by Bob Feller
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THE TOUGHEST OUTS
The hitters who donít swing hard are the toughest to get out. This has always been my motto when it comes to hitters. The most dangerous are those who just meet the ball. They can turn a pitcherís win into a loss at light speed.
Tommy Henrich, Stan Spence, Nellie Fox, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr were all tough outs because they just met the ball and went with the pitch. Joe DiMaggio was another tough out and got ten or eleven home runs off me. Ted Williams never hit a home run off me before World War II, but he got eleven home runs off me after the war. Bobby Doerr got ten off of me, most of which I gave up in Fenway Park.
My approach to these players was as follows. Usually the slider was the best pitch to the left-handed hitters. A high, tight fastball was best to right-handed hitters, if you could throw it hard enough to get it by them. I would often speak with other pitchers around the league as to how to pitch to certain hitters. We used to do it all the time, back when I played. I would call up Ted Lyons or Allie Reynolds, and Iíd talk with Lefty Grove as well. Iíd call them on the road and get their advice, but Iíd only talk to pitchers who had the same pitching style as I had.
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.