Tormenting Senators Manager Ted Williams

(Courtesy Dave Baldwin, http://www.snakejazz.com/)

Dave Baldwin only looked like a typical baseball player.

In his delightful memoir Snake Jazz, he includes the confessional chapter “Tormenting Ted.” When Ted Williams took over the Senators in 1969, he claimed that his clueless pitchers couldn’t even explain why a curveball curves.

The hurler from the University of Arizona responded with a short speech on the science behind an off-speed pitch. Upon realizing that this wasn’t a classroom discussion but a rhetorical challenge, Baldwin braced himself for Williams to come unglued. Instead, he won the skipper’s grudging admiration.

Knowing this, I asked Baldwin how he felt about the diverse education of his teammates.Baldwin’s first full year in Washington was highlighted by 58 appearances. He geared up  for a 162-game schedule, however.

“About the 1967 Washington bullpen, we had five “go to” guys — Darold Knowles, Casey Cox, Dick Lines, Bob Humphreys and me (a photo of us is in the Photo Gallery at www.snakejazz.com). I was up and throwing nearly every game whether I appeared or not. But then, living in Tucson, I had thrown nearly every day since I was a kid.”

“Regarding teammates with an academic background, I found other college-educated players on all of the teams I played on. Relating to teammates, educated or not was never a problem for me — we all had one interest in common — baseball — and that was enough.”

Pitcher Dave Baldwin’s 20-Inning ‘Save’ in 1967

From the pitcher’s own website:
“Dave’s now famous
Howdy Doody impression.”

Dave Baldwin proves that there’s life beyond baseball. Since retiring as a pitcher, he’s become a poet, academic (Dr. Baldwin holds a Ph.D in genetics), artist and author.

His memoir Snake Jazz (baseball lingo for a certain pitch) is something all fans should savor. How does it FEEL to be a major leaguer? Baldwin paints a complete picture. Every baseball bookshelf deserves Snake Jazz.

Speaking of painting, you can see his art on his website, too. You can order autographed copies of the book directly from Baldwin.

I asked Baldwin about his first victory in the bigs, a 20-inning affair in Minnesota that took just under six hours. It was a win, not a save. The save applied, as in “save face.” Baldwin shared:

“In that 20-inning game in Minnesota, I was trying to redeem myself after losing the previous game on a very stupid pitch. The longer an extra-inning game lasts, the more determined both teams become to win it.

Ken McMullen hit a home run to win the game, which put us over .500. I don’t remember how many fans were there at the end of the game.”

Tomorrow: Baldwin shares more memories of the 1967 Washington Senators.

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