Davey Johnson today was talking about the importance of velocity compared to location, or, in his parlance, throwing vs. pitching. Johnson, as he is wont to do, told a pretty cool story. I’ll yield to him:
“I faced a very old pitcher, a very talented pitcher in Satchel Paige,” Johnson said. “He pitched for Kansas City when I was a youngster. Me being inquisitive, I went up to him.
I said, ‘Satch, what’s your best pitch? You throw hard and you have all these breaking balls. What’s your best pitch?’ He said, ‘It’s my B pitch.’ I said, ‘B pitch? What in the heck is a B pitch’ He said, ‘B where I want it to be.’ ”
The “faced” part of that story is probably apocryphal. In 1965, Satchel Paige appeared in one game as a 58-year-old for the Kansas City, pitching against the Boston Red Sox. Johnson was a 22-year-old rookie who appeared in 20 games for the Baltimore Orioles. It stands to reason Johnson faced him in spring training or something, or maybe Johnson just talked to him one day when the Royals and Orioles played each other. Either way, all kinds of awesome in that story.