FAT PITCHERS (COMMENT). My nephew, Andrew Schaefer, picked up an error in my post on Terry Forster and what a good hitting pitcher he was. The third paragraph confuses Forster’s lifetime at bats with his much greater lifetime figure for games played. The fourth paragraph has the right figures. I am a little chagrined because I actually was following Forster’s batting at the end of his career, and had noted how close he came to finishing at .400. (one hit in two more at bats would have done it).
I was evidently overeager to defend Forster against David Letterman’s calling him a “fat tub of goo”. I have always liked fat pitchers and believe that a little extra weight can help a pitcher just as it seems to help some opera singers. Some fat pitchers: Mickey Lolich, Wilbur Wood, Rick Reuschel and his brother Paul (known as Whale One and Whale II). And of course, Babe Ruth in his first years in the major leagues.
Andrew kindly only alluded to the biggest error in my post—my enthusiastic statement that “Terry Forster may have been the best hitting pitcher of all time.” Andrew only alludes to Babe Ruth in his comment, and does not dwell on this mistake. Of course, Ruth was not only the best hitting pitcher of all time but also the best hitter of all time.
Andrew also commented: “Did you see the mention in the Economist that studied pitchers hitting and estimated that Babe Ruth was merely as good as a normal superstar today?” I could not find the reference in the Economist by using Google, but the Google search did turn up this article by Brian Oakchunas in Baseball Prospectus which argues that Babe Ruth was not a particularly good pitcher, concluding: “If he pitched like this in the twenty-first century, he’d have a job, but by his fifth year, he’d be borderline….