Thursday, June 10, 2010
Classic card of the week
Bob Welch, 1990 Score
I would recognize those fingers anywhere. Those are Bob Welch’s fingers, aren’t they?
Indeed they are. And whether they’re strumming the guitar or are painfully stretched across a baseball, those famous fingers have provided inspiration for many. Let’s find out more:
Success Is A Split-Finger
Above our bed hangs a framed photo of Bob Welch’s fingers that contains this famous saying. I bought it at the Things Remembered in the Brunswick Square Mall in 1998. Every morning when I wake up I look at it and say to myself, “Mike, success is a split-finger.” And then I go out into the world and split-finger my way around. For me, split-finger is a metaphor for love, but I do, every chance I get, throw split-fingered fastballs at lunchtime to no one in particular. All of this has played a role in my immense success.
Bob always had an excellent high, rising fastball, a hard, overhand curve and a split-fingered fastball (see front of card).
I did! I usually look at the front first anyway, but thanks!
But in 1990, he concentrated more on his split-finger than he had in the past. “It has made a difference with him,” said A’s pitching coach Dave Duncan. “The pitch has kept those lefthanded hitters off him.”
“Get off of me, lefthanded hitter!” is what Bob Welch would often yell before throwing a split-fingered fastball to a lefthanded hitter. And with that, lefthanded hitters never bothered Bob Welch ever again.
Called the pitch of the 80’s, the split-fingered fastball has made winners out of such pitchers as Bruce Sutter, Jack Morris, Mike Scott, and Orel Hershiser, to name a few.
Congratulations to Bob Welch for deciding to start throwing “the pitch of the 80’s” in 1990. It threw everybody off, so to speak. Also, fyi: the pitch of the 90’s was the steroid fastball and the pitch of the 2000’s was the hanging forkball.
For the record, Roger Clemens also threw a split-fingered fastball, which Tim McCarver derived immense pleasure from calling “Mr. Splitty.” This would always make its way into McCarver’s “Keys to the Game,” which usually read something like:
Keys to the game:
Remember last Tuesday
Then McCarver would strain to explain all of this while I tried to watch baseball. Anyway, it is uncertain whether Bob Welch’s split-fingered fastball had a name, but may I submit: “Splits McGlits.” It rolls right off the tongue.
Did you know?
Bob Welch also had a face.