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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Love and Hate

Hello Hitters,

A while back I asked The Hitman who he loved to face and who he hated seeing on the mound. Here are Mike's answers. Enjoy

In baseball there is always one pitcher you love to face, and then there are one or two pitchers you hate to face.

When I was in the Big Leagues, the pitcher I loved to face was a guy named Scott Sanderson. He pitched for the Montreal Expos. He was a tall lanky pitcher with an over the top, explosive arm.

He had a big overhand curve ball and a straight change up. But for some reason I could really see the ball well off of him.

I got a surprise start in 1980 against the Expos and Scott Sanderson was on the mound that day. I didn't really play that much at that stage of my Major League career so I was somewhat nervous. It was a cold rainy day in Montreal and most of the veterans, had the day off. I was hitting 5th and playing left field.

I ended up going 4 for 5 with 4 RBI's and 1 towering home run.From that day on, every time I faced Scott Sanderson I seemed to get 2 or 3 hits and a bunch of RBI's. It was just one of those things in baseball. He was a good pitcher, but I just saw the ball better off of him then I did against other pitchers.

Now, on the other hand, the pitcher I hated to face was Hall of Fame pitcher, Phil Niekro. Phil didn't throw more than 84-86 miles per hour, if that but he gave me fits.

His knuckle ball jumped around like a drunk'en butterfly. He threw it soft, and he could throw it hard. All I know is, it was very tough for me to hit. After facing him it seemed like I was in a minnie slump or (dry period) for about a week. I hated facing Mr. Niekro.

My wife Brenda hated seeing me face him too. When we played the Atlanta Braves she would say jokingly, Phil Niekro is pitching this series you better get ready! I would just shrug my shoulders and say, I am going to get him this time, yeah right, I never did.

I am sure many other batters struggled against him too. That is why he enshrined in Baseball's Hall of Fame.

That's the way it goes in this game. Some guys you love to face, others you hate. No matter what you do you just can't hit them. I would just spread out at the plate and think "hard contact" and hope for the best!

Keep posting those comments and asking your questions!

Stay Focused
Mike "The Hitman" Easler

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