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Just My Sentiments

Posted by: BHL (Knight1285@aol.com) on Mon Mar 21 23:52:52 2005

Hi Tony:

I must concur with you that certain athletes are blessed with more naturally ability than others. Following this logic, some individuals tend to explain all high caliber players by their genetic predisposition. Yet, this categorical structure fails to account for the Bretts, Yastremskis or Otts in the baseball world. Let's analyze each one to get a holistic picture.

In "Born to Hit"--a biography of George Brett--it is brought to the reader's attention that scouts rated Brett negatively in many categories, including hitting. After gaining only eight hits in his first 40 at-bats 1973--a .125 average, he struggled in his second season to maintain a .206 average, until Charley Lau, the Royal's batting instructor at the time, taught him how to evaluate his swing.
Consequently, Brett finished that season with a .282 season, and hit .300 consistently, peaking at a .390 average in 1980. When his career ended, Brett's .300+ lifetime average allowed him to attain immortality.

Another exception to genetics rule is Carl Yaztremski, who according to "The Short Season," put forth every effort possible to learn and understand the fundamentals of a solid swing. The book notes that he spent countless hours practicing "one-handed flip drills" with Lau advocate Walt Hriniak. I believe that even Durwood Merill, a former American League umpire, commends Yaztremski for working tirelessly to counteract his lack of natural talent. His work also allowed him to be immortalized.

Lastly, Mel Ott used a style allowing him to amass 511 home runs lifetime, despite his small stature. More precisely, Ott used Power Field Orientation (see BHL's Mar. 2004 "Power Field Orientation" posts for a precise definition on this philosophy) to take advantage of the short right field fence in the Polo Grounds. Ott's reason for doing so, in my opinion, was to hit to the shortest part of the field where the ball can be hit with the most authority, and have the best chance of carrying over the fence, even if the ball is struck improperly. In other words, Ott used tactics to overcome his size deficit, and become a Hall of Famer.

Seen in this light, one is not necessarily "doomed" just because one does not possess genetic advantages. For sure, Brett, Yaztremski, and Ott had very few. On the other hand, instead of complaining about what they "lacked," this respective trio used perseverence, hard work, and strategy to stealth their way into the Hall of Fame. The way I see it, if these individuals can accomplish what they did, the is certainly hope for other players lacking genetic traits to rise to greatness.

Just My Sentiments,


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