“He Drinks one Glass of Whiskey a day while Training”

8 Apr

The Associated Press (AP) said in 1912 that 45-year-old Denton True “Cy” Young, “(B)aseball’s most interesting veteran has gone to Augusta, Georgia, to join his teammates of the Boston Nationals at their training camp.”

Young had gone to Augusta from Hot Springs, Arkansas, where T he had spent several weeks performing his annual ritual for getting into shape, “He started going there years ago.”

Cy Young, third from left, with Bill Carrigan, Jake Stahl and Fred Anderson at Hot Springs in 1912

Cy Young, third from left, with Bill Carrigan, Jake Stahl, and Fred Anderson at Hot Springs in 1912

Among his secrets: “He drinks one glass of whiskey a day while training.”

Young shared his training regimen with the wire service:

“First week: The regular daily baths at Hot Springs.

“Second week: Baths and road work. He dresses in flannels and sweater and does 10 to 15 miles on the road. He tramps, sprints and climbs hills. He does not touch a baseball.

“Third week: He continues baths and road work. He fields and tosses the ball. He handles bunts to reduce his stomach. At the end of the third week, he pitches his first ball.”

Cy Young

Cy Young

Young said after he began throwing pitches, he had no set rule for when to begin throwing hard:

“Young doesn’t attempt a fastball until he is just right and no one but himself can tell when this will be. He says he doesn’t know how he knows when the moment arrives, but he just naturally begins to speed them across and perhaps to put ‘something on the ball’ at the correct time. The result is you never hear of Cy Young complaining of a sore arm, or wrenched back, as many youngsters do.”

Young, by all accounts, pitched fairly well in games in Georgia and went north with Boston.

But, he never appeared in a game. An April story that said he was retiring to take a baseball writing job at The Boston American proved untrue.

Finally, on May 23, Young was scheduled to pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The AP said:

“The veteran was sent out to warm up to pitch for Boston against the Pirates…but his salary wing refused to behave.”

Young vowed to return to his farm, “and get into shape,” in order to return before the end of the season.

His training regimen finally wasn’t enough. His career was over.

Hearing that Young was returning to his farm, his Boston teammates took up a collection, “to defray Cy’s expenses and $44.39 was raised.” The AP said some of the young players didn’t realize the collection “(W)as a joke…He is worth $75,000 and owns 160 acres of land in Ohio…Cy smiled and spent a good hour hunting up the younger players and returning their money.”

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