Reds Manager Dusty Baker was a guest this morning on the Dan Patrick Show. Patrick, a Mason, OH native is a fervent Reds fan. He and Baker spent ten minutes this morning discussing baseball’s unwritten rules about beanballs and Baker’s early career as an Atlanta Brave.
“I think the hitters now think the whole plate is theirs. When we came up, the inside part of the plate was mine and the outside part of the plate was theirs.”
“We were in St. Pete when I was with the Braves. I was a rookie. The Mets trained with the Cardinals in the same Stadium. And so……………they had a game that night. We rolled in on the bus for an afternoon game the next day and Hank (Aaron) said ‘Do you wanna go to the game with me?’ and I said ‘Yeah’. Hank said Bob Gibson was pitchin’ and Bob Gibson hit John Milner right in the back with the first pitch. And so after the game I went out to dinner with Hank and Bob Gibson and Hank asked him………he called him ‘Hootie’……..he said Hootie, why’d you hit that young kid. And he said ‘ ’cause I heard he can hit and I wanted to get him in line.’ And so John had hit .311 or somethin’ like that in AAA and I had hit like .325 ……and so I was like dang I outhit John……….I hope he didn’t hear I could hit too.”
“Most of the time they didn’t just drill guys unless you were clownin’ or showboatin’ around the bases. The first thing they did … they find out if you can hit a fastball. Then, they find out if you can hit a slider. Then they find out if you can hit a change-up, then a curveball. If you hit all of those, then they’d try to intimidate you … see if you can hit on your back.”
“If you’re watchin’ the pitcher’s release point… if you’re watchin’ the pitcher’s eyes… he can not hit you without lookin’ at you. I remember one day Joaquin Andujar was lookin’ right at me and I said ‘this guy’s gonna hit me.’ I had a bullseye right on my side. He was lookin’ right at me. Then he acted like it slipped when I got out of the way. He said ‘it slipped’ and I had to tell him a few kind words about ‘I don’t wanna hear that slippin’ ’cause you were lookin’ at me like I had a bullseye on my side’.”
“Willie Mays said Don Drysdale would knock him down once an at-bat.”
On his former teammate, Hank Aaron:
“I loved my days with Hank. That was the best thing that happened to me in my life at that point… ’cause I did not want to sign with the Braves… ’cause I didn’t want to go to the South. This was ’67, ’68 and there was the Civil Rights Movement and anti-Vietnam. It was a tumultuous time. It ended up being the best thing that happened to me… meetin’ Hank and Andrew Young and Mayor Jackson and some of the great civic leaders of our time. That was, perhaps, some of the best times in my life.”
“He was teaching me. He wasn’t boasting or nothin’. He was teaching me and I didn’t know he was teachin’ me. He would say ‘Hey man I’m gonna take this fastball… and then he’s gonna go slider outside and I’m gonna hit him over the right-center field fence.’ Or ‘I’m gonna take these two sliders and this guy’s gonna try to sneak the fastball.’ This guy knew what was comin’ all the time. He studied. There weren’t any scouting reports. There weren’t any computer printouts.”
Other Dusty Tidbits:
In my Tuesday piece, Everybody Hates Dusty, I defended Dusty’s preference for inserting a right-handed hitter between Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Some Reds fans are completely unsettled by it. As Marty Brennaman would say, it “gives them a serious case of the goos.” It causes some of them to curse Dusty and sweat through their white polyester Mitchell and Ness vintage Reds jerseys.
I couldn’t help but notice that Terry Collins batted LH Lucas Duda, LH Daniel Murphy, and LH Ike Davis in succession Wednesday night. LH reliever Aroldis Chapman made quick work of them in the bottom of the eighth.
Not every club has a lefthanded weapon like Aroldis Chapman but they all have lefties who specialize in neutralizing lefthanded hitters. By hitting your lefthanded hitters in succession, you make the opposing manager’s job easier.
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