Idiots' Savant

Armed with a psych degree, a former hurler becomes the Red Sox' shrink
February 07, 2005

Eighty-six years of anguish may finally be over, but the Red Sox still think they need a shrink. The world champions signed former major league pitcher Bob Tewksbury to a one-year contract to serve as the team's sports psychology coach. "The team recognizes there's a big mental component to the performance of baseball players, and that the concept is important but hard to understand," says Tewksbury, 44, who'll give up his gig as a Red Sox TV analyst. In January, Tewksbury, who's been working informally with Boston pitchers for seven years, received a master's degree in sports psychology and counseling from Boston University. The former finesse pitcher, who won 110 games in his 13-year career, will counsel players on Boston's six minor league teams throughout the season. This spring every minor leaguer in the organization will receive a 30-page handbook in which Tewksbury advises players on subjects like reacting to bad calls and pregame visualization exercises. "In baseball there's so much downtime," he says, "so much time to have so many things go through your mind, that the mental component becomes so important." --Albert Chen

COLOR PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (TEWKSBURY PITCHING) CHANGEUP The crafty Tewksbury (above, in 1993) will now advise farmhands. COLOR PHOTOEDWARD DOUGHERTY/WIREIMAGE.COM (TEWKSBURY) CHANGEUP The crafty Tewksbury (above, in 1993) will now advise farmhands.