SAN FRANCISCO -- There's no Bob Gibson, Denny McLain or Juan Marichal toeing Major League mounds this season, but even Gaylord Perry admits 2010 has the potential to displace 1968 as the official "Year of the Pitcher." "I think you've got some pitchers you can say that about," Perry said. "It's hard to say we're going to have another Gibson, but it's sure looking like [the year of the pitcher]." Perry and Marichal, along with Ed Halicki, John Montefusco and current left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, were on hand at AT&T Park on Sunday afternoon, as the Giants honored the five most recent Giants to throw no-hitters.
With Hall of Fame personalities such as Perry and Marichal, a lighthearted media session prior to a pregame ceremony on the field was, of course, full of tales and laughter. But, aside from stories from yesteryear, the four pitchers -- Sanchez was not present because of the game -- were amazed by the quality of young pitchers taking over today's game. "It's not only no-hitters, but perfect games," said Marichal, the first Latin player to throw a no-hitter, of having four no-hitters, including two perfect games, this season. "It's unbelievable the way the pitching has dominated the game this year and I'm very happy to see that." The reason why pitching has been so impressive this year in particular was split amongst the greats. Marichal, for one, seemed to think it was because of the young power-pitching all clubs seek to stock up on. "You see so many pitchers who can throw 100 mile-an-hour fastballs, and when you can throw that hard, it's easy to get guys out because not many batters can follow that speed," Marichal said. "In our day, we had Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson and Jim Maloney and those guys; they used to throw hard, but not too many [could]. Today, in any club you find two or three players who can throw 95-plus." Perry and Halicki surmised the opposite, pointing out that today's pitchers were relying more on the changeup, a pitch Perry said he believes had been forgotten for a time. Halicki also said improved location and pitch selection has been a part of the revival, which is something he likes in this season's Giants' staff. "They've got a lot of good, young arms, and the fact that they're young and pitching so good, they can grow on it," Halicki said of the Giants' rotation. "I know in the beginning I was pretty much a two-pitch pitcher and I was confident enough that I could blow it past people, and in the beginning, for maybe two, three, four innings, I did. Then all of a sudden they'd get five runs on the board and I'd be in the clubhouse sipping on a beer wondering what went wrong. "I realized I had to learn a third pitch, but I also had to pitch with control ... and with these young arms and live arms they're starting to do that."
Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.