to Bill James
The Hall and the VetsBeer and Chicken? Don't Make Me Laugh
Joe Girardi and Baseball's Unbreakable Code
Mr Bryce Harper
Like everyone else in baseball, I've been following your career with great interest and admiration. You remind me a little of myself when I was your age. Of course, you've already got a head start on me; at 19, I was still in Triple-A, but like you, I anticipated an exciting future.
There is one big difference between us, however, and maybe I can help you break records that even I never broke. You're batting .280, which is excellent for anybody much older than you. But you're a lot better than that even. I helped everyone who asked me, including Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Gwynn, and my old team, the Washington Senators. I'd like to help you.
I'm talking about your strikeouts. You have almost as many strikeouts as hits. Did you know that when you're not strikiing out, you're a .364 hitter?
As I asked Frank Howard of the Senators, "How come you have 49 strikeouts and only 24 walks?"
I probably came to bat with two strikes more than anybody in history in relation to my plate appearances. That's because I waited as long as possible for a good ball to hit. How did I do it? Well, I had three secrets.
One, I told myself I am not going to strike out. Of course, I did sometimes, but not very often.
Two, I choked up an inch on my bat.
Three, I forgot about home runs and concentrated on hitting the ball through the middle.
One year I fanned only 27 times, but I still hit 36 homers and led the league in batting with .406.
I'll tell you the same thing I told Willie Mays when he was about it to pass me in lifetime homers: "Go get ''em, Willie."
Best of luck to you.
P.S. I've asked my biographer, John B Holway, to pass this note on to you.