The following quotations can be heard in every baseball park at any time.
These are at the heart of baseball philosophy.
- Prevent the big inning.
- “If you hold them scoreless, I promise you a tie” said the offensive coach to the defensive coach!
- We cannot lose if we do not let them score.
- In 65% of games, more runs are scored by the winning team in one inning than the losing team scores in the entire game.
- Pitching is 75% of the game.
- Pitching is 80% of the game.
- Pitching is 90% of the game.
- “Who is the toughest hitter you ever faced?” Anyone with a bat!
- The pitcher is the fifth infielder and protects the center of the diamond.
- The pitcher, when he completes his pitch to home plate, is only 54 feet from the hitter. He better have his glove ready.
- You must be good defensively up the middle.
- All championship teams have a great defensive catcher.
- More errors are made by third basemen than any other position.
- The first baseman makes the rest of the infielders look good.
- That outfield can really go get them.
- Every one on every play is in the right position.
- They never beat themselves.
- Their pre-game infield practice is really impressive.
- They really play with a great deal of pride.
- Did you see that team hustle on and off the field?
- Keep the runner off first base.
- Keep the runner off third base.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RUNNERS AT THIRD BASE
To elaborate on the last quotation, it is one of the fundamental ideas in baseball philosophy. The importance of runners on third base is often overlooked by coaches. Some runners cause havoc when they reach third; they dance off the base, threaten to steal or to pull a suicide squeeze, and generally cause the opponent to lose hair and sleep. However, every runner on third base is far more likely to score than a runner on second base. Keeping runners off third base must be an important key to the team’s defensive philosophy(and a fundamental part of the team’s offensive philosophy should be to get runners to third base).
To illustrate the importance of keeping runners off third, here is a list of 24 ways in which a runner can score from third base but not from second base. If there are more, please write and inform me.
A runner can score from third base but not second base on…
- A balk.
- A catcher’s interference.
- A wild pitch.
- A passed ball.
- A hard hit ground ball through the infield and directly in front of an outfielder.
- An error by an infielder which eludes him by more than ten feet.
- A short pop-up just beyond the infield that is dropped by a fielder.
- A short line drive or a bloop single just over the infield.
- A sacrifice fly.
- A fly ball dropped by an outfielder.
- A fair pop-up dropped by an infielder with two outs.
- A walk or a hit batter with the bases full.
- On a wild throw by the catcher back to the pitcher.
- A ground ball, early in the game with runners on first and third, no outs, and the defense decides to go for the double play. (Note: So you think this play is inconsequential? This play occurred in the third inning of a scoreless game during the 1959 World Series, allowing the Chicago White Sox to score the first run of the game against Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The White Sox won the game by the score of 1 to 0.)
- A wild throw by the pitcher attempting to pick the runner off third base.
- A wild throw by the pitcher attempting to pick a runner off first base.
- A wild throw by the catcher attempting to pick the runner off third base.
- A wild throw by the catcher attempting to throw out a runner trying to steal second base.
- A dropped throw from the catcher on an attempted steal of second base.
- With runners on first and third, less than two outs, the runner on first heads for second base; the catcher throws to the cutoff man who makes a wild throw back to the catcher.
- A suicide squeeze bunt.
- A steal of home.
- A wild throw by an infielder attempting to throw the batter out at first base.
- An interference by an infielder during a rundown play on the runner at third. (Note: Although the runner may be heading back toward third base when interference occurs, he is nevertheless permitted to score because an obstructed runner is awarded at least one base beyond the base he last legally touched.)
Gordie Gillespie is college baseball’s all time winningest coach and was the first to achieve the 1,500-win milestone in a career. Through 2005, he has compiled a 1,677-859 record in his storied baseball career while 58 of his players have signed professional contracts.After 10 years (1996-2005) at Ripon College in Wisconsin, Gordie will return to his roots in Joilet, IL to coach the University of St. Francis for the 2006 season. Gordie was the head baseball coach at St. Francis from 1977-1995, and it was at St. Francis where he became college baseball’s all-time win leader in 1993 with his 1,333rd victory. That season ended with St. Francis’ only national sports title. Gordie also won three straight NAIA World Series titles (1974-76) at Lewis College, giving him a total of four NAIA National Championships in 16 trips to the NAIA World Series.
One of the most renowned and well-respected coaches of all-time, Gillespie has received numerous honors during his coaching career, including induction into 15 different Hall-of-Fames. He was named NAIA “Coach of the Century” in 1998 by Collegiate Baseball Magazine.
Gillespie attended DePaul University and played basketball under Ray Meyer. Gordie turned down a contract with the NBA’s Rochester Royals to start his career in coaching, and 53 seasons in the dugout later Gillespie is still going strong.