Clipped From The Record-Argus
Here's Baseball Shortstop Called Key Post by Honus Wagner (This Is the third of seven articles in which former major league baseball stars tell how to play the game.) By FRANK ECK AP Ncwsfeatures Sports Editor CARNEGIE, Pa. — A good shortstop must hav£ a strong throwing arm because he makes the longest throws of any infielder says Honus Wagner. Honus, now 80, advises making throws from a. ben^ng position in practice must often make throws with a minimum of wasted motion. "I would always try to throw the ball from the position in which I fielded it," says the immortal Wagner who compiled a .329 batting average in 18 years with the Pljts'burgh v Pirates and three with Louisville. f'You've got to do that to be a good shortstop. You must get the ball away quickly when possible. "Tho toughest "play for a shortstop comes when he goes into the hole between his position and third base. How many pJ«.yers do you see-make that play today? Phil Rizzuto and Pee' We« Reese j used to be real good at it but I | guess by now they're slowing down like all of us." Get Solid Footing* Wagner feels that the xliortstop going into the hole to *fi«ld a ground ball should plant Iila right foot solidly on the grourul aa the ball is fielded. "This -will give John Peter (Honus> Wagner, a member of baseball's • Hall of Fame, compiled ». .329 battiiig average for faia 21 yearsln the National I^ea^ne, Itls first three year» with Louisville, his test 18 with Pittsburgh. n than two out. ihey play in to cut 1 off the front runner. | T "In the old days," says HOHUJI "we'd play In and try to make the tag on the runner. One run was big in John McQraw's day. He always played for one run at home A warn? spring day and you ride out to the field in your brand- new Farmall Cub tractor... flip a. tiny lever with your finger... and down goes the plow I A big, shiny ribbon of soil rolls over... yessir, even working's fua with a Farmall Cub! ' A fellow east of town said to me, "My kids are always scrapping about who's going to drive the Farmall Cub. How I wish •we'd bad machines like that when I was a. kid. My poor, feet tuts took a beating!" Yes, folks, that's what a lot of people ate saying since, they bought their Farmall Cub... and they know that any time parts or service are needed, I'm always here. him the necessary footing to make the long throw to first' base," says Wagner. "The shortstop" lie says "must roam to the outfield on all fly balls hit to short left field and short center field. He should know the strength of rUs outfielders' arms because tie will be called upon to take a number of relay throws during- the v course of a game. "When he knows how well his left fielder can throw, the shortstop will know ho"wr deep ho .should roam for the relay following a long ball hit. The same applies on long hit balls to center." Wagner insists that since the shortstop plays tha deepest part of the Infield he must -move In on most ground balls hit His way. "A, slow hit ball is the hardest for a shortstop to field,"says the Hall of Famer. "I used to try to come in sideways on a slow hit ball. Sometimes Rizzuto playa them that way. Jt's a.ne way to see the little bad hops a slow roller takes. Must Be \Jert "The shortstop must be the most alert infielder because he is expected to move in any direction. He must hive sure hands. He is /the key to a g-ood infield because he makes more ploys than any other player wUh the possible exception of the first baseman, most of -whose plays involve catching: thrown balls.' 1 Wagner believes R. shortstop must "sway around and not remain stationary." Notice haw the infielders play with runers on' -base and less iimiitioui 11IVI1III Delivered in Greenville for as little as $175.00 Down D. R THOMPSON FARM SUPPLY Hadley Road Greenville Drink Milk With Every Meal Phone 2066 but on the road he'd play for more because sometimes ono run doasn't hold up in the last of the ninth." Some shortstops play in or close to second base with a runner on first. Wagner opposes this type of play. "I stayed at shortstop until the ball was hit or pitched out," says the famous Flying Dutchman. "I learned that from Hughle Jennings back in 1897 when I was playing right field for the Louisville Colonels In the National League. Hnughle hit .397 for Baltimore in 1896 and when I came up as a 23-year-old rookie I thought I'd see how Jennings did it. Jennings was a shortstop but how he could cover second base! He could take the throw while on the run." Explain* Common Flay Wagner has been asked thousands of times how to play the bag \vith a -runner coming into second base. Here's his version of the play: "If' the runer comes down Inside, give him half the bag. When new men would come into the league they would try to get me or the seconcJ baseman. I used to tell them, 'Now look, You're • new in the league. Give us half j the bag or you won't get any part of it. The bag has four corners All I want la'One.' I always tried to be nice to them. "Don't stand in front of the bag. Eliminate the possibility of injury. Always try to get your man and get out of the way." Honus, who led the National League eight times in hitting and hit .300 or better for his first 17 years in the circuit, had a number of pet plays. "One of them Involved Tommy Leach with whom I played IB years," says Honus. "He played third base next to me for five years. There was one play we used to get away with every so at EDWARD M. McGINNIS INSURANCE Pot 313-J often. "With the sacrifice bunt in order arid men on first and second with not too fast a man on "second, Leach would run in before the pitcher threw the ball to the batter. I'd cover third. If Leach could possibly field the bunt he'd jret it, wheel and throw to me for the force play. Sometimes we'd call a pitch-out on that play'and we'd suck the runner inj;o heading fqr third. We'd invariably get him because old Honus would be there to take the catcher's throw."