Reggie Jackson and Bob Gibson talk baseball in book 'Sixty Feet, and Six Inches'

Friends, I'm reading a book that's framed in such a unique way that when I put it down, I feel that I must be missing something.

You see, right off the bat, it's two guys talking sports, more directly, baseball. And, you're eavesdropping on their conversation.

These two guys know what they're talking about, so the urge to pay attention and not miss a word is with you.

Even a heady baseball fan will learn something from "Sixty Feet, Six Inches."

I found it great and greater still since I've known the two guys who wrote it, and never before did they enlighten me so much.

This book is an entertaining "conversation" between Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson, both Hall of Famers, and they tell you about how the game is really played. All the bits and pieces of the game known only by those who spent a good part of their lives in baseball are here for you to peruse . . . well, to learn, really.

Here's Gibson talking: "Juan Marichal was the best pitcher in our era. He didn't have the best stuff, but he was the best pitcher. He could put the ball where he wanted."

Reggie: "Denny McLain always gave you a ball to hit. I think he liked home runs as much as the hitter did. He didn't mind giving them up as long as he won the game."

Gibson: "Throwing the ball 95 miles an hour is a gift. You can't teach anybody that."

On getting into shape:

Reggie: "I always worked out - it was a way of life for me, and still is. My biceps were 17 inches, the same as Sonny Liston's. My legs gave me a great power base - you generate power from the ground up - but they were so tight that they gave me a lot of hamstring trouble. Make sure you stretch."

Gibson: "I never do any weight training, but I got plenty of work on my legs from pushing off the mound the way I did.

"The inside of my forearm was always sore. One time it got so hard that I went to see the doctor. He tried to give me a shot to loosen it up and broke the needle."

On umpires:

Reggie: "The hitter has to learn the umpires just as he has to learn the pitchers. Every ump has a strike zone - a high one or low."

Gibson: "Al Barlick was very consistent, but he had a small plate. He never gave me a pitch."

Reggie on the issue of race and relationships:

"In my era, particularly early on, camaraderie and relationships weren't even thought of.

"Had it not been for Joe Rudi, Dave Duncan, Rollie Fingers and others (in Oakland), I would have really struggled socially.

"Our manager, John McNamara, cared about my feelings. If I couldn't stay in a hotel, he wouldn't let the team stay there.

Posted by imran Tuesday, October 6, 2009


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