Tag Archives: Joseph B. Bowles

Frank Schulte, “How I Win”

4 Jan

Chicago Cubs outfielder Frank Schulte told journalist Joseph B. Bowles “How I Win,” as part of a syndicated series of articles in the spring of 1910. Schulte, who owned and raced standardbred horses, compared baseball to harness racing:

“First, you have to have the horse, and next the driver that can get the best out of him, and is the best judge of speed and pace.  I try to lay back and let them trot their heads off then go to the whip down the stretch and finish strong.  Of course, I get set down for a bad ride in one or two heats each season.

“I don’t get excited about these ball games.  If they beat me today, I know there’ll be another game tomorrow, and if a fellow can keep up the old confidence he’ll come along somewhere. Every horse is allowed one break in a heat, if it isn’t too long, and still can win. In a race a fellow oughtn’t go to the whip too soon, and it’s the same in baseball.”

Frank Schulte

Frank Schulte

Schulte addressed criticisms about his low-key demeanor on the field, which led some to question his dedication:

“Lots of people think I don’t like this game because I don’t get excited, but the fact is I want to win just as much as anyone does, only it affects me differently. I try to keep thinking and waiting until some of the excitable fellows swing wide from the rail, then I make a drive for the pole and come through on the inside…A team out there in the front running their heads off and working themselves out oughtn’t to discourage a team that is trailing along and doing pretty well.  I just say: ‘Old boy, we may never get up where you are, but you’ll come back to where we are,’ and keep plugging along.”

[…]

“The only way I know how to win a game is to get the hit when it is needed and to make the throw when you have to, wasting as little effort as possible and saving up strength for the time when it is necessary.  I try not to wear myself down early in the season, and to come strong toward the finish, when games count more, and to drive harder in games that are important than in others, and to ease  up and save myself after a game is safely won;  that is not to take the chances in easy games I would take in hard ones.”

Schulte said “a fellow ought to be able to take a philosophical view,” of the game:

“Keeping cool and thinking helps a lot…If I strike out three times, I come back to the bench and say: ‘Old boy, you keep pitching that way to me and I’ll claw one pretty soon.’  And then maybe I get hold of the ball good just when it helps the most, instead of getting discouraged or worried.  And when one of those fellows who want to run themselves to death and tire out before a game is over, and reduce to shadow before the season ends, yells: ‘I got it, I got it!’ I say, ‘Take it, I’ll trot back. Then when I have to be I’m fresh.”

Honus Wagner, “How I Win”

14 Dec

As part of a series of syndicated articles which asked some of baseball’s biggest stars to talk about “How I Win,” Joseph B. Bowles, a Chicago journalist, interviewed Honus Wagner before the 1910 season.

Honus Wagner

Honus Wagner

Wagner said it was simple:

“The secret of winning at baseball is to be found in the first order given to a new ballplayer.  it is ‘Keep your eye on the ball.’  I believe there is such a thing as the instinct for playing the game, but the greatest success comes from quick eyesight and from never taking the eye off the ball for a moment, whether batting fielding or running bases.”

But, he admitted he hadn’t given the subject much thought:

“I never have written anything about baseball, and never have thought much about why a team wins or why a player is a winning player (until now).  It is hard for a player to explain how he wins than it is to win.  I think, however after thinking it over, that the eyesight has more to do with it than anything else.  It is the quick eye and the steady one that makes a man a winner.”

Wagner said this was especially true at bat:

“The batter who faces a clever pitcher is certain to be outguessed by him the majority of times. There is no way to overcome the pitcher’s advantage except to have an eye quick enough to see either from the way the pitcher wings or from the way the ball comes, what is pitched, and then have an eye quick enough to enable him to follow the course of the ball.”

As for his approach at the plate:

“In batting a player should stand firmly on both feet.  It does not matter what his position at bat is, and he ought to take his most natural position, but he must stand on the balls of both feet to get the force of his body, arms and shoulders into the swing of the bat.  Every batter has a different style, but the good ones swing with a steady drive, backed up by the whole body.  I think there is a lot in the way a man holds his bat.  It is impossible to tell a young player how to hold his bat.  He must use his own motion and grip.  He can, however, learnt o shift his feet in hitting.”

On defense, Wagner said:

“(T)he quick eye saves many hits…Perhaps one in five ground balls hit to an infielder bound crooked or shoot in unexpected directions, and a quick eye and a good pair of hands will save the team.”

Wagner was also quick to credit his teammates:

“I think the big reason for Pittsburgh’s success has been first that we’ve played together a long time and know each other and second, and greater, that every man is there to win for the team, no matter what he may do himself.  Last year (George) Gibson caught the greatest ball of any catcher living, and he enabled all the rest of us to play team ball all the time because he was in the team work every minute.  Besides (Fred) Clarke is the greatest manager in the business and a great leader.  No one knows how good Clarke is until he has played with him.”

Bowles spoke with one other Pirate player for his series.   Second baseman John “Dots” Miller was the 22-year-old rookie second baseman who played alongside Wagner on the 1909 World Champions.  His answer to “How I Win:”

“I win by watching Wagner.

“When asked to tell how I won I was going to refuse because it does sound ‘swelled’ for a young fellow to tell such things or claim to win until I remembered how it was.

Dots Miller

Dots Miller

“I win because Honus Wagner taught me the game, showed me how to play it something after his own style, so in telling how I win I am only praising the teacher and the man I think is the greatest ballplayer of them all.”