I had a very good question asked of me recently and that pertained to a statement made when someone see’s a pitcher perform and comments follow by saying…” he has,… it…” It - referring to a very positive thing.

I’m going to qualify my answer about that comment as pertaining to the amateur game, and not the professional game.

A player having “It” can be dependent on the level of play, usually Age Based at the Youth Level, and then for the Sustained Performance at the Higher Levels of Competition.

Aged Based, at the Youth Level
During the early years of a player’s experience, there’s not much to go on, comparison wise. Most youngsters at this time are awkward, haphazard, all-thumbs-n-feet. But - there’s usually one or two stand-outs that catch everyone’s eye and remarks that follow are…” boy, the kid can really play”, … or …”man, the kids got … IT”.

As youngsters advance in age and classification, that awkward stage usually passes. Those that stick with it, practice, develop and learn their position better than others. These people take with them a skill level and learning curve that quickens their pace, compared to their contemporaries, and standout. Hence, in comparison to what’s around those better players, they might be qualifying as having “IT” for talent.

Now if you’re looking at a fun, park and recreation club, the comparisons are pretty much restricted to the limited sample of the population at that location. Here again, based on comparing who’s playing who - so will comments be made of what qualifies any player having “IT” for talent and performance.

Ratchet things up a bit, to a higher level of competition, and so will the bar be raised for what qualifies as any player having or not having …”IT” for talent. Even those players that are very athletic won’t escape the eye for what constitutes …”IT” Either you can play … or ya can’t.

Notice I didn’t say, play exceptional well - just play. Youngsters at the higher levels of competition - usually starting at 14 or 15, have to keep pace with the league and tempo or they’re out.

So what’s the breaking point from the Aged Based, at the Youth Level, to the real stuff that supports any player being spotted and labeled as having …”IT” for talent , and that label really
meaning something? The answer is …

Sustained Performance at the Higher Levels of Competition.
But, but not just any performance. Quality mixed with quantity is the Golden Fleece here boys. And when we speak of quality, we go way beyond the playing field. We encompass actions off the field that won’t detract from actions on the field. We have a player that is mature, responsible, dependable, aggressive, self assured, loyal, levelheaded, even tempered, knows what he wants, and has a bit of a sense of humor. We have consistent quality in appearance after appearance. We have dependability, consistency, consistency, consistency. We can plan on this man being ready, ready ready. No surprises, no personality complexes, no nothing - but a planing mix that gives 100% … 100% of the time.

Now we’re talking “

Coach B.

I deliberately left the professional game out of this answer. Why? If a man lacks the basics in anything … “IT” wasn’t there to begin with, so, he wouldn’t be in the business to begin with. In the professionals, baseball isn’t played … it’s a business with a very demanding shopping list.

. .

Perhaps the best definition, explanation, whatever, of “IT” comes from the fifth game of the 1956 World Series, in which Don Larsen pitched that perfect game. He started the game by striking out Junior Gilliam, and Babe Pinelli, who was calling balls and strikes for what would be the last time, got excited and muttered to himself "Uh-oh—Larsen’s got it today."
It. The fast ball, the slider, the curve ball and the changeup. The control and the command. And, mid-game, a two-run lead which he held the rest of the way. Yes, Larsen had it. :slight_smile: 8)

Great post Coach B.