Pete Rose On Hitting: You should be hitting like Pete Rose. Scratch that.
Let me be more specific.
You should be competing in the box, swinging with intent to do damage while focusing on spraying the entire field with hard-line drives and protecting the plate with two strikes, grinding out each at-bat like a bulldog, and doing whatever it takes to get on base, like Pete Rose.
Say what you want about Charlie Hustle. He swung the bat like a troll and stood in the batter’s box like a tree stump…but the dude could hit.
He had 17 seasons with 600+ at-bats, and over a dozen seasons with 200+ hits. There is so much to learn from these two specific stats, and it starts with one word.
Let me explain.
Pete Rose On Hitting Video
Mechanics are overrated but fundamentals and the approach is king.
There’s a difference between swinging and hitting.
So much emphasis is put on proper mechanics and what a good swing looks like - but sometimes we spend so much focus on the looks and mechanics that as hitters, we lose our feel for the bat.
In other words, we lose our instincts.
At the end of the day, the point of hitting is to make the sweet spot of the barrel hit a round ball when it gets in the strike zone.
Pete Rose did not have perfect mechanics.
But he had immense levels of self-belief.
He once said…
“If you want to be a catcher, watch Johnny Bench. If you want to hit for power, watch Mike Schmidt. If you just want to be a pure hitter, watch me."
I would go as far as to say he didn’t look great in the batter’s box….
He didn’t try to achieve perfect mechanics.
But he knew and understood the fundamentals.
He had a plan, and ultimately his success came down to this. The dude was able to execute quality swings on quality pitches day in and day out - clocking into work with a blue-collar mentality.
What I’m talking about is Mental Toughness.
Pete Rose & Mental Toughness
He Was Tough as nails, a Grinder, Competitor, and Bulldog.
Here’s the reality. Playing baseball is a grind. It’s full of failure, pain, injury, setbacks, and heartbreaks, but underneath it all, there's joy. Because baseball is a game and it's meant to be played.
When we can compete our tail off, and make our teammates better while playing the game with intent…
Good things happen.
We get the good hop. The good pitches to hit. The calls go our way.
Call it Karma, a gift from the baseball gods, or just plain mojo-momentum. If you wanna excel at a high level, you gotta be tough. Then, you have to know your role, limits, and constraints.
Pete Rose wasn’t trying to hit 40 bombs a year. The most he ever had was 16.
If you wanna be a great hitter, you have to learn how to drive the ball with conviction consistently without getting cheated by the fastball.
Even big league power guys became great hitters first, building a foundation that allows them to develop into power hitters.
remember: at the highest level of the game, the players in the lineup are they're not there just because of their physical makeup and god-given ability.
Rather it's because of their ability to perform and execute consistently. Roses' strength showed up most in being the same guy every day.
Wanna be great? Be good consistently.
Perform and execute.
Pete Rose on Tipping Pitches
Ever wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall while listening to a conversation with Pete Rose on tipping pitches?
You're in luck.
A big part of our pitch recognition training here at Applied Vision Baseball relates to developing instincts and picking up a pitcher's tendencies on the mound.
The more effective you are at picking up patterns the more accurate you'll be with anticipating what the pitcher will do next.
Steve Springer On Tipping Pitches
Batting practice is checkers...
Stepping in the box when the pitcher can consistently locate a 90+ mph fastball on both sides of the plate while following up with a nice breaking ball, is chess.
Below is a short discussion with Pete Rose on pitch recognition and how he approached pitchers that tipped their pitches throughout his career.
Enter Pete Rose.
Pete Rose On "See Ball, Hit Ball"
Mr. Rose, you often talked about your approach to hitting and overall hitting philosophy being "see ball", "hit ball". Now, we all know pitchers are creatures of habit. How often did you anticipate what the pitcher was throwing based on whether he was tipping pitches?
I only noticed when a pitcher was tipping his pitches in a game on time. One guy. One specific pitcher and I told him about it because I liked him.
He pitched for San Diego, and it was one of those deals where whenever he was in the stretch and he was going to throw a fastball, he'd have his glove at his chest.
When he was going to throw a curveball he'd have his glove set at his waist. This was in his stretch of course. It got to the point that it was so obvious.
I really liked him. He was a good guy. And one time at the end of the season I said, "John," I said, "I just want to tell you something...
"I said, "You look at the film. Whenever you throw a fastball, and it's … not the windup, the stretch, you stop here at your chest. And on a curveball, you stop here at your waist."
And he thanked me later on. He called me and said, "You're absolutely right. Thank you."
