This was one Hall of Famer difficult one other Hall of Famer to pitch to a third Hall of Famer — and Seaver didn’t again down. He ran the depend full to Winfield, then fanned him on a changeup and went on to finish the sport.
“He was the most intelligent pitcher we’ve ever been around,” La Russa mentioned. “He was a great competitor and had really good stuff, but as he got older, he was still great because he knew how to pitch. Like Greg Maddux, in a way — they would look at a hitter, know what the hitter was thinking and pitch away from it. He was the perfect pro.”
In these later years, particularly, Seaver had an intuitive understanding of tips on how to work round his limitations. Early within the 1985 season, after beating the Tigers in Detroit, Seaver seen the house plate umpire, Jim Evans, on the resort bar. He tapped Evans on the shoulder, thanked him for a job properly executed, however informed him he had missed one pitch: a 1-1 fastball to Kirk Gibson within the center innings. Evans was puzzled; he had referred to as the pitch a strike.
“I don’t want you to call that pitch a strike,” Seaver mentioned, as Evans recalled a few years in the past. “That was a mistake. I got it up too high, like a ball or two above the waist, and I don’t want any batter to get used to swinging at that pitch. My fastball is still my best pitch, my bread-and-butter, but if I keep throwing that one up there, they’re going to kill me.”
Seaver would share such insights with teammates, with situations. (“You had to earn his respect,” La Russa mentioned. “He didn’t give it up carelessly.”) With the Reds, he noticed one thing in Mario Soto, a younger pitcher from the Dominican Republic who lacked polish however yearned to be nice. Every morning at spring coaching, Soto would present up at 6 a.m., training his changeup alone towards a concrete wall within the outfield.
“The only guy that discovered me and found out what I was doing was Tom Seaver,” Soto mentioned a few years in the past. “He was my teacher.”
Soto would sit beside Seaver throughout video games, and at one level, Seaver requested him a query that appeared elementary: “Do you try to throw a strike with every pitch?”