Brush-backs go way back Print E-mail
Written by Fred Mitchell   
Friday, 03 June 2011

Brush-back pitches, beanings and other forms of pitcher intimidation have been a part of baseball for the past 100 years.

 

I chatted with Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams recently about that topic, in light of the recent beaning of current Cubs centerfielder Marlon Byrd, who was hit in the face with a pitch by the Boston Red Sox.

“I remember getting hit on the side of the head with a pitch in my first year of professional ball,” Williams recalled. “I was in the minor leagues and I was just a young kid. Back then, we didn’t have batting helmets or anything like that to protect us. I got right back in the lineup the next day and didn’t sit around to think about getting hit. That’s the best way to go about it.”

Williams also recalled seeing his former teammate, the late Ron Santo, get hit by a pitch on the mouth.

“Jack Fisher was the pitcher and he was always throwing inside to Ronnie,” said Williams. “The doctors had to sew up the inside of his mouth.”

In later years, former Cubs rightfielder Andre Dawson was purposely plunked in the face by Padres pitcher Eric Show. A fight ensued as Dawson’s teammate, Rick Sutcliffe, took off out of the dugout in pursuit of Show, who retreated to the visitors’ dugout at Wrigley Field to escape.

Williams said pitchers owned the inside portion of the plate back in his era. Today, he said, hitters are more surprised when pitchers try to brush them back.

Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson stubbornly planted his feet close to the plate and leaned over while wagging his bat menacingly.

“Pitchers tried to force him back off the plate, but Frank wouldn’t budge,” said Williams. “He was stubborn. Still is. He’d kick your ass even now.”

Brush-back pitches, beanings and other forms of pitcher intimidation have been a part of baseball for the past 100 years.

I chatted with Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams recently about that topic, in light of the recent beaning of current Cubs centerfielder Marlon Byrd, who was hit in the face with a pitch by the Boston Red Sox.

“I remember getting hit on the side of the head with a pitch in my first year of professional ball,” Williams recalled. “I was in the minor leagues and I was just a young kid. Back then, we didn’t have batting helmets or anything like that to protect us. I got right back in the lineup the next day and didn’t sit around to think about getting hit. That’s the best way to go about it.”

Williams also recalled seeing his former teammate, the late Ron Santo, get hit by a pitch on the mouth.

“Jack Fisher was the pitcher and he was always throwing inside to Ronnie,” said Williams. “The doctors had to sew up the inside of his mouth.”

In later years, former Cubs rightfielder Andre Dawson was purposely plunked in the face by Padres pitcher Eric Show. A fight ensued as Dawson’s teammate, Rick Sutcliffe, took off out of the dugout in pursuit of Show, who retreated to the visitors’ dugout at Wrigley Field to escape.

Williams said pitchers owned the inside portion of the plate back in his era. Today, he said, hitters are more surprised when pitchers try to brush them back.

Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson stubbornly planted his feet close to the plate and leaned over while wagging his bat menacingly.

“Pitchers tried to force him back off the plate, but Frank wouldn’t budge,” said Williams. “He was stubborn. Still is. He’d kick your ass even now.”

Brush-back pitches, beanings and other forms of pitcher intimidation have been a part of baseball for the past 100 years.

I chatted with Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams recently about that topic, in light of the recent beaning of current Cubs centerfielder Marlon Byrd, who was hit in the face with a pitch by the Boston Red Sox.

“I remember getting hit on the side of the head with a pitch in my first year of professional ball,” Williams recalled. “I was in the minor leagues and I was just a young kid. Back then, we didn’t have batting helmets or anything like that to protect us. I got right back in the lineup the next day and didn’t sit around to think about getting hit. That’s the best way to go about it.”

Williams also recalled seeing his former teammate, the late Ron Santo, get hit by a pitch on the mouth.

“Jack Fisher was the pitcher and he was always throwing inside to Ronnie,” said Williams. “The doctors had to sew up the inside of his mouth.”

In later years, former Cubs rightfielder Andre Dawson was purposely plunked in the face by Padres pitcher Eric Show. A fight ensued as Dawson’s teammate, Rick Sutcliffe, took off out of the dugout in pursuit of Show, who retreated to the visitors’ dugout at Wrigley Field to escape.

Williams said pitchers owned the inside portion of the plate back in his era. Today, he said, hitters are more surprised when pitchers try to brush them back.

Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson stubbornly planted his feet close to the plate and leaned over while wagging his bat menacingly.

“Pitchers tried to force him back off the plate, but Frank wouldn’t budge,” said Williams. “He was stubborn. Still is. He’d kick your ass even now.”

 





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