Showing posts with label 1953 All Star Game. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1953 All Star Game. Show all posts

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Satchel Paige shows why he was the master of the no-look throw

Flagstaff Films recently released a rare video of Satchel Paige warming up in the infield during the 1953 All-Star Game. During this clip, Paige made two throws by the flick of his wrist, opening a brief window into his hallmark control and flair for the dramatic.



Earl Hunsinger was Paige's teammate with the Miami Marlins in 1956 and 1957. He explained how Paige would routinely make no-look throws during infield practice as his way of staying loose.

"A lot of times he'd show up early at the ballpark during batting practice," Hunsinger said via telephone in 2009 from his Alabama home. "He'd go out and take ground balls and he was a pretty good infielder. He used to take balls and throw to first without looking. That was his way of getting in shape."

Satchel Paige / Topps

During the course of a six-month season, players are apt fool around with trick plays to break the monotony of pre-game practice, but rarely would one dare to improvise during a Major League game. Ol' Satch however, marched to a different drummer as his St. Louis Browns teammate Jim Dyck noted.

"We brought Satch in relief to pitch to one hitter, like with the bases loaded with two outs, and we had to get the hitter out or they were either going to tie or win the game." Dyck told Gene Fehler in "When Baseball Was Still King."

"The guy hit a one-hopper right back to Satch. He fielded the ball, and he never even glanced towards first. He threw it under his left arm and he threw a perfect strike to the first baseman."

Paige, ever the showman, added to the drama by walking off the field as his throw was en route to first base. While his antics certainly captured the crowd's attention, he also grabbed that of his manager Rogers Hornsby. The curmudgeonly Hall of Famer immediately let Satchel know he wasn't happy.

"When he threw the ball, he turned and started walking to the dugout, never looked to see where it went, and of course he threw it right, a perfect throw, without looking," Dyck recalled. "I followed him from third base into the dugout. Hornsby was on the top step and he said, 'That just cost you five hundred dollars. You ever do that again and I'll see that you never play for me again.'"

Most players would have exchanged heated words with their manager over such a significant fine; however, Paige defied convention. Without breaking stride, he continued down his path and let out one of his signature lines.

"Satch never even slowed down," Dyck said. "He just walked on by, and I walked up the runway behind him, and I could hear Satch saying, 'That crazy old man, what'd he think, they's going to move first base? It's been there ever since I've played.'"




Monday, August 24, 2009

Davey Williams, 81, 1927-2009 New York Giants Second Baseman

Former New York Giants second baseman Davey Williams passed away on August 17, 2009 at the age of 81 at his home in Dallas, Texas.


Williams made his debut with the Giants in 1949 and stayed for good after the 1951 season, making the All-Star team in 1953 and appearing in two World Series (1951 and 1954). He had his career ended in 1955 after he suffered a back injury from being run over by Jackie Robinson while covering a bunt.

I had the opportunity to interview Davey in December 2008 and he recounted the events of the collision with Robinson.

"Jackie was a great competitor," Williams said. "He had the right to get even with alot of guys. Jackie told Howard Cosell that I was the only guy he ever hurt intentionally. I got there late, it was my fault. [Sal] Maglie threw at him. The next pitch, Robinson turned to bunt, and instead of covering first and allowing him to go in and cover the ball on that side of the infield, I'm standing out there waiting for the fight to start. Robinson bunts the ball, and Maglie doesn't go over to field the ball, Whitey [Lockman] goes over to field the ball, and now I wake up and have to cover first base. I got there the minute he got there, and I didn't have any momentum going for me at all, and he ran right up the middle. Somehow, I held onto the ball, he didn't knock it out of my hand. I was out too, I didn't play again for 11 days."

He had fond memories of playing with Hall of Famer Ray Dandridge in Minneapolis.

"He had great hands and for the life of me, I don't know why he didn't get a chance to play in the big leagues," he said. "He was impressive."

During the same time he was there with Dandridge, Willie Mays was making his debut in Minneapolis. After briefly playing with Mays, he knew that Mays, "would be a franchise player somewhere." Definitively, Williams described Mays as, "the best player I ever saw."

With the National League up 2-0 in the 7th inning, manager Charlie Dressen inserted Williams into the 1953 All-Star game, replacing Red Schoendienst. Williams told the story of his brief appearance in the contest.

"I caught the last out in the All-Star game off of a pop-up from Yogi Berra," he said. "I always told people if I dropped the ball, we could've padded the score; heck we might still be playing! I got to bat off of Mike Garcia. I went up to hit against him in the 8th inning, and he threw the first pitch, and I thought, 'Whoa! My gosh!' He surprised the heck out of me, he threw a fastball. I hit against him a hundred times before and he really startled me when he threw that first pitch in the All-Star game. It was kinda like he threw it 110 MPH. It wasn't that way in the World Series a year later. I wasn't that surprised [regarding their meeting in the 1954 World Series]. I hit the ball out of the ballpark against him and it was foul by about a foot. I was around by second base and I come back across the mound, and Mike said, 'I must have made that a bit too good.' I said, 'You must have if I hit it that well.'"