Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wisdom From Horsehide

"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.

Satchel Paige

"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.

Earl Weaver

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."

Ted Williams

"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."

Jim Bouton

"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."

Reggie Jackson

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."

"Dizzy" Dean

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."

Yogi Berra

"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?"

Sparky Anderson

"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."

Bert Blyleven

"The problem with being Comeback Player of the Year is it means you have to go somewhere before you can come back."

Tug McGraw

Asked if his preference was grass or Astroturf - "I dunno. I never smoked any Astroturf."

Lefty Gomez

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...

Casey Stengel

"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.


Lowandslow said...

BETTER STUFF? This suff was plenty good! Excellent!

Michelle H. said...

I recognized a few of these quotes. They are great stuff! (And no, I'm not making any comment about the number 3 quote by Satchel Paige. I'm keeping my jangling to myself, you perv).

Tabor said...

You clearly love the sport and have done your research. These guys never got hit with the baseball!

Craig said...

Don't know what happened to the comment I left here before, but. . .

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

That's an all-time quote, right there, baseball or not. . .

A favorite Yogi-ism to add to your compilation: A woman spotted Yogi in a hotel lobby after a doubleheader on a 95-degree day. She said, "My, you look cool, for such a hot day!"

"Thank you, Ma'am," Yogi replied. "You don't look so hot yourself."

And my favorite Sparky-ism: "Pain don't hurt ya."

i beati said...

Good advice

messymimi said...

Thanks, i needed that!

Craig said...

Listen, I've hit a baseball, and I know the sweet feeling that flows through your hands and arms when you really crush a ball.

But. . . uh. . . no. Not better than sex. . .

Suldog said...

Craig - Hey, that was Reggie talking, not me.

Maybe we're just better at the sex thing than ol' Reggie was? :-)

Daryl said...

hey, this side of sports i like ...

Uncle Skip, said...

Maybe Reggie had a triple whammy (Arizona State, Oakland A's, and New York Yankees) put on him?

Thanks for making the effort to dredge up this wisdom.
It occurs to me that if baseball were a faster paced game, players and managers wouldn't have the time to think of some of that stuff.

Suldog said...

(not my) Uncle Skip - Bingo!

Buck said...

MOST excellent topic and selection. As for this...

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching."

I've heard this all my life and this is the first time I've seen an attribution. About which: fulfilled my "learn sumthin' every day" quota. I've also lived Stachel's "never run" maxim. ALL my life. ;-)

Suldog said...

Buck - I sure would have liked to have met Satchel. I would have traded him my "Sullivan's Rules For A Successful Life"...

Never stand when you can sit
Never sit when you can lie down
Never run when you can walk
Never walk when you can ride
And if someone else is pulling your wagon, it makes no sense for you to get out and push.

If I were God... said...

These were pretty good, but I must take issue with the fallacios claim that baseball is better than football. There's a reason the SuperBowl is the most watched broadcast in the universe, EVERY YEAR.

That being said, the "He's amphibious." quote was pretty funny. But maybe they have time to think of witticisms during the 162 untimed and mostly boring games they play each year. Football has just under 10% of that a season, so each one counts. Each one means something. Every Sunday feels like an event.

What kind of dopey sport allows you to lose 9 or 10 (or more) in a row and still contend for a pennant?

Hilary said...

I know some of these names but not the quotes.. and some of the quotes but not the name. But Yogi Berra I know and love. I think he is one of the most brilliantly funny people of all time. Each and every one of his MANY quotes come off as goofy but it has to take a genius to word things the way he does. I've always been in awe of his mind.

"The future ain't what it used to be"

Suldog said...

If I Were God - Well, now I know why you aren't. It's because you're a Philistine!

The reason the Super Bowl is the most watched television program is because of the commercials. Most of the games have stunk.

Baseball is untimed, yes, but that's exactly what makes it great. As Mr. Weaver opined, you can't run out the clock by employing such idiotic maneuvers as the "prevent" defense (which, in the usual way things work in football, prevents nothing.) It is boring only to those from the ADD generation who cannot enjoy the moment and must always be searching for something else to do.

As for losing 9 or 10 in a row and still being in contention, baseball is America's greatest metaphor. We, as a nation, are generally forgiving. We give folks a second chance. Football is all "one and done", which has some appeal if you're a homicidal maniac, but is hardly the way I would prefer my society to be.

Mich said...

Satchel's list at the end are some of the best life guidelines I've ever heard.

Barbara said...

Those are great - I love quotes and hadn't heard some of these!

lime said...

that was a great set of quotes about a game which i came to enjoy late in life. the only one i take issue with is reggie jackson...hitting is better than sex. how on earth can that be? then again i'm a "virgin"...i've never hit a ball out of the park.