“Swingin’ at the plate…”

A choice tidbit from GQ’s interview with Willie Mays (thanks for the tip, Nate!):

We were in Memphis, Tennessee. It was like a playoff game. It might have been ’48. Satchel had a very, very good fastball. But he threw me a little breaking ball, just to see what I could do, and I hit it off the top of the fence. And I got a double. When I got to second, Satchel told the third baseman, “Let me know when that little boy comes back up.” Three innings later, I go to kneel down in the on-deck circle, and I hear the third baseman say, “There he is.” Satch looked at the third baseman, and then he looked at me. I walk halfway to home plate and he says, “Little boy.” I say, “Yes, sir?” because Satch was much older than I am, so I was trying to show respect. He walked halfway to home plate and said, “Little boy, I’m not going to trick you. I’m going to throw you three fastballs and you’re going to go sit down.” And I’m saying in my mind, “I don’t think so.” If he threw me three of the same pitch, I’m going to hit it somewhere. He threw me two fastballs and I just swung…I swung right through it. And the third ball he threw, and I tell people this all the time, he threw the ball and then he started walking. And he says, “Go sit down.” This is while the ball was in the air. He was just a magnificent pitcher.

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