As I did my daily transaction read last season I saw that Tiger’s rookie pitcher Drew Smyley went on the DL with what was called a major blister. Now if you have ever had any kind of blister you know they burn really bad and you too would not want to throw 100 pitches. As a pitcher it would be hard trying to heal a blister on one of your fingers but the 15-day DL really? That is severe! Would RA Dickey go on the DL if he broke the fingernail that he uses for his knuckler? Chances are he would at least miss a start.
We can’t talk about pitchers fingers without talking about Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown. Otherwise known as Three-Finger Brown. He was a Chicago Cubs slinger from 1903 to 1913. He was known for his partial pinkie, his mostly severed index finger and his crooked middle finger. He was feared for his amazing rotating curveball. His disability was his advantage. No one else could throw the ball with such movement. I suppose his lack of surface area and fingernails meant less to blister or crack. However, we can all appreciate the mental toughness it must have took for Brown to overcome the traumatic injuries that left his hand in that state. Brown was a two-time World Series champion and hero. He even, in 1908 to 1911 won at least 21 games per season and led the league in saves in all four seasons. Many arms have been sacrificed over the years and pitch counts and required rest have been to attempted in effort to equalize. However because of modern restrictions we will never have another Mordecai “three-finger” Brown.
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