“Those out there”? I think I know whom you’re referring to.
I don’t know whether you have ever seen Carl Hubbell. He threw the screwball almost exclusively, and believe me—no pun intended—that’s a sure way to screw up your arm! He used it so much and so often that when he would just stand with his arms at his sides the palm of his left hand faced out. The same thing happened to Fernando Valenzuela. And it could be happening to a lot of pitchers nowadays who use it too much and too often.
I was talking to Ed Lopat (my incredible pitching coach) one day, and the subject came up. He asked me if I threw the screwball, and when I told him I didn’t, he said “Good for you. You don’t need it.” And indeed I didn’t—I knew how to throw one, but I just didn’t, because I had enough breaking pitches of various kinds, including one or two that behaved like one. I would say that if you used a screwball just occasionally you might not injure your arm, but day-in-and-day-out—You might try a change-up screwball, what Joey Jay used to call a “slopslider”—just turn it over a little.
My arsenal, so to speak:
Curve ball (the one that came attached to my sidearm delivery)
Slider (my strikeout pitch)
The “slip” pitch (a slider thrown with a knuckleball grip)
The “whoops” pitch—I never realized I had it, but it was a fast ball that came in there at 81 0r 82 MPH, and for a finesse pitcher such as I was, that was a fast ball.
And I could change speeds on quite a few of those pitches. It was to laugh, watching those batters who would be waiting for a fast ball—and waiting—and waiting, never realizing they were going to get everything but.