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self in a field in the midst of woods. Then the question was what to do. He had no idea where he was. From his compass he could tell the general direction of Philadelphia, but he could only guess how far he had traveled. Fortunately some farmers came to his aid. They had been chopping wood near by, and, seeing him land, had come to investigate. It was then that President Washington's passport served him. The men were very much frightened. Mr. Blanchard could speak no English, and his French only increased their terror. He bethought him of the passport and gave it to them. As soon as they saw Washington's signature and gathered the meaning of the paper, they were eager to assist him. They brought a cart for his balloon, and escorted him to a near-by tavern. There some gentlemen welcomed him and entertained him at dinner. They told him where he was, which explained why the farmers had been so surprised to see him drop down out of the air. He was no longer in Pennsylvania, where the news of his flight had been carried far and wide. He had crossed the Dela
ware River, and had come down some eighteen miles inland in the State of New Jersey. A paper was drawn up, which all signed, testifying to the place and hour of his landing. This newspaper contains a copy of it. It took Mr. Blanchard six hours to return by horseback, carriage, and ferry over the distance which he had covered in his balloon in less than an hour. “This was the story which he told to President Washington, to whom he at once went to report in order to thank him for the passport and to present to him the flag which he had carried on the trip. The President showed great interest, congratulating him on his success, and making many inquiries about how the altitude affected his breathing and heart action, and how the country looked from such a height. “So the next time you go to an aviation meet, Robert,” concluded his grandfather, “remember that your great-grandfather saw the first successful flight in America; and add to the things which you know about Washington that he was the first great American to encourage aviation.”
THE PRACTICE OF THE ART OF PITCHING
MERE ability to throw a fast ball, pitch a curve, make the ball perform antics in the air, is, by itself, of no value whatever. The mere ability to pitch a ball with speed, with a curve, with a shoot, is of no value to a pitcher, if he cannot put it where he wants it ! Of greater value than any speed, or jump, or puzzling antic, is control—ability to pitch a ball with a reasonable assurance that, eight times out of ten, the ball will do your bidding and go to the exact spot you desire. Fvery League pitcher will tell you the same thing, and every year sees
dozens of widely heralded “phenomenal” pitchers turned back from the Major to the Minor Leagues for this one reason.
“He had the speed,” the manager will say, “but he had n't learned control.”
Better far, on any diamond, is the pitcher who can fool batsmen with change of pace and tease them into striking at wide balls, than one who, with every known variety of curve and shoot, sends man after man to first base on balls; or sees him jog there, painfully rubbing some part of his anatomy, because struck with a wild ball; or watches men galloping about the bases while his angry catcher chases a wild pitch.
Control, then, is the first thing to acquire. And there is only one way to get control, and that is by intelligent practice. Note that mere practice in pitching won't do—the practice must be intelligent. In the first place, control of the fast ball comes before any other kind—and that can only be obtained by beginning with little force and gradually increasing the pace. Standing sixty feet from a catcher and hurling in a hundred straight balls with all your might in the hope that, by constant repetition, you can gage control, won't do one tenth as much good as throwing him ten easy ones, ten a fraction harder, ten more a little harder yet, and so on, until you find the amount of force and speed which begins to affect your accuracy of aim. Then use this as a starting-point and pitch at this speed until you can put one over the right, one over the left corner of the plate, and one over the center, half a dozen times in succession. Then begin to put a little more pace on the ball, and so, very gradually, train your muscles to obey your will, until you can send the ball with all your strength true and straight to the mark. This is the one and only known way of getting control—and it is n’t a road to be traveled in a week nor even in a year—but it is the road to travel. And you will find, the first time you pitch a real game, after having ascertained to a nicety just how fast you can pitch and still keep control, that you can do more by teasing the batter with “near strikes” that just don't go over the plate, alternated with those which do, than you can by wildly hurling them with all your force in the general direction of the catcher, in the (almost always vain) hope that they will have the good luck to be “strikes!” And just here let us note a very important point for all young pitchers to think about and remember. It is.this: control means not only the ability to put a ball over the center, the inside, or the outside corner of the plate; not only ability to throw within a few inches of the plate at will, and to “tease” the batter into striking at a ball which will result in a foul or a weak roller to some fielder. It means, as well, control of the height of the ball as it crosses the plate. Rule 3 I says that “A fairly delivered ball is a ball pitched or thrown to the bat by the pitcher, while standing in his position and facing the batsman, that passes over any portion of the home base, before touching the ground, not lower than the batsman's knee, nor higher than his shoulder. For every such fairly delivered ball the umpire shall call one strike.” From knee to shoulder may be any distance from about twenty-six inches in the case of a
short man to thirty-eight inches with a tall man. A reference to Fig. I, page 809, will show how much greater chance there is of fooling the batsman by altering the height at which the ball crosses the plate, than by changing its direction to right or left. The bat presents a much smaller target for the ball from A to C than it does from A to B. Hence the necessity of control of height as well as direction of the ball. So your practice should include throwing low balls, waist balls, high balls, at the signal of the
Finish of the out-shoot.
