Bob Feller's Little Black Book of Baseball Wisdom|
by Bob Feller with Burton Rocks
Contemporary Books, 2001 | Buy the book
THE BEST DOUBLE-PLAY TANDEMS
Usually the teams with the best double-play combinations have the worst pitching. In other words, they turn the most double plays because there are always men on base! The Chicago Cubs had a great double-play tandem. Tinker to Evers to Chance is a famous tandem, but I like our Cleveland tandem of Lou Boudreau at shortstop and Joe Gordon or Ray Mack at second base. Ray had been a football player and, for the runners, it was like sliding into a concrete wall. Lou and Ray could turn the double play as well as any tandem.
The Yankees had Bobby Richardson at second base who could turn a good double play, as could Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yankees’ Phil Rizzuto could turn the double play well in his day. Double-play combinations were especially important to our club because Mel Harder and Bob Lemon were sinker ball pitchers, which is why Boudreau, Mack, and Gordon were extremely valuable. Sinker ball pitchers need a good double-play tandem behind them because they usually have many ground balls hit to the infield. Screwball pitchers and control pitchers also need a good double-play tandem behind them.
As a fan, you can play the role of scout and assess what I’ve said. Just observe the teams with great double-play tandems—those are the teams that are constantly allowing the opposition to put the ball in play. Again, the worst pitching staffs have the most double-play combinations because they always have men on base.
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From Bob Feller's Little Black Book of Baseball Wisdom by Bob Feller.
Copyright © 2001 by Bob Feller. Reprinted by permission of the McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.