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The Question: Should pitchers throw the "duster" against a dangerous batter in a tight game?

Sept. 20, 1954
Sept. 20, 1954

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Sept. 20, 1954

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The Question: Should pitchers throw the "duster" against a dangerous batter in a tight game?

The Answers:

This is an article from the Sept. 20, 1954 issue

PEE WEE REESE
SHORTSTOP
DODGERS

"It's been that way since baseball started. I don't like it. But it's going to be that way as long as baseball is played. I suppose the duster is okay if the pitcher can control it. But can he? Even so, a pitcher doesn't have a lot of guts if he throws at a man's head."

EDDIE LOPAT
PITCHER
YANKEES

"No. But the two hardest balls to hit are the high, inside pitch and the low, outside ball. When a batter has a weakness for the high, inside pitch, I throw it. But there's no guarantee that I can control it fully. A duster is different. It's thrown to hit or knock a batter down."

DUKE SNIDER
OUTFIELDER
DODGERS

"To brush a player off is part of the game. But some pitchers throw at your head and leave it to you to duck. A smart pitcher should throw close and keep a batter off balance. He may hit a man once in a while, but he's on the spot, too. Pitching is his bread and butter."

BOB FELLER
PITCHER
INDIANS

"No. I have no such pitch in my repertoire. Walter 'Big Train' Johnson of the Senators had so much speed that he'd deliberately throw wide. He often said that one of his fast balls might kill a man if it hit his head. I used to throw much harder when I first came up. But never at a man's head."

MICKEY MANTLE
OUTFIELDER
YANKEES

"It's a legitimate pitch, as long as it's a duster and not a bean ball. A pitcher has no right to throw at a batter's head. That's the bean ball. It can kill a man. But when a dangerous batter is dug in too deep or is guarding the plate, a good pitcher will dust him off."

PHIL RIZZUTO
SHORTSTOP
YANKEES

"No. I don't mind a close pitch from the shoulders down, to drive me back. But a high pitch at my head may cost me my bread and butter. Yes, even my life. Only the helmet saved Adcock's life. There are some pitchers who deliberately throw at your head if you've gotten two or three hits."

CARL ERSKINE
PITCHER
DODGERS

"A deliberate pitch to I hit a man has no place in baseball. But the duster is a pitch a pitcher must have. He uses it to set up a batter for the next pitch. That may strike him out. Sometimes the pitch to drive a batter back is the only defense a pitcher has."

LARRY DOBY
OUTFIELDER
INDIANS

"An inside pitch is okay, but I don't like to see it coming at my head. Baseball should always be a game of skill. The duel between the pitcher and batter is the most interesting part of baseball. But the batter should never serve as a target for the pitcher."

SAL MAGLIE
PITCHER
GIANTS

"A pitcher would be nuts not to throw the duster. If I'm throwing low and away, they're going to lean over the plate to hit. Pafko did that once and took a game away from me. A fast ball, high and inside, might have saved that game. Pafko doesn't lean over the plate any more against me."

ALVIN DARK
SHORTSTOP
GIANTS

"Certainly. He'd be crazy not to throw an occasional duster. It's a valuable pitch because it makes some batters overcautious. If a pitcher can get an out by brushing a back, I don't blame him. That's baseball. I don't I think there are many pitchers who will deliberately bean a batter."

ILLUSTRATIONTEN PHOTOSILLUSTRATION"Whatta you mean, 'strike him out'? Do you know how much more money he gets than me?"