Phillies Del Unser Shares Pinch-Hit Wisdom

Posted January 14th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in 1979 Philadelphia Phillies, Del Unser
“Then look for it!”

Was Del Unser a born pinch-hitter?

I love Looking there at Unser’s top performances, I see that he spread his 87 career homers out evenly — 87 different games!

Phillies fans remember the key roles he played in the team’s 1980 World Series championship. However, Unser flashed the under-pressure tools in 1979, coming off the bench when it mattered most.

How did he manage three consecutive pinch-hit homers? Unser replied:

“All were at the end of games. You have to know what pitch a pitcher is willing to get beat with. Then look for it!”

A father who caught in the 1940s. A brother who played minor league ball. Unser lived the game.

“I grew up in baseball — it seemed natural to play; but we had very exciting moments and a lot of disappointments.

Family is my greatest achievement by far!”

Tomorrow: a Twins fan collects with his heart.

Senator Del Unser Talks Triples

Posted January 13th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Al Unser, Del Unser, Washington Senators
He still has
the sweeping “D”

Del Unser is one forgiving guy.

I regretted a question as soon as it dropped in the mailbox. At the time, I wished I was Fred Flintstone, able to stuff Barney Rubble in the box to retrieve the questionable question. (Remember that episode?!?)

Back to baseball: I learned that Washington Senator Del Unser led the American League with eight triples in 1969. However, that was the lowest-ever league best. His high was a record low. I asked why he thought there weren’t more three-base hits that year.

 I imagined a “What? Have you ever led the American League, or even your Little League, in triples?!?” Thankfully, Unser did reply, offering some thoughtful insights.

Regarding the dearth of three-baggers that season, Unser reminded:

“There was only one .300 hitter that year…the year of the pitcher.”

I asked about his dad, catcher Al Unser, who served with the Tigers and Reds in 1942-45.

“He never coached much — always on the road. He told me to always hustle if you put that uniform on.”

Tomorrow: Del Unser relives three consecutive pinch-hit home runs from 1979.