HOW TO PITCH AN OUT-SHOOT.
Posed expressly for St. Nicho!. As by wait ER JOHNSON, of the Washington American League Club.
“I shall be glad to show how, I pitch this ball,” said Mr. Johnson, “but it should be remembered that no two pitchers pitch this ball in just the same way. There is no standard way of throwing an out-shoot – I can only show you how I pitch it.” catcher, and not until you can throw a high ball, inside, outside, or “straight through,” a waist ball, and a knee ball in those three positions, and do it, too, almost at will, can you step back satisfied that you really are able to control your fast ball.
If you have this control, and are able to use it
on both a fast and a slow ball, you can (whether you have the slightest ability to throw a curve or not) go in and pitch a better game, allow fewer hits, and strike out more batters than if you pitched half a dozen wide curves of which only one in six was true enough to be called a strike.
- Start of the slow ball. HOW TO PITCH THE SLOW BALL.
Posed expressly for St. Nicholas by Carl Cashion, Washington, American League.
Note how loosely the ball is held. hand motion used for a fast ball.
It is thrown with the regular overWhile talking base-ball to a group of boys recently, the author was emphasizing necessity of control. “Shucks!" commented one young enthusiast, “control is all right, of course, but if I could just “fade 'em like Matty, or get ’em over as fast as Johnson, or as slyly as ‘Rube' Marquard, I 'll wager I 'd win every game I pitched if I passed every other man" “But the figures, my lad, don't bear you out,” was the reply. “The records show that Marquard, whose percentage of games won—.774– was the greatest in the National League in 1911, hit but four men during the season, and passed I of men. At first thought this may seem a large number. But remember that Ioo7 men had ‘times at bat' against him, that many more faced him not charged with times at bat,’ and that these 106 passes were given during 278 innings of play. Marquard had control. “Mathewson, always known as a pitcher with perfect control, hit one batsman in 1911 and passed thirty-eight men in 307 innings of play, and had 1169 men charged with ‘times at bat' against him. Mathewson had remarkable control. “Johnson, one of the leading pitchers in the American League, has always been handicapped by the fact that he is too kind-hearted and gentle
natured wilfully to throw so near the batsman as to make him fear to step too close to the plate. As his control is so perfect, and his disposition is so well known, players 'stand to the plate when he is on the mound, and make more hits off him by so doing than they otherwise would. Even so, in 1911, Johnson hit but eight batsmen, and gave bases on balls to seventy more, having 1228 men charged with times at bat' against him, in 323 innings of play. Johnson, too, had wonderful control.” And, to clinch the argument—if any more be needed—consider the remarkable games pitched in both Big Leagues in 1911. In the American League there were two no-hit games pitched during the season, Wood, of Boston, turning this most unusual trick against St. Louis, and Walsh, of Chicago, shutting out Boston without a hit. Coombs, of Philadelphia, Wood, of Boston, and Walsh, of Chicago, each pitched also a one-hit game during the season. All these pitchers are men noted for control—on the days when they
Finish of the slow ball.
pitched these phenomenal games, they had practically perfect control. In the National League there was no no-hit game in 1911, but ten pitchers pitched one-hit games. Compare the list with the pitchers' records, and you find almost all men of fine control They were Moore, Philadelphia; Fromme, Cincinnati; Rucker, Brooklyn; Chalmers, Philadelphia; Steele, Pittsburg; Marquard, New York; Alexander, Philadelphia; Woodburn, St. Louis; Burns, Philadelphia, and Cole, Chicago. Once having control of the fast ball, you are in a position to take up some variety of curve. Here you need advice (which, in all probability, you won't take) and caution about your arm (which you probably won't heed). The advice is this: don't try to master more than one curve, shoot, hook, or slant at a time; don't try ever 19