“Pitchers Should be Taught how to Sleep”

24 Sep

Edward Tilden Siever had a theory about one of the greatest dangers facing pitchers:  how they sleep.

Edward Siever

Edward Siever

The Kansas native did not begin playing professionally until he was 24-years-old in 1899, and was 18-14 as a rookie with the Detroit Tigers two years later.  He injured his arm that season, had a sub .500 record the next three seasons with the Tigers and St. Louis Browns, and went to the American Association with the Minneapolis Millers in 1905. 

Siever’s arm recovered sufficiently to post a 23-11 record with the Millers and was purchased by the Tigers the following spring; he was 14-11 in 1906.

He was having the best season of his career in 1907; finishing with an 18-11 record and a 2.16 ERA for the American League Champion Tigers.  It was during that season that he told The Detroit Times about his theory:

“Pitchers should be taught how to sleep.  Don’t laugh, I mean that More than one good pitcher has lost his arm because he did not know how to sleep correctly.”

Siever claimed that fellow Kansan, St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Charlie “Dusty” Rhodes, missed much of 1906 with a bad arm brought on by the manner in which he slept:

“(Rhodes) used to rest his head on it when he was sleeping.  It deadened the muscles…No ballplayer should ever rest his head on his arms when he is sleeping.  It’s more dangerous than the average young man imagines.  Many a ball player loses his whip and doesn’t know how to account for it.  I’ll bet that’s the real reason in many a case.”

Charlie "Dusty" Rhodes

Charlie “Dusty” Rhodes

The Chicago Cubs defeated Siever in his only World Series appearance in 1907, and after a 2-6 start in 1908 he was sold to the Indianapolis Indians in the American Association; he pitched three more seasons in the minor leagues. 

He remained a popular figure in Detroit and worked for the city’s public works department until he died of a heart attack in 1920.

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