Sunday, October 25, 2020

Quote of the Day (Kellogg’s 1934 ‘Baseball’ Guide, With Fielding Advice That the Dodgers Can Use)

“Good outfielders will tell you not to be too tense. If your wrists and hands are rigid you’ll increase your chances of fumbling. Be relaxed when you catch the ball.”—“How to Catch a Ball,” Kellogg’s “Baseball” Guide (1934)

I was pleasantly surprised when a friend sent me last week the 1934 Kellogg “Baseball” guide you see here. I had just finished writing a post about Jimmie Foxx, and the guide took me back to the world of the Philadelphia A’s and Boston Red Sox slugger of the Thirties. The tips in this pamphlet offered the kind of advice from him and other future Cooperstown greats that American boys would have received at the time.

It was comforting to discover that, before designated hitters, armies of relief pitchers, and sluggers advised by hitting coaches not to worry too much about strikeouts if they could put the ball out of the park, some elements of the game of the past have managed to carry over.

After last night’s game, I’m sure that Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts might have wanted to get the above passage into the hands of centerfielder Chris Taylor. With only one strike to go to secure victory and a 3-1 World Series advantage, Taylor and Dodgers catcher Will Smith committed a cascading series of errors that frightened their fans with what one Twitter user termed “a double Buckner”—a reference to the Red Sox first baseman unfairly tagged the goat of the 1986 World Series for a ball that skidded through his legs.

Maybe the Boys in Blue will recover and this set of defensive miscues occurring in a mere 10 seconds will be forgotten in the ensuing era of good feeling. But if the Dodgers don’t win the series, expect Roberts to be put on the same “Win This Year or Else” clock that Aaron Boone is on following his deeply problematic pitching strategy in Game 2 of the American League Divisional Series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

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