Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Innings 3 and 4...Ken Burns film on Baseball

"August 2, 1907 was the first time I watched him take that easy windup and then something just went past that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn't touch him. Everyone of us knew we'd met the most powerful arm ever turned loose on a ballpark." Ty Cobb commenting on Walter "Big Train" Johnson.

"It was useless to try for more than one single. You had to poke and try and meet the ball. If you swung you were dead. After he told me he was afraid he might kill a hitter I used to cheat. I'd crowd the plate until I was actually sticking my toes on it. Knowing he would be timid that he'd pitch me wide, then with two balls and no strikes he'd ease one up to get one over. That's the Johnson pitch I would hit." - Ty Cobb

About Ty Cobb, one sportswriter once wrote, "He would climb a mountain to punch an echo."

"The cruelty of Cobb's style fascinated the multitudes. But it also alienated them. He played in a climate of hostility. Friendless by choice in a violent world he populated with enemies. He was the strangest of all our sports idols. But not even his disagreeable character could destroy the image of his greatness as a ballplayer. Ty Cobb was the best. That seemed to be all he wanted." - Jimmy Cannon

For years the so-called "Gentleman's agreement" among the owners had excluded 1/10 of the nations citizens from the playing field. (Not allowing blacks until 1947.)

The popularity of baseball was picking up amongst the masses. "Success" was now a home run! Crazy ideas-came out of left field. Inappropriate behavior was now- off base.

If you were a fielder you wanted to eat the ball up whenever it came your way. You didn't want the bad hop to eat you up.

"That's the way it is in baseball. A tough racket. There's always someone on the bench itching to get in there in your place. Thinks he can do better. Wants your job in the worst way. 'Back to the coal mines for you, pal.' The pressure never lets up. It doesn't matter what you did yesterday, that's history. It's tomorrow that counts. So you worry all the time. It never ends. Lord, baseball's a worrying thing. " - Stanley Coveleski (born Stanislaus Kowalewski).

Note: Stanley Coveleski was a Hall of Fame pitcher. Pitched for the Cleveland Indians from 1916-1924. Won 20-games four seasons in-a-row (1918-21). Then at the age of 35, found the fountain of youth as a member of the Washington Senators, he posted a 20-5 record in 1925.

(I will look at more film and make more contributions to this blog regarding Ken Burns' documentary on Baseball.)

Kevin J. Marquez