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Ted Williams Newsbeat

Thursday, April 20, 2017

How is free swinger Eric Thames crushing his second act?

The problem? He swung at everything. And it almost cost him everything. But he’s back and emerging as the biggest surprise of the 2017 season. How did he climb back for this second act that most players never get?

“Plate discipline,” Thames said, simply. “I learned in Korea that they won’t challenge you as much as they do in the minor leagues and [majors]. And maintaining the strike zone and swinging at strikes, that’s like the ultimate goal for everybody.”

Thames signed with the NC Dinos of the South Korean League, then spent the next three seasons putting up Ruthian numbers on the other side of the globe. All told, he hit .349/.451/.721 with 124 homers, 382 RBIs and 64 steals in Korea, but Thames wasn’t just dominating lesser competition; he was working on his game, making it more pliable for a return to the States. Part of it was metrics. Or at least one metric: Thames started to track the number of pitches he chased out of the zone, and mixed that with a little self-motivating tool.

“Starting in Korea, every time I chase, I put a dollar in the pot and I donate it at the end of the year,” Thames said. “It’s a challenge. I was a guy that swung at everything, so many balls out of the zone early on in my career. It’s a big thing. That’s why I couldn’t handle it in Seattle. It’s why I got sent down.”

He’s been really impressive to watch so far.  I also like how this article is framed around comparing this approach with Tim Anderson.


Saturday, April 01, 2017

When Lefty O’Doul Spoke, DiMaggio and Williams Listened

“No one will ever change [my swing] and if anything ever goes wrong with it, I’ll go back to Lefty and get it straightened out.”—Ted Williams

———

O’Doul was eager to let New York baseball fans know the treat they were in for, insisting that DiMaggio was as good as any player ever to come out of the pcl. “Barring injuries,” said Lefty, “he will be voted the Most Valuable Player in the American League in three years.” [Editor’s note: Lefty was off by a year: DiMaggio claimed his first AL MVP in 1939]

——-

Before Lefty O’Doul came along, it was widely assumed that hit­ting was instinctive—although one might improve with experi­ence, batters had to hit their own way; they could not be taught.

———

O’Doul became the next “scientific hitter,” and he began to pro­duce results with his instruction. It was revolutionary. In 1948 the Hillerich & Bradsby Company, maker of Louisville Slugger baseball bats, asked O’Doul to write a feature on hitting for their Famous Slugger Yearbook.

gehrig97 Posted: April 01, 2017 at 11:21 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: joe dimaggio, lefty o'doul, ny giants, ted williams

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Gurus Behind Baseball’s Search for the Perfect Swing - WSJ

Somewhere Ted Williams is thinking, “I told you so.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 15, 2017 at 06:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hitting, ted williams

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dave Engle reflects on Ted Williams memories | MLB.com

MLB.com: So at this stage of life, when you think about Ted Williams, what comes to mind?
Engle: It’s all part of the good fortune I’ve had in life. For being a little shooter in this game of baseball, I was able to have participated in football on a national championship team at USC [in 1974], and actually play on the baseball team that won the College World Series [in ‘78]. There have been so many things that have happened in my life. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone that has ever lived, because of the experiences that have happened. The Ted Williams side is just one chapter in this incredible life story that I have been able to just be like a fly on the wall around all these great players and great situations.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 21, 2017 at 10:24 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: ted williams

 

 

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