The 20-game winner is nearly extinct. Pitchers rarely finish games, settling for so-called "quality starts" of 6 innings or so. They shoot for 200 innings in a season, where 300 used to be relatively common. I'm not suggesting that they don't work hard or anything (though some, such as Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus, contend that pitchers pitch too infrequently in games, and too often between times).
It is comforting, of course, to know that this is not a new issue. For example, this quote from a retired pitcher:
The game of baseball hasn't changed much in the past fifty years, but the players have a different philosophy toward the game. They want to make a lot of money and retire. ... We played for the love of the game; there were few holdouts. We wanted to pitch every day; to win more games than the other guy--not for the money, but for the glory of winning.It's great stuff, and it comes from Hall of Famer Kid Nichols in Baseball Digest, January 1948 (hat tip to Paul Campos at LGM). Here are some more gems:
...modern-day clubs carry too many pitchers, which prevents the hurlers from working enough to bring out the best that is in them. The old-time clubs carried three pitchers; today, they have 10. ...It's short, but a good read. Anyway, I guess the more things change, the farther we get from the "good old days," whatever we believe them to have been. And yet, baseball is still pretty wonderful!
Sometimes we pitched every other day. Twice I pitched three days in succession and went the distance in each game. ...
We worked hard, but I wouldn't say we were overworked. During my twelve years with Boston, I took part in 517 games, averaging twenty-seven and three-tenths wins per season. ... If I was overworked, it didn't affect my arm. I spent seventeen years in organized ball, far above the average of present-day hurlers.
I'll just be wandering off in my walker now.