Appears that over the last 50 years there’ve only been 10 Major League pitchers 5 foot 7 and shorter. In the whole history of baseball only two pitchers that short have won a hundred games or more (but not much more).
You can probably think of a number of reasons why that’s been the case, why in fact pitchers have tended to run taller than most players at every other position except first base, and those reasons are probably sound, although they can’t be proven. Makes sense, longer arms, longer legs, longer backs, somehow it all adds up to faster pitches. Except few pitchers get by exclusively on fast balls. And there’s no height advantage among the taller pitchers. Could 6 foot 10 inch Randy Johnson throw that much harder than 6 foot even Bob Feller? Johnson’s advantage when he came up was that he could be wild.
Mariano Rivera, who I’m beginning to think is the best pitcher ever, or at least in my lifetime, and I say that as someone who grew up idolizing Tom Seaver (6’1”) and Bob Gibson (6’1”), is 6 foot 2, same height as Sandy Koufax.
I think one reason might simply be that most short men were short kids and way back when they were kids choosing up sides the biggest, strongest kids took the mound because they could throw the hardest and the short kids wound up at shortstop or second base, unless they were unusually fast and played the outfield or not particularly good and were told to “play deep.” Over the years, the talented short kids developed their skills at the positions they were always relegated to and by the time they reached a level of play where they were going to get noticed by scouts, no scouts watched them play the infield and said, You know, that little guy’s got an arm, let’s make him a pitcher. They said, that kid at short’s got an arm, and we need a shortstop.
Anyway, if anyone said that about Kansas City Royals reliever Tim Collins, he didn’t listen.