Clipped From The Evening Sun
Here’s Baseball How To Play Third Base—By Harold (Pie) Traynor (This is the second of seven articles in which former major lea- grue baseball stars tell how to play the game.) BY HAROLD (PIE) TRAYNOR (Written for AP Newsfeatures) A third biiseman must be quick on his feel and po&sess a strong arm. He must have cat in him t>ecause he is the closest infielder to the batter. He must be ready for bunts al all times. A good tip would be to watch Billy Cox of Brooklyn next time he plays third base. I have seen him make some of the greatest plays any third baseman ever made. He has the natural ability and uses ii by being ready for any situation. Cox is the best glove man in baseball today. He could be a great shortstop of a great second baseman. He has the hands and the reflexes, A third baseman should play with Kls hands on his knees and be balanced. Easy Way To Shift On a ball hit between him and the shortstop he must bring his right leg across his left foot. It’s the opposite way on going to his right; bring the left foot over the right foot. Try it sometime and see how- easy it IS to save a step. The third baseman should get to learn the opposing hitters. For instance, play deep and closer to the foul line when there's a pull hitter up. If he's a good hitter of tlie Ralph Kiner type he's less likely to bunt. With most lefthanded hitters the third baseman can stray farther from the bag. However, this is not true of the scatter hitters, fellows like Stan Musial, Gene W'oodling and Dale Mitchell who can hit to all fields. Woodling and Mitchell often swing late and hit to the left side of the diamond. Yogi Bera, when he has two strikes How Bunt Causes Confusion Here’s Pie Traynor’s version of how important a bunt play can be: Position at third base is everything. A bunt to third base decides many bail games. Such a bunt almost cost the Yankees the 1952 W’orld Series. The Dodgers had a fine hitter at bat in Roy Campanella. Charley Dressen thought he’d cross up the Yankees with a bunt. He did. Duke Snider had singled on Ed Lopat's second pitch in the fourth inning of the seventh and deciding game in Ebbets Field. Snider moved to second when Jack Robinson beat out a bunt toward the mound. Then, with men on first and second base, Lopat got together with his third baseman, Gil McDougald. Mac, as 1 get it, was supposed to take the bunt, if Campanella bunted. On the next pitch, Campanella bunted halfway between third and home. It was such a beautiful bunt that it left doubt in McDougald's mind as to whether he should get the ball or let Lopat get it. Mac never broke for the ball and Lopat, who thought Mac would take the play, was left handcuffed on the mound. Stengel then took Lopat out of the game without a run being scored. Luckily, for the Yankees, Allie Reynolds came in and got the side out with the loss, of only one run. That run scored on an outfield fly. It could have been a big inning for the Dodgers all because of Campanella’s bunt. that play. Here’s another situation that’s simple to handle; With men on first and second on a ball hit to the third baseman playing close to the bag, all the filder has to do is touch the bag for a force out. Then the next play would be first base since the batter is easier to double than the man going to second. The same applies when the third baseman catches a line drive with men on first and second and less than two out. Throw to first base for the double play. The man on first is easier to get because he has a bigger lead. PEERLESS riF,— In 10 of his 17 years with Pittsburgh, Harold (PieI Traynor batted above .300. He is regarded as one of the game’s greatest third basemen. This 1932 picture shows Pie wearing a mourning band following the death of Pirate President Barney Drey fuss. on him, often hits to the left side. All he's trying to do with a two- strike situation is meet the ball. Get In Front Of Ball A third baseman should get in front of hard hit balls. If you can't field a hard hit ball cleanly at least you can block it from going into left field and possibly becoming a two- base hit. These days a two-base hit is the bane of many pitchers. Tliey worry about that man in scoring position. Always try to get the front runner. When the tying or winning run i« on third base and it’s less than two out you must throw the ball to the plate instead of trying to make the double play. Always try at any cost to keep the opposition from scoring the tying or winning run. Here are a few situations that a good third baseman must learn to combat; With men on first and second and none out and a bunt in order, the third baseman should play in ak>out three steps and close to the line. The reason: If a ball is bunted on the line he can run straight in for the ball. If the ball is bunted so the pitcher can field it, the third baseman has to go back only three steps to take the pitcher's throw for the force out. If the bunter misses the ball and the runners are going, as they should t>e, the third baseman is close enough to the bag to take the catcher’s throw and thereby prevent a double steal. If the ball i« bunted between the pitcher and the third baseman the latter is in a direct line for a play at first base. Play Pie Originated I’m not meaning to be boastful but here’s a play that I originated years ago with the Pittsburgh Pirates. When the ball was hit to me at third base and with a runner on third I would fire the ball into the plate to get the man going home with one oui or less. The moment I threw the t>all I would run as fast as I could and the moment the runner held up, the catcher would return the ball to me. It was easy to tag the ruruier. I would be standing next to him. But wait! As I tagged the runner I'd be getting set to make a throw to first base to get the batter. And many times we’d get the batter cause he had made the turn of first base toward second. This play is all a matter of timing, We used to get Uncle Robbie, who managed the Dodgers, nut« with Harold (Pie) Traynor Harold (Pie) Traynor, Hall of Fame third baseman, was born Nov. 11, 1899 at Framingham. Mass, In 17 years in the majors, aU with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League, Traynor compiled a .320 lifetime average for 1941 games. The followinr is hit record. Games Ptc. 1920 SS 17 .212 1921 3B 7 .263 1922 SS-3B 142 .281 1923 3B 153 .338 1924 3B 142 .294 1925 SS-3B 150 .320 1926 3B 152 ,317 1927 3B 149 .342 1928 3B 144 .337 1929 3B 130 .356 1930 3B 130 .366 1931 3B 155 .298 1932 3B 135 .329 1933 3B 154 .304 1934 Mgr-3B 119 .309 1935 Mgr-1B-3B 57 .279 1937 Mgr-3B 5 .167 Total 1941 .320 i Non-playing manager Pittsburgh 1936 and 1938-39.