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View Full Version : Why aren't more pitching greats used as coaches?


soxinem1
01-04-2007, 12:08 PM
It seems to me that with the real drop off in MLB pitching talent, and numerous 'flash in the pan' talents not developing right, it would be smart to enlist the services of guys like Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Don Sutton, and a host of others in helping develop pitchers. But usually you only hear of these guys as broadcasters.

I remember when Fergie Jenkins was a pitching coach with the cubs and TEX, and he caught flack because he couldn't get his staffs, though usually low in talent, to be as productive as they wanted. But other than a couple fluke years, their staffs have been pretty crappy.

Carlton, though a total prick as a player, was well-known for his conditioning program and Seaver for his mechanics. Both of them had long, productive careers and didn't experience arm problems in their primes, even though they both had two of the best sliders ever thrown.

So even if not as a pitching coach, having guys like Carlton, Seaver, and Fergie, who all had excellent mechanics, as a meaningful instructor could help the sorry state of overall pitching in MLB, especially considering the investments team are making in their pitching staffs.

ewokpelts
01-04-2007, 12:35 PM
money and ego...

CashMan
01-04-2007, 12:38 PM
I would say a couple things:
1. LAck of interest.
2. If you have stuff you just throw it, someone like Maddux would be great, he has learned how to pitch rather than throw it.

skottyj242
01-04-2007, 12:51 PM
Those who do can and those who can't teach.

eriqjaffe
01-04-2007, 12:54 PM
Those who do can and those who can't teach.Yep. By the same token, those who do can't necessarily teach.

Tom Seaver may have the best mechanics in the universe, but that doesn't mean he can help anybody else get any better.

brewcrew/chisox
01-04-2007, 01:08 PM
Yeah, as a teacher myself, I'd have to say that a good teacher needs not only the knowledge of a particular subject, but also the ability to motivate, inspire, and communicate. Some of those guys on your list had trouble communicating with their own teammates, much less some kid straight out of Charlotte.

downstairs
01-04-2007, 01:20 PM
Yeah, as a teacher myself, I'd have to say that a good teacher needs not only the knowledge of a particular subject, but also the ability to motivate, inspire, and communicate. Some of those guys on your list had trouble communicating with their own teammates, much less some kid straight out of Charlotte.

Good point. I imagine (just guessing) that most good/great pitchers are selfish. They are the center of the game, wins and losses are put on their shoulders, etc.

Kinda like quarterbacks- how many of them make good coaches in the NFL?

ondafarm
01-04-2007, 10:28 PM
Well, Daver will probably support me on this but the best pitching coaches tend to be former catchers. Also (losing Daver here) not star catchers but guys who barely hung on are the best pitching coaches and they don't make bad managers either. Middle infielders make decent managers too.

Why?

Because catchers are fully used to pitchers' egos and getting the best out of them. They also understand the physical aspects of pitching. I was always known as a guy who would teach both changeups and when to use them. Catchers understand calling a game and how pitching beats hitting. Also working with a variety of pitchers gives more knowledge of pitchers than a lot of pitchers, who know one guy really well.

As managers, catchers understand hitting and defense as well.

In general, players who were great stars have physical gifts that most guys just don't have. This makes it hard for them to relate to marginal players.

Domeshot17
01-04-2007, 10:49 PM
Well, Daver will probably support me on this but the best pitching coaches tend to be former catchers. Also (losing Daver here) not star catchers but guys who barely hung on are the best pitching coaches and they don't make bad managers either. Middle infielders make decent managers too.

Why?

Because catchers are fully used to pitchers' egos and getting the best out of them. They also understand the physical aspects of pitching. I was always known as a guy who would teach both changeups and when to use them. Catchers understand calling a game and how pitching beats hitting. Also working with a variety of pitchers gives more knowledge of pitchers than a lot of pitchers, who know one guy really well.

As managers, catchers understand hitting and defense as well.

In general, players who were great stars have physical gifts that most guys just don't have. This makes it hard for them to relate to marginal players.

This is very much the case. Randy Johnson will never be able to teach anyone his devastating slider because they don't have the stuff he had. My first year of college was kind of a wake up call. I spent the majority of my freshman fall and winter catching the bullpen. I had caught in high school also, and the one thing you are taught when warming guys up is look for their mechanical flaws. If you have a pitcher who isnt following through in a game, make sure the next time he warms up he is, bending the back, etc. After I tore my ACL in the summer I was asked to be the pitching coach for the traveling team I was on. Up until that point I had never pitched. But I was taught to find the flaws in guys, and help them find a way to improve it. (Ironically I went on to become a closer for my college after my knee healed, never had a ton of "stuff" but threw hard enough and had good enough mechanics to get the job done).

The truth is, no one knows pitching better then a catcher. Pitchers are taught not to think, but just pitch. If they do think, think along with the catcher. The pitcher is kind of the like the bride at a wedding dancing with the groom (who is like the catcher). Everyone is looking at bride, but the groom is one doing all the leading. The same is true with pitching. When a guy throws a great pitch to get out of the inning, everyone hypes him, but very rarely does someone go "that was a great call by the catcher"

Now add in the EGO of pro players and it all makes sense. I agree, in theory, Kevin Brown would make a better pitching coach then say Chris Widger, however, that probably just isn't the case.

Brian26
01-04-2007, 11:28 PM
it would be smart to enlist the services of guys like Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Don Sutton, and a host of others in helping develop pitchers.

The answer is really quite simple.

The best players usually don't make the best coaches. Just because one is gifted enough to play the game at a higher level, it doesn't make them gifted enough with the patience, desire, and communication skills to be a great teacher.

Brian26
01-04-2007, 11:30 PM
Some of those guys on your list had trouble communicating with their own teammates, much less some kid straight out of Charlotte.

Steve Carlton is a case study on that subject.

To be fair to Sutton and Seaver - I've always enjoyed Sutton's call of Braves games on TBS, and Seaver seems like one of the classiest guys you'd ever want to meet.

ondafarm
01-05-2007, 12:00 AM
Have to say, Tom Seaver is one of the classiest, most intelligent guys I have ever heard of playing baseball. If you've read any of his books you know he is also a great student of the game.

fquaye149
01-05-2007, 02:13 AM
Those who do can and those who can't teach.

I think you might want to review that axiom...i'm not sure you have it exactly








meanwhile: those who can't teach, teach gym