Wednesday, August 29, 2012
"Teach a boy to throw a baseball, and he won't throw a rock." - Ty Cobb
Baseball players and managers are eminently quotable. If you don't gain something useful from what follows, it is only because of your totally irrational prejudice against sports. At worst, you will find a laugh or two. At best, the answer to one of life's mysteries may await.
Without any further blather from me, here are some of the best words ever uttered by baseball people.
"Ain't no man can avoid being born average, but there ain't no man got to be common."
"Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter."
"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you was?"
"I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I toss one that ain't never been seen by this generation."
"Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don't move."
Talking about legendary speedy player, "Cool Papa" Bell - "One time he hit a line drive right past my ear. I turned around and saw the ball hit his ass sliding into second."
And, of course, his immortal rules for staying young...
"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching."
1 - Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
2 - If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
3 - Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
4 - Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain't restful.
5 - Avoid running at all times.
6 - Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.
To a player not doing well in the early part of the season - "Don't worry, the fans don't start booing until July."
On the economics of smoking cigarettes - "Raleighs have gone from $6.50 to $9.00 a carton, but there's a three-quarter cent coupon on the back. You can get all kinds of things with them, blenders, everything. I saved up enough one time and got Al Bumbry."
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
Why baseball is better than football - "You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the damn plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all."
"Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer."
"I've found that you don't need to wear a necktie if you can hit."
"Baseball players are smarter than football players. How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?"
"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time."
On Claudell Washington - "He plays the outfield like he's trying to catch grenades."
"Hitting is better than sex."
"I don't mind getting beaten, but I hate to lose."
"When we lose and I strike out, a billion people in China don't care."
On trying to get out of a hitting slump - "So many ideas come to you and you want to try them all but you can't. You're like a mosquito in a nudist camp. You don't know where to start."
To a batter - "Son, what kind of pitch would you like to miss?"
"It ain't braggin' if you can back it up."
"It puzzles me how they know what corners are good for filling stations. Just how did they know gas and oil was under there?"
After being hit in the head by a batted ball, and returning from the hospital - "The doctors x-rayed my head and found nothing."
"Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical."
"He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious."
On the attendance woes of his club - "If people don't want to come out to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?"
"I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did."
"It's like deja vu all over again."
On why a certain restaurant was no longer popular - "Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded."
When asked by a teammate what time it was - "You mean right now?"
"I only had a high school education and, believe me, I had to cheat to get that."
"I don't know why the players make such a big fuss about sitting in the first class section of the plane. Does that mean they'll get there faster?"
"Me carrying a briefcase is like a hotdog wearing earrings."
"The problem with being Comeback Player of the Year is it means you have to go somewhere before you can come back."
Asked if his preference was grass or Astroturf - "I dunno. I never smoked any Astroturf."
On big slugger Jimmy Foxx - "He has muscles in his hair."
"I've got a new invention. It's a revolving bowl for tired goldfish."
Bill "Spaceman" Lee
"The other day they asked me about mandatory drug testing. I said I believed in drug testing a long time ago. All through the sixties I tested everything."
Concerning an on-field fight - "If it had been me out there, I'd have bitten his ear off. I'd have Van Gogh'ed him."
"You should enter a ballpark the way you enter a church."
Amen, Brother Lee.
And, finally, THE most quotable man in the history of baseball, The Ol' Perfessor himself...
"Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in."
"Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa."
"If anyone wants me, tell them I'm being embalmed."
At the dedication ceremony for Casey Stengel Field - "I feel greatly honored to have a ballpark named after me, especially since I've been thrown out of so many."
Replying to a soldier who had written with criticism about how Stengel was managing the New York Yankees - "If you're so smart, let's see you get out of the Army."
"They say some of my stars drink whiskey, but I have found that ones who drink milkshakes don't win many ball games. Look at Bobby Richardson - he doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke, he doesn't chew, he doesn't stay out late, and he still can't hit .250."
"Managing is getting paid for home runs someone else hits."
When asked how good a hitter someone was - "That boy couldn't hit the ground if he fell out of an airplane."
A reporter asked him, at age 73, about his physical well-being - "My health is good enough about the shoulders."
To his Toledo Mudhens players - "Say, I've got a tip on the market for you fellows - buy Pennsylvania Railroad because by tomorrow night about a dozen of you bums will be riding on it."
Giving a player the news that he hadn't made the club - "Son, we'd like to keep you around this season but we're going to try and win a pennant."
"There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of them."
"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided."
On the occasion of his being fired by the New York Yankees - "They told me my services were no longer desired because they wanted to put in a youth program... I'll never make the mistake of being seventy again."
To a player who questioned his truthfulness when Casey demonstrated how he had once made a certain play - "What do you think? I was born old?"
"We (the Mets) are a much improved ball club, now we lose in extra innings!"
"You have to go broke three times to learn how to make a living."
On the efficacy of superstitious ritual as it concerned Sandy Koufax - "You put the whammy on him, but when he's pitching, the whammy tends to go on vacation."
Here's hoping your whammy never goes on vacation.
Soon, with more better stuff.