Synopses & Reviews
Chapter One--The Pitched Battle
Any Little Edge
Reggie Jackson: When I stepped into the box, I felt the at-bat belonged to me. Everybody else was there for my convenience. The pitcher was there to throw me a ball to hit. The catcher was there to throw it back to him if he didn't give me what I wanted the first time. And the umpire was lucky that he was close enough to watch. Gibson was the same way. That's why people thought he was mean. And that's the attitude you've got to have. When I hit, I felt I was in control of the home-plate area, and it was important that I felt that way. If I let the pitcher control it, it would give him an advantage. There are at least three kinds of advantages that the pitcher and batter contest. There's the physical advantage, the strategic advantage, and also the psychological advantage. I didn't want two out of three. I wanted them all. The pitcher has the ball, and nothing happens until he lets go of it. So, as the batter, I felt I had to fight for any bit of control I could get. I expected the umpire, the catcher, and the pitcher to wait on me. I wanted to get ready on my time. I'd call time or pause or do something that wasn't too annoying but at least would get the pitcher off his pace. If I could disrupt his rhythm a little bit, just for a second or two, the advantage swung to me. But I didn't want to create an ire, some kind of anger to make him bear down harder. I didn't want a guy to step back and grit his teeth. Being a jerk about it just doesn't work. There's a fine line between annoying somebody just a little bit and angering him to the point where you may get drilled in the back.
Bob Gibson: Him backing out of there all the time, that is annoying, because I liked to pitch in a hurry. But I never let it annoy me to the point that it distracted me. You don't knock guys down for that kind of stuff. They give you plenty of other reasons to knock them down.
Reggie Jackson: Against the great pitchers, in particular, I'd try to break that rhythm. They're going to try to pitch a fast game, under two hours if possible--although that hardly ever happens anymore. They want to get a flow going, throw strikes, get ahead, keep you off balance and on the defensive. They want you to get in the batter's box, because they're ready to pitch. If a pitcher stays in his groove, he's going to be comfortable. He's going to be on his game plan. So you have to get him out of that comfort zone any way you can. If I could do a little something to break that rhythm--make him say to the umpire, Come on, get him in there, let's go, let's go --I might get a ball one. You want him thinking about something other than where he's putting this first pitch. So you might step out, adjust your helmet, tie your shoe or something; but you want to be careful. You don't want to get hit.
Bob Gibson: I got a chuckle out of the comment that a pitcher wants to keep the game under two hours. After I'd get through warming up in the bullpen and was sitting waiting to go out there, I'd always say to the guys, 'Okay, an hour and fifty-seven minutes, let's go They play better behind you if you're working quickly.'
Reggie Jackson: Ken
Reggie Jackson and Bob Gibson offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to understand America's pastime from their unique insider perspective.
Legendary. Insightful. Uncompromising. Candid. Uncensored.
Mr. October and Hoot Gibson unfortunately never faced each other on the field. But now, in Sixty Feet, Six Inches, these two legends open up in fascinating detail about the game they love and how it was, is, and should be played. Their one-of-a-kind insider stories recall a who's who of baseball nobility, including Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Hank Aaron, Albert Pujols, Billy Martin, and Joe Torre. This is an unforgettable baseball history by two of its most influential superstars.
From the Hardcover edition.
Legendary baseball players Jackson and Gibson never faced each other on the field. However, in this work they team up to offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to understand America's pastime from their unique insider perspectives.
About the Author
BOB GIBSON, a two-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All Star, won 251 games and achieved a lifetime ERA of 2.91 during his seventeen years with the St. Louis Cardinals. He is a special adviser to the Cardinals.
REGGIE JACKSON hit 563 home runs and drove in 1,702 runs over the course of his twenty-one-year career; he played three World Series-winning seasons with the Oakland Athletics, and two with the New York Yankees. He is a special adviser to the Yankees.
LONNIE WHEELER collaborated with Bob Gibson and Hank Aaron on their autobiographies and is the author of two other books about baseball.
Table of Contents
The pitched battle -- Mechanics -- Stuff -- Corners -- Scenarios -- The other guys -- Things that a fellow just has to deal with -- Atmosphere -- Towering figures -- Makeup -- Forty years of change.