Mark Hornbaker, over at DC Baseball History, has a "this day in DC Baseball History" about how Roy Sievers bargained for one of the largest contracts ever won by a Nat...after leading the AL in homers and RBI's while also hitting about .301.http://dcbaseballhistory.com/2013/02/this-day-in-d-c-baseball-hisotry-sievers-turns-down-contract-offer/
The real treat is Hornbaker's link to SI's cover story, March, 1958, on Siever's batting tips:http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/edb/reader.html?magID=SI&issueDate=19580331&mode=reader_vault
Rare that a national sporting magazine noticed the Nats / Senators back then, but go to page 35 and read the article. Compare Sievers method to what is taught today, and notice his comment on the difference between minor league hitters and major leaguers. His detailed comments are fascinating, but here is his summary:
- "Know the pitchers". Ted Williams had taught Sievers to study pitchers all the time, looking for mannerisms that hint at what pitch will be thrown, what they like to throw, in what situations, and what they like to throw to you.
- "Know the strike-zone". Instinctively, so you know it before the umpire calls the pitch.
- "Go up there to hit, not to wait around. Swing at good pitches. Make the pitcher know you'll hit a good pitch"
- "Keep your eye on the ball at all time". In the pitcher's hand, when it leaves the pitcher's hand, right until your bat makes contact. (He says that Musial and Williams can recognize a pitch about eight feet after it leaves a pitcher's hand)
- "Don't try to swing too hard. Keep your swing smooth. Keep your body level. Don't lunge". Sievers tries to hit every pitch up the middle
Some great diagrams of Sievers' stance, how he changed it and why, how he grips the bat, how some pitchers pitch to him. Not just anybodies: he mentions Early Wynn, Billy Pierce, Whitey Ford, and Herb Score.
For amusement, read the advertisements and some of the other stories: those small European cars come to the US...Nathalie Wood suggests you buy a Smith Corona typewriter...