pitcher

Zach Greinke’s changeup grip

This is a nice photo of Zach Greinke’s changeup grip when he pitched for the Dodgers. I never did master the changeup before I hurt my arm, but in retrospect I wish I had learned how to throw it when I learned how to throw a curve. My ERA my junior season (before the injuries started) was 1.00, and I have no doubt it would have been 1/2 of that if I had known how to throw one. (I don’t remember where I got this image, but it was probably espn.com.)

There’s an important lesson here about (a) role models and (b) expanding your horizons that I need to write up at some point, but the short story is that Cubs pitchers at the time threw fastballs, curves, and splitters, so as a teenager that’s what I threw.

Mad Al Hrabosky

“To be perfectly honest with you, I really feel that I have average physical ability, but when I get my psych and my self-hypnosis going, I can compete with anybody in anything.”

~ Al Hrabosky

Back in the day it was fun to watch “Mad” Al Hrabosky pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals. He would psyche himself up behind the mound and appear to get very angry, and indeed, he ended up in at least one brawl. Here’s a TWIB Note video of him pitching and talking, and here’s him talking years later about what he was doing behind the mound.

Pitching in high school

This is a picture of me as a pitcher in high school. I don’t want to say that we were poor growing up, but I wore a large outfielder’s glove while pitching because I was afraid to ask my dad for a new glove, and the shoe on my right foot — the one way up in the air — was cracked in the middle.

(Many thanks to Dwayne Heidtbrink for the photo way back when.)

Two thoughts of the day

Two thoughts of the day:

Nobody owes you anything. I’m often surprised to hear people tell stories about how they’re butthurt because they feel like someone owes them something. (Typically they think friends and family members should owe them something.)

The only time you really lose is when you don’t try. A lot of people have interesting ideas, but never do anything with them. I think I lost nine games as a baseball pitcher in high school, but I won a lot more games than that, and it would have been a much bigger loss if I thought, “Gosh, I could be a great pitcher if only someone gave me a chance.”

Interactions with Cubs players in my youth

I had two interactions with Chicago Cubs players in my youth.

When I was about 10 years old, Randy Hundley was the Cubs catcher and he came to speak to all of our little league players and parents at a large gathering. After he gave a speech we were allowed to ask questions. Even then I was interested in pitching, so I asked, “What do you talk about when you go out to the pitchers’ mound?” He answered something like, “Son, I’m sorry, I’m not allowed to use those words here.” (All the adults thought that was funny, but I was serious and thought, “Geez, why don’t adults ever take kids’ questions seriously?”)

Then when I was a senior in high school, Ron Santo came to one of my games, wearing his trademark leather jacket. Technically he went to his son’s game, but since I was pitching and we won, it was my game. ;)