Ewing’s “Study of the Science of Batting”

6 Oct

Buck Ewing, during his final season managing the Cincinnati Reds in 1899, “wrote” a syndicated article regarding his, “study of the science of batting.”

The article introduction said, “young players would do well to study,” Ewing’s conclusions and promised, “many an old League player could better his stick work,” by following Ewing’s advice:

“Footwork has as much to do with successful batting as it has to pugilism. A player who steps away from the plate as he swings at the ball can be put down as an easy victim for an ‘out’ curve, and it is a pitcher with a very poor heads who does not serve up ‘out’ curves in profusion to such a batter.”

Buck “at the Bat”

The Reds manager said even “good batters” and veterans needed to relearn to “overcome this fault,” but said the worst were “college players” who Ewing dismissed as “notoriously weak batters.”

He said when he worked with players to break this habit, he had, “a box built the size of the regular batter’s box with the sides raised high enough to prevent the player form stepping outside.”

Ewing claimed the box was “an original plan” of his and recommended that “college coachers’ adopt its use.

“Just meet it my boy,” was Ewing’s advice. Too many players under his management made the “great mistake” to “swing fiercely.”

Ewing used a player more than a decade removed from professional baseball as the example of the perfect approach to hitting.

“A quick, snappy movement is often better than a swing. ‘Lip’ Pike, one of the best batters who ever lived, had this quick wrist movement and, although he apparently made little effort, he made some of th longest hits on record.

“By just meeting the ball, too, a player can master the art of placing the ball with much greater ease than by a terrific blind swing.”

He said pitchers “were always on to the free swingers,” and “put up a slow one (so the batter) cannot get a good smash at sphere.”

Ewing concluded with the promise, that a batter following those two pieces of advice, “will become a 300 percent batter before you know it.”

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