Who Would You Talk To?

Here’s a couple of simple questions - If you could have the opportunity to pick the brains of any Major League player on the planet and ask him anything that you wanted, who would it be? In fact, let’s make it really interesting and say … any professional player from the earlier 1900’s right up to today.

In your response, express why, what would you ask, and what would you expect in response.

Coach B.

I would probably want to pick a hitter and a pitcher, so I would pick Hank Aaron and Pedro Martinez. But if I had to pick just one, I would choose Pedro.

Oh man…now youve done it…so many to choose from, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, Pete Rose, Roger Clemens, Cal Ripken, Randy Johnson, The Yaz, Derek Jeter…hard to go with just one but I think my question and why I like all these guys so much it’s “What gives you the desire, want and will to win so dang much!” These are guys that all hate to lose and wouldn’t accept it. They all have the next level of want and desire that guys with great talent don’t always have. Some of these guys aren’t #1 on the talent list but they are #1 on the list of guys you want playing with you and #1 on the list of feared by the other team.

ps. there are more but the list would be really really really long…

Christy Mathewson.

Then I would waste as much time as possible with child-like questions.

He would answer each one astutely since he is Christy Mathewson.


greg maddux, how did you get that late movement and hit the letters on an exit sign from 60 ft away.

babe ruth, show me how you did what you did and what you were thinking.

Then SHUT UP and let them talk. don’t interrupt and don’t put words in their mouth. tape the whole thing and transcribe it word for word to study. would be priceless.

Curt Schilling
I want to know anything and everything about being a successful pitcher, and he was in the show quite some time.

Josh Outman. I want to know exactly what he’s going through when he battles pitching coaches and people inside baseball because of his unorthodox mechanics.

One of the main themes in response to those questions that I asked , orbits this:
“ I want to know … I want his experience … Tell me what you did along the way… why?”

Ok, let’s look at this game and your experiences in the contexts of growing up.

Baseball is a lot like life – it’s fair and unfair, it’s officiated and managed by those that you have no control over, it’s a collection of people who you must get along with if you’re going to be called a teammate, there will be people who will give opinions of you – right or wrong, you’ll have to settle for less than what’s really needed at times, and sometimes tomorrow may be a thing that you’d just as soon avoid.

Now suppose, just suppose, you had someone that has already been this route, all of it. Suppose their journey was laced with all the successes and failures that you’re about to face – without you actually going through the motions …… especially the failure part. I don’t know about you, but if I had a person, or persons, that I could sit down and talk to like this – I’d be a darn fool not to take advantage of it.

So look, think of your parents, an uncle or aunt, your pastor or minister, a teacher that you admire, or other adult in the same way that you would think of talking to a pro ball player that you admire. Use their experience with life in the same way as you would use the experiences of a pro ball player.

Now, how does all this come full circle with you and baseball? It comes about this way – with experience in life comes maturity. With maturity comes a relaxed stability that sets one apart, a seasoned individual that seems to speaks volumes when there’s really no need to speak at all.

As a pitching coach, I, like my contemporaries, can bring along just about anyone with just a smidgeon of physical talent. And like my contemporaries, when called upon to “card” someone and pass on an opinion of someone’s worth – now and in the future, this process takes into account maturity, big time. What I and others like me cannot work with, risk our livelihood, pass on to others in our business, is a player who has mood swings, temperamental and acts like he’s full-of-himself. There’s just no time for that. Time is money and money is in short supply – along with the patience of a management’s attention span.

Use baseball to help you learn and grow. Learn from those right by your side, and grow. I see the benefits of this process daily.

Coach B.

Great post, Coach, and great question. I’ve been watching baseball for a very long time. However, only one name jumped out…

Who? Hank Aaron

Why? I’d like to know what it was like to be a black man in the deep South in the 1960’s and 1970’s chasing Babe Ruth for the most cherished baseball record of them all.

What I would ask? Did you ever regret not getting the respect you deserved? How did you handle the death threats? Were you afraid? What was the pressure like as you approached the record? What do you think of Barry Bonds beating your record?

What I would expect for an answer? I’m greatful for what God gave me. A lot of people loved Babe Ruth, and they should, he was the greatest home run hitter of all time. I know that the death threats were a response to me going after the Babe’s record. I understand and I tried not to let it bother me. The pressure was tremendous as I approached the record but I just tried to get base hits to help my team win games. I love Barry Bonds and he’s the greatest home run hitter of all time.

I would expect nothing less from a class act like Hank Aaron.

Oh, for the record, Hank Aaron is, and will always be, the greatest Home Run hitter in baseball.

I would probably choose someone who was a good story teller as well as someone who likes to talk mechanics/strategy, and then someone who would just be fun to hang out with!

So, after some thought, I’d go with Tom Seaver (my boyhood idol) and Ted Williams - and maybe play some video games with Lincecum!

Greg Maddux, no question.

Jackie Robinson - without a doubt. Baseball is life!

Great topic, Coach B!

I’d like to talk to Satchel Paige…and Greg Maddux…
My problem is that Greg would be pissed cuz all I’d do is gush about how great he was.

Most folks don’t know that Satchel and Josh Gibson could have broken the color barrier in the 30’s. The reason they didn’t you ask oh pitching enthusiasts??? He couldn’t afford the PAY CUT!!! Yes that is right…Satch got a cut of the gate and so did Big Josh. The league min, which was also what rookies got paid wouldn’t have covered maintenance on Satchels Cadillac…well no exceptions were going to be made for the titans of the Negro Leagues so they stayed making money until Jackie jumped in, in the 50’s.
I want to know how he developed his art…they said he had great heat but that he could make the ball…“talk to a lady in the stands…dance around the infield for a minute and then pop into the catchers glove for strike 3”…when I see vintage vid of him in his prime, honest to goodness he looks like a cross between “Oil-Can” Boyd and Pedro.

My one manager when I was playing out west got a chance to play against him during a barnstorming tour. He tried to hit him and said he never stood a chance.

Also told us about a story in the game when for the first 3 innings it was literally Satchel and his Catcher vs the batter. The game started with all 9 guys on the field and Satchel hollered to the players to go sit down that he’d take care of things and for 3 innings he struck out the side all while pitching from 2B!

I think that scene was memorialized in Bingo Long and his Travelin All-Stars…a really cool baseball and history movie.