Thursday, January 11, 2007

Art And Science

If you don’t have a copy of Tony Gwynn’s book, The Art of Hitting, turn off your computer and get one. It is the perfect complement to Ted Williams’ The Science of Hitting. Gwynn wore out a copy of The Science as a young hitter learning his trade. Williams wrote the Foreword to The Art.

Anyone, who ever tried to hit a baseball probably owns both. My copy of The Science has underlined sections and notes in the margins. It is also covered with dirt, pine tar and tobacco juice from spending years in a bag with my catcher’s equipment.

Gwynn’s book came out in 1998, long after my high-school baseball career ended. I still read it cover-to-cover. It’s not often you get the chance to learn from a master craftsman.

One of the greatest conversations on the art and science of hitting included Gwynn and Williams (hosted by Bob Costas). They talked about the hit and run and driving in a run from third with less than two outs. Williams told Gwynn how pitchers tried to pitch him and how to handle the ball inside. It was incredible stuff.

A conversation I’d love to hear is between Gwynn and El Duque. The smartest hitter and the smartest pitcher. Bring plenty of tape.

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