1.) There has always been a saying in baseball that you can’t make a hitter, but I think you can improve a hitter. More than you can improve a fielder. More mistakes are made hitting than in any other part of the game.
2.) There’s only one way to become a hitter. Go up to the plate and get mad. Get mad at yourself and mad at the pitcher.
3.) You have to hit the fastball to play in the big leagues.
4.) If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.
5.) If there was ever a man born to be a hitter it was me.
6.) Hitting is fifty percent above the shoulders.
7.) Baseball’s future? Bigger and bigger, better and better! No question about it, it’s the greatest game there is!
8.) A kid copies what is good. I remember the first time I saw Lefty O’Doul, and he was as far away as those palms. And I saw the guy come to bat in batting practice. I was looking through a knothole, and I said, ‘Geez, does that guy look good!’ And it was Lefty O’Doul, one of the greatest hitters ever.
9.) A man has to have goals – for a day, for a lifetime – and that was mine, to have people say, ‘There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.
10.) Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel, not just to be as good as someone else but to be better than someone else. This is the nature of man and the name of the game.
11.) Think. Don’t just swing. Think about the pitcher, what he threw you last time up, his best pitch, who’s up next. Think!
12.) The batter has three strike zones: his own, the opposing pitcher’s, and the umpire’s. The umpire’s zone is defined by the rule book, but it’s also more importantly defined by the way the umpire works. A good umpire is consistent so you can learn his strike zone. The batter has a strike zone in which he considers the pitch the right one to hit. The pitchers have zones where they are most effective. Once you know the pitcher and his zone you can get set for a particular pitch.
14.) I think without question the hardest single thing to do in sport is to hit a baseball. A .300 hitter, that rarest of breeds these days, goes through life with the certainty that he will fail at his job seven out of ten times.
15.) I knew what was going on at that plate. It used to kill me to strike out, but when I struck out I knew what it was that got me and what I was going to try to do about it.
16.) Get a good Pitch to Hit!
Pay Attention to This:
I truly feel that the technique of hitting has – in my eyes – deteriorated over the last 35 or 40 years. I see that gradual decline and it concerns me. I see hitters not taking advantage of the pitch; hitters not hitting according to the count; hitters not hitting according to the wind and other conditions; hitters not hitting according to the dimensions of the ballpark. Hitters apparently not even realizing what they did the last time at bat! And on and on…
When they fail to recognize these and other factors, they miss out on some definite advantages which could help them get an edge on the pitcher their next time at bat. If a pitcher gets you out on two half-assed curves in a row, you should be prepared to lay back for that pitch at least for one strike. Or, maybe two strikes if you still had confidence that you could hit this guy with two strikes.
If it’s 592′ to right field and 375′ to left field, I’m not going to try to pull the hell out of the ball to right. I might as well hit a little more straight away, especially if the wind favors me in that direction.
It’s all part of a learning process for hitters. There’s a period where you don’t jump on your mistakes as quickly as you should. The first three years would be a real learning cycle – just trying to get it going. Then, somewhere along the line, things start to gel for a hitter. Naturally there will be ups and downs, injuries that will set you back or other things that keep you out of the lineup. Those are things you have to learn to cope with as you go along. But I’ve seen too many hitters waste too many years learning simple, easy things and making the same stupid mistakes for six years longer than they should have, and not really getting the end results they were physically capable of achieving.
It’s that type of thing – proper thinking – that is lacking in today’s hitters. I see good swings, great speed, great talent. I see an awful lot of things that would just make me rub my hands in glee and delight, and I think, “Boy, look at this guy!” And then, invariably he fails. This is one of the saddest things for me in baseball because I see a ton of talent there. Players are bigger, stronger, faster.. but, they don’t know that little game between the hitter and pitcher.