November 26, 2011

Average Player "On A 5-Day Week", Loafs Two Days

The good ball clubs like the Yankees, Red Sox ... win three or four games in a row and then they take it easy. "Oh well," they think to themselves, "we're doing all right. Why knock our brains out?" Then they coast through the next game or two. ...

[T]hey never seen able to keep up that sustained, determined drive to the finish. They must let up along the line. That's the only explanation possible.

The answer to it all is that the average player nowadays simply will not put out every day, seven days a week. He loafs two days, absolutely loafs. And for another day during the week he'll step it up to about three-quarter speed before he goes back into high.

It wasn't that way 20 years ago. And that's not a case of harping on the good old days. It simply is true that the players of that day - and I'm speaking particularly of the pennant contenders - hustled more. They gave it everything they had. ...

It was the same way with those ... teams I played on ... We never relaxed. We tried to murder the opposition every time we took the field. And if you did try to coast a little bit everybody was on your neck.
Jimmie Dykes, Philadelphia Athletics manager,
The Sporting News, August 13, 1952

Dykes said it wasn't necessary for baseball players to unionize because "they already are on a five-day week". However, he was willing to admit:
There still are some seven-day hustlers left in the game. ... But do you know a lot of the average players resent a hustler like [Nellie] Fox? They're constantly calling him a showboat. Some of my own players do. But they don't get away with it when I'm around. He just looks like he's showboating because of the contrast of his hustling as against the way some of the other players drag themselves around.
Dykes wasn't alone in his assessment of the non-hustling, modern player.

White Sox manager Paul Richards:
[Y]ou can't expect a fellow to go all out for 154 games. It's a tough grind. But I do agree that the game lack real competitors. I'll bet there aren't more than an average of five or six players per team who really feel bad - I mean they're sincerely hurt deep in their hearts - when they lose a game. ... It isn't hard to spot them in the clubhouse. The average fellow nowadays isn't affected one way or the other.
Yankees manager Casey Stengel:
I wouldn't accuse any of my boys of not hustling. But some of them act like they're tired. And for the life of me I can't figure out why they should be.
Washington Senators manager Bucky Harris:
[T]he fact [is] that none of us works as hard as our forefathers did. We just aren't inclined that way any more. And that goes whether it's baseball, bricklaying or banking.


allan said...

The very next week Richards was blasting pitchers about taking too long between pitches and delaying games.

Average game time:
1947: 2:06
1950: 2:21
1951: 2:23

Others claim that the longer games are because pitchers are afraid to throw the ball into a shrunken strike zone. And that all rule changed have benefited only the hitters for years. Enforcing a rule-book strike zone would speed up games, they say.

Yankees GM George Weiss says he has yet to receive a complaint from a fan about longer game times. He thinks fans feel like they are getting more for their money.

Jere said...

They just don't bank like they used to.

allan said...

And the bloggers of 30-40 years ago put everything they had into each post, not like the assholes these days who throw up a picture or a link and call it a day.