Big Bats from the 1950's


#1

I was watching some old World Series games (1952) with my dad on the MLB network and it looked like the players back then used much bigger bats. Was that because the pitchers threw slower?


#2

Apparently, they thought that using a huge bat gives you massive amounts of power. It is true somewhat.

Now we have steroids and Rotational Hitting. :lol: :lol:


#3

Because that’s just how it was, that and some of them were smaller people and made the bats look bigger.


#4

This was true to some extent. On the other hand, Ted Williams pointed out that it wasn’t the size and weight of the bat that made for big hits—it was bat speed. So there were a lot of hitters like him who used somewhat lighter bats and got tons of base hits because of the speed of the bat.
And speaking of big bats—figuratively as well as literally—I remember one game, Yankees vs. Indians, which was played in Cleveland. Before the game somebody, probably a newspaperman, went looking for Johnny Mize but couldn’t locate him at first. Finally Mize, who was to play first base for the Yanks that night, was discovered in the Yankees’ locker room—practicing golf swings with his bat. GOLF swings, for Pete’s sake! When the news guy asked him about it, Mize said simply, "Garcia’s pitching tonight.“
Mike Garcia was a big, powerful righthander for the Indians who gave the Yanks more trouble than the whole rest of their staff put together. But he was a creature of habit—he always started with a fast ball down and in, no matter who his opponent was. Well, the game started, and early in the game Mize came to bat with two men on base. Garcia came in there with his first pitch—yep, you guessed it, a fast ball down and in—and Mize was ready for it. He swung and golfed that pitch way back into the right field stands for a three-run homer and a lead that the Yankees never relinquished.
You can be sure Mize never saw another fast ball from Garcia.
As for the smaller guys who wielded big bats—let me present to you one Philip Francis Rizzuto, who was 5’6” if he was an inch and who could hit for power when he had to. Again, Yanks vs. Indians (do you see a trend there in the 50s, when the Yanks used to beat up on the Tribe?)—a game in Cleveland, and I wish I could have seen this but I had to be content with listening to it because the game was played in Cleveland—here it was the top of the eighth inning, the two teams were tied, and there was one out. Rizzuto came to bat, and he ran the count to 3-and-2. Then he started fouling off one pitch after another. foul down the first base line. Foul down the third base line. foul into the left field seats. Foul into the Indians’ dugout. Foul here and foul there, and it seemed that he would never stop. The Indians’ pitcher—I think it was bob Lemon, whom the Yankees usually feasted on—was getting mighty frustrated. 27 fouls in a row! finally he came in with the 28th pitch—and Rizzuto swung and blasted a searing line drive off the right-center-field wall for a bases-clearing triple. He scored a minute later on a wild pitch, and the next batter—one Vic Raschi—got a solid base hit. And the Indians had to go to their bullpen.
And it was Scooter’s bat speed that did it; he was just using an average weight, average length bat.
Big bats, regardless of the weight of the bats, because of the bat speed.
AWilliams knew a lot about hitting. :slight_smile:


#5

Great story Zita. I remember hearing the story about the golf swing, that’s an important lesson about pitching and hitting, never give up too much information about yourself.

As a pitcher don’t get into habits like ole’ Garcia did and if you’re a hitter don’t let the pitcher know that you can’t hit a pitch, if it’s not where you can hit it, take it unless there’s two strikes, even if it’s in the zone.