ELMIRA — The Elmira Pioneers, along with the Hilliard Corporation and Elmira Business Institute, hosted former Major League pitcher and four-time all-star Tommy John on Thursday at the Elmira Holiday Inn Riverview, The Leader had a chance to ask the 288-game winner a couple of questions about his career and what he thinks about modern day pitchers.

Q: What was the highlight of your career?

A: The highlight of my career was the 1977 playoffs, Dodgers vs. Phillies, I beat Steve Carlton 4-1 in a pouring down rain storm for (Tommy) Lasorda’s first win to go to the World Series. And I got a base hit off of Tug McGraw to right field. He threw a fastball away and I hit it to right field.

Q: Now almost one out of four MLB pitchers have Tommy John surgery, do you think this is a problem within baseball that kids are pitching too much when they're too young?

A: Kids are trying to throw too hard too soon because of radar guns and travel teams. They don’t care about getting batters out, its about how hard you throw and their bodies can’t handle it. Why do you have an injury? You have an injury because one part of your body is not strong enough to absorb the force you are putting on it. You should be working on getting it stronger. Kids 8,9,10.. shouldn’t be pitching year round baseball because Clayton Kershaw doesn’t throw year round, so if the best doesn’t throw that much, a young kid shouldn’t. Dr. (James) Andrews says you should have six months on and six months off.

Q: There was 61 total complete games in major league baseball last year, you threw 16 in a season, what do you think the shift is in that? Does it have to do with analytics?

A: It’s all analytics, is analytics good or bad? I don’t know enough about it to say yes or no, but if I have a pitcher and I ask him how do you feel and he says he’s ok, and he’s getting batters out, then why would I take him out? This is the part of analytics that doesn’t hold water. If you have a guy in the bullpen, there’s no guarantee that he’s going to be better than what you have on the mound. You know what you have on the mound, and this guy comes in (from the bullpen) yeah if your Mariano Rivera (former Yankee all-time great closer) there's ha pretty good chance he’s going to do fine. There will never be another 300-game winner however, it’s impossible, because they don’t pitch enough.