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This was in Peter Gammons' blog.

Ted Williams used to play pepper almost every day, for what he said was the feel of manipulating the bat and getting the daily feel of exacting the barrel of the bat to the ball. Yet, for a number of reasons like complaints by ground crews that players dug up the grass with their games, pepper has virtually disappeared in the baseball culture; in fact, Walt Weiss says “most kids today wouldn’t know what we’re talking about when we mention it.”

I loved pepper. When I was travelling with the Red Sox for the Boston Globe in the seventies and eighties and would work out when the Sox took early hitting, Johnny Pesky would warm me up with 15-20 minutes of pepper.

Boston had two of the best fielding pitchers in the game, Tom Burgmeier and Bill Campbell, and they played what they called “Killer Pepper,” to improve fielding and practice getting into a fielding position after releasing their throws. My shins will hurt.

Somewhere over the years, grounds crew and ballpark administrators outlawed pepper games.

But Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has brought it back. For the last three weeks, he and his staff have taken Joc Pederson out at 2:45 every afternoon to play pepper, in Roberts words ‘to help Pederson regain the feel of manipulating the bathead.’ Pederson hit two home runs Tuesday night, but Roberts feels that more importantly for a young player who hit .178 in the second half last season, he has begun to use the whole field and develop as a pure hitter. His on base is up to .368. “He has shown the ability to manipulate the bat and take balls to all fields,” says Dodger Pres. Andrew Friedman, a devotee of pepper when he was playing at Tulane.

Trayce Thompson is now taking it up. And their housemate Corey Seager has requested to join.

Roberts and Weiss remember what pepper games meant when they were in high school and college. Weiss instituted pepper games in this year’s spring training, and yesterday said he may encourage players to do it in the regular season. And have pitchers have their own pepper games. “It’s good for  lot of things,” says Weiss, “including team-building.”

Views: 258

Comment by Michael Paes on May 20, 2016 at 4:43pm

It's great for both batters and fielders, and lots of fun.

Unfortunately, in general, players spend a lot less time doing drills like this.

Comment by Kip Gross on May 20, 2016 at 6:51pm
Since taking the ACA high school job 2 years ago we play pepper before EVERY game. The kids love it and it kills a little down time.
Comment by Kip Gross on May 20, 2016 at 7:01pm
Best baseball story I ever heard was just the other day by Curt Schilling. He said way back when he met Ted Williams at Spring training Ted Williams used to always follow a rookie around during camp to hopefully help him in any way he could. This particular day the rookie was hitting on the field and after he squared one up Mr Williams asked the rookie where the ball hit. The rookie said it hit in right center field. Mr Williams said no, where did the ball hit on the bat. The rookie replied saying on the barrel. Mr Williams asked where on the barrel. The rookie said he had no idea but it was definitely squared up. Mr Williams then told the rookie that he should know every time where the ball hits the bat. The rookie said he's never seen the ball come off the bat. Mr Williams then had the clubhouse guys rub up about a dozen balls with pine tar and then had them throw those balls to him so he could hit. The first 5 balls he hit Mr Williams not only squared each ball up, but he also told the rookie exactly where on the bat the ball hit.

2 things that I've always been told or thought. 1) it's impossible to see a baseball come off a bat if there is any decent velocity on the pitch. 2) Mr Williams has the highest recorded eye sight ever in the Air Force.

My mind has now changed about #1

Comment by Don Holmstrom on May 20, 2016 at 8:13pm
When I was about 12 years old in the Mid 50's, my parents took me to Fenway Park. Before the game Ted Williams had a line of about 10-12 guys in center field. They were standing shoulder to shoulder as Ted put on an amazing display of bat control has he hit each guy in order for a very long time playing pepper! Perhaps not surprising for the greatest hitter who ever lived, but still pretty imressive.
Comment by Bill Stanton on May 20, 2016 at 9:23pm

Wow!  I love that both of you guys shared Ted Williams stories. 


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