June 14, 1974 while he was with the California Angels.
Nolan Ryan went 13 innings that day, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits. He struck out 19 and walked 10.
Luis Tiant went 14.1 innings for the Sox. He gave up 4 runs on 11 hits with 4 walks and 5 strikeouts. The Angels won in the 15th inning on an RBI double by Denny Doyle.
According to Valentine, Ryan threw 235 pitches and Tiant 196.
Now here’s the amazing part. Tiant was 9-1 with a 2.21 ERA in his next 10 starts and went 10 innings in his next start, on June 19.
Ryan was 6-4, 3.14 in his next 10 starts. The marathon game seemingly didn’t affect them.
Valentine introduced Tiant to the pitchers today before the Red Sox took the field. It was just a reminder that there was a time when throwing 14.1 innings was part of the job.