Some say you were one of the best hitters at recognizing a pitcher's tendencies. How often did you know notice pitchers tipping pitches?
I didn't want to know what pitch was coming to be honest with you...
I never wanted to know. If my teammate was on second, I didn't want him telling me what's coming. I didn't want to know because I wanted to make adjustments during the pitch...but then again, I had big advantage. I was a switch hitter.
So I didn't have any curveballs starting down at my chin and ending up on the outside part of the plate.
Because if you're batting right-handed and you got a right-hander pitching, and your teammate tells you it's a curveball from second base, and the guy throws you an up and in fastball, you just got hit in the jaw....because he might be wrong.
Pete Rose On Guess Hitting
Now, you tell Johnny Bench what was coming, he'd hit that damn thing out of Yellowstone Park. If he knew what was coming, there ain't a ballpark could hold Johnny. He liked knowing what pitch was coming down the shoot.
I didn't. He tried to figure out things like that.
See, some guys are what we call guest hitters. And it's okay to guess. But my philosophy on hitting was I always looked for the pitcher's hardest pitch.
And 99 out of 100 guys, that's a fastball. The only guy who had a harder pitch than a fastball that I ever faced was Gaylord Perry's spitball. It just exploded. So I would watch for Gaylord Perry's spitball.
He knew he threw it. We knew he threw it.
I don't know if the catcher knew it, but that's fine. I mean he was a competitor. But Johnny, if he knew a pitch was coming, you had no chance.
But some guys are guess hitters, some guys guess areas as in zones and inside or outside.
What I mean by that, you might look for a slider low and away, and you go out and hit it out of the ballpark. You might look for a fastball down and in.
But if you guess wrong, guess hitters are going to do a couple of things. They're going to strike out a lot because they guess wrong, and they're going to get hit a lot because they guess wrong.
Hitters like Billy Hamilton, line drive and gap to gap type hitters should look for fastballs.
You can adjust to everything else.
What Does Tipping Pitches Mean?
At the 2019 World Series, fervor over tipping pitches was high. Given all the noise over sign-stealing the year before, it’s not surprising.
What exactly is tipping pitches and why has it been making MLB organizations so jumpy as of late? Let’s take a look at what it is, what it means, and how, as a youth pitcher, you can avoid it.
What is a Tipped Pitch?
When a pitcher “tips” it means there’s some feature about his windup that indicates which pitch he’s about to throw. It could be holding his glove slightly higher, leaning his body more to one side than the other, or sticking his index finger outside his glove, a physical habit that hitters can watch for and identify as a sign for which pitch is coming their way.
It’s similar to a “tell” in poker.
Watching for Tipped Pitches is Legal
Unlike sign stealing, examining pitchers’ windups for tips is completely legal. With the use of digital technology in the dugout and on the field, though, some complain that teams enter into a gray area concerning pitch tipping.
It’s not uncommon for teams to film their own pitchers, scrutinizing the footage very carefully afterward to look for tips. They use this video to help pitchers correct any tells in their windup.
But when teams film opposing pitchers to watch for tipped pitches, questions are raised. Technically the practice is legal, just as watching pitchers closely with the naked eye is legal.
Teams simply have to ask themselves how far they’re willing to go in their pitch recon. For now, each organization can adhere to their own sense of ethics when it comes to watching for pitch tipping, since it’s still legal.
How to Avoid Tipping Pitches
As a pitcher, you could easily become paranoid that some inadvertent action you’re doing tips off the batter to your next pitch. Some pitchers have adapted by hiding their grip when delivering the ball.
Others turn their bodies in such a way that their arm is hidden from the batter’s sight until the last minute. One famous pitcher, Dennis Eckersley, took an opposite approach by clearly showing his grip on the ball to hitters, attempting to psych them out.
Playing as a youth pitcher, you likely won’t have to worry about other teams filming you – nor should you worry about your game being broadcast on live TV. But that doesn’t mean opposing teams’ players and coaches aren’t watching. To study your potential pitching tips, have your coaches watch your windup closely, looking for your tells. You could also have a coach or parent film you during pitching practice or a game, so you can review the footage for yourself.
If you or someone else notices you have a tell, work on fixing it in practice. Filming yourself comes in handy here. You can compare before and after footage to see if you’ve truly corrected your pitch tipping or not.
Final Thoughts on Tipping Pitches
A tipped pitch is just a bad habit, but as hitters, if we're doing our job of studying pitchers, there's always something that we can find about their approach on the mound that can and will give us an edge when we step in the batter's box.
Study the pitcher. They're the test.
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