Connie Mack and the Early Days of Baseball

Stumbled across this old article from Connie Mack and thought it was kind of cool.

When I first began to play for the Washington club, a batter was allowed to tell the pitcher what kind of ball he wanted pitched to him. Under those conditions, the pitcher was just a man who tossed them up the alley for the batter to hit. He was the hitter’s stooge. I liked high-ball pitching, and I got along pretty well lashing away at a steady stream of balls that floated up to me waist high or just under my chin. I would walk up there calm and confident, knowing that I could call for the kind of ball I wanted, and when at last it came along, I would take a cut at it and give it a ride.

But this pleasant state of affairs didn’t last long. During the winter of ’86 and ’87 the present rule was adopted which allows the pitcher to pitch to a point anywhere between the batter’s shoulder and knee. Under the new rule, I couldn’t hit for sour apples, and I wasn’t the only one. A flock of big-league batting heroes found the going too rough for them. Of course, some of them — the “naturals” — couldn’t be bothered. A natural hitter didn’t care one way or the other. It was all one to them. If the pitcher had been allowed to fling bird shot at them, they would have stepped up there and taken a cut at it, supremely confident that they could whale it up against the center field fence.


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