Clipped From The Evening Sun
Here’s Baseball How To Play Second Base—By Rogers Hornsby Stengel Praises Rajah’s Crossfire (This Is the fourth of seven articles in which former major league baseball stars tell how to play the game.) By ROGERS HORNSBY (Written for AP Newsfeatures ) When a fellow builds a ball club it should be built through the middle with a good fielding second baseman and a good fielding shortstop. We all like goot. hitters but if a second baseman is a Rood base runner, and ii there are other potential nitters on the team, hitting strength car be sacrificed. A second baseman's arm doe* not have to be too strong. The shortstop and third baseman need stronjf arms, but no* the second baseman. However, a second baseman must be able to make snap throws. You learn to play hitters by telling whether the batter hits to left field or right field You must know your own pitcher. If he’s a fast ball pitcher the chances are that a right handed hitter will not be able to Dull the J.ill to left field too well. On a batter like that it is well to play a bit toward first base. If he can t pull the ball he’s more apt to hit it to the right side of the field. Taking Relay Throws On relay throws from the outfield. the second baseman should take the throws from right center field and from right field. If the second baseman has a poor arm the shortstop should take the throws. Shortstops are supposed to take throws from left field and left cepter. Some fellows say the second baseman should face partially toward first base when fielding ground balls. I disagree. A second baseman, or a^v fielder for that matter, definitely must get ia Manager Casev Stengel 6 f the world rhampion Yankees say* ‘ Rogers Hornsby could do something no other second baseman could do.” Of his 53 baseball years, Stengel spent 25 in th*- National League and saw Hornsby play his first 11 years with the Cardinals. Savs Stengel: “He could go over to second base, take the throw and get out of the runner's way. The amazing thing about it was when he'd throw the ball to first base. He'd throw the ball hard and with speed. For most fellows its difficult to throw sidearm and get speed on the ball. ’If you were a first base coach you would see the ball come at the first baseman crossfire. I never saw anv other second baseman throw sidearm and get the speed on the ball that Hornsbv did.” BODY BLOCKS—Rogei Hornsby was noted f his hitting but he could make any play at second base. This picture, taken late in his career, shows him blocking a ground ball. Hornsby played every infield position during his 23 ▼ears in the majors and compiled a .358 lifetime average. front of all ground balls. Never play a ball off your side. Try to play the ball with both hands. There is too much of this one- handed stuff today. I se one hand only when forced 10 . On ground balls fieldec in the baseline between first and second and with a runner on first, the second baseman should try to tag the runner cominp down toward second. Always be sure to get the lead runner—the man moving from first to second. However, if the runner stops in the baseline the second baseman should throw the ball to first base to get tht batter. One out is better than nont. Always remember that the runner on first base is not forced to make second base once the batter has been retired. Second Base Pivot Here’s the best wav to pivot around second base. I learned that from experience. Always go to second base sr that the bag rests between the leys. You can shift like a first baseman that way. The second baseman should be able to shift his feet like p first baseman. In straddling the base you can shift to the left or right for bad throws and still be able to hit the bag with the inside of one foot or the other. When taJtmg a throw over the bag on the double plav attempt it is best to touch the bag with the inside of the right foot and step in toward the pitcher's mound With the left foot. You will be out of the baseline this wav and will not be knocked down bv the runner. Always pet to second ba>e as soon a«; possible. Backing Up First Baseman The second baseman backs ud the first baseman onlv on the sacrifice attempt when the first baseman leaves his positioi to field ’lie ball Anytime a first baseman can get back to the bag he should eet oack. * When you pitch out and the first baseman breaks in. the second baseman should break toward firs» base to try to catch the runner off. W'hen a ball is hit to the pitcher and there's the prospect of a double play, the shortstop should take the pitcher’s throw because the shortstop will be facing first base as he Roes over to second base He will be in a better position to com- Hornsby’s Record Rogers Hornsby, regarded as baseballs greatest righthanded hitter, batted .358 during his 23 years in the major leagues. He led the National League seven times and thrice batted over .100. Hornsbv was born April 27, 1896 at Winter. Tex Below is the Hall of Fame second baseman's record: Team Games Pet. 191-t Cards 18 ,246 1916 Cards 139 ,313 1917 (ards 145 .327 1918 Cards 115 ,281 1919 Cards 138 ' sir iards 149 -370 I«:;’ (ards 154 397 19 2 C ards 154 .401 1923 Cards 107 .384 1924 Cards 143 .424 Cards 138 !403 1926 Cards 134 .317 }9!7 Giants 155 .361 ' Brave* 140 .387 Cub* 380 1930 Cubs 42 .308 1931 Cubs 100 .331 1932 Cubs 19 ,224 1933 Cards 46 .325 1933 Browns 11 .333 1934 Browns 24 .304 1935 Browns 10 .208 !fl36 Browns 2 .400 1937 Browns 20 .321 play that wav. second baseman piete the double Only tune the takes the throw from the pitcher >fn the Matter is a dead left field hitter. When that type of bat,is UP the second baseman normally plays closer to the bag.