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April 23rd, 2010

Baseball, Gamesmanship, and Plunking


Bob Gibson was a badass!

“The first person that I ever heard refer to the mound as his office was Gibson,”[Tim] McCarver said, referring to his former teammate, Hall of Famer Bob Gibson. “And (Steve) Carlton picked that up.

“In fact, when Pete Rose would make an out — particularly on a flyball unless it was the third out of an an inning — he would intentionally run over the back of the mound on his way back to the dugout if the dugout was on the third-base side. He would intimidate rookie pitchers in that regard.

“He tried that once with Gibson in the mid-60s and Gibson threw at him the next time up. Pete spat at him. And the next one was a lot closer. Pete didn’t spit the second time.”


Mike Axissa thinks it’s much ado about nothing.

To be quite frank, this whole mound issue is just a bit of nonsense. You’re talking about an old school, unwritten rule that was enforced with a pitch to the ribs a lifetime ago.

Maybe back to the era when pitchers were badasses, before the owners lowered the mound and the millionaire athletes in body armor crowded the inside? More power to Dallas Braden for staking his territory, but the proper old-school baseball way is to seethe on it and let it fester silently … and then plunk him in the ribs.


Dock Ellis told Donald Hall how he established his reputation:

Cepeda is the biggest … He was trying to take advantage of me because I was a rookie. He was trying to scare me. I let him know, then, that I was not the type of dude to fuck around with. It was a big thing, because who would be hitting Cepeda? If you went for the biggest guy, it meant you would go for anybody. You weren’t scared of anybody.

Must have been versus Atlanta, on August 2, 1970, since that’s the only time Dock Ellis hit Cepeda. Dock was by no means a rookie, and he also hit Rico Carty in that game.


Watch the clip. Alex Rodriguez appears to have crossed directly over the rubber on the mound. Pitchers are a superstitious lot, and the route appears to have been intentional, to get in the head of Braden we would guess. A-Rod played it off coyly after the game, but he is not so naive. His mindgame had the exact opposite effect as apparently intended – given the outcome of the ballgame. There is, however, more than one game in a season …

[youtube Ty54Rjrb3QI]

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