More from Jim Bouton's Ball Four:
I've always felt there were three kinds of athletes. First, there's the guy who does everything instinctively and does it right in the first place. I think Willie Mays is that kind of guy, and so was Mickey Mantle. I don't think these guys can articulate what they're doing, they just know what to do and they go out and do it. I put Yogi Berra in this class too. I remember Yogi standing around the batting cage trying to explain hitting to some of the guys and he started to talk about his hand and his legs and he couldn't make himself clear. Then he said, "Ah, just watch me do it."
Second, there's the athlete who's intelligent. If they're pitchers they try to figure out the mechanics of rotation and the aerodynamics of the curve ball. If they're hitters they try to figure out force and velocity in relation to weight. Jay Hook comes to mind. He was a pitcher with an engineering degree from Northwestern University. He had all the tools: big, strong, good stuff. Ballplayers often say, "Quit thinking, you're hurting the club." I really believe you can think too much in this game, and Hook always did.
The third kind is the one who is intelligent enough to know that baseball is basically an instinctive game. I like to think that's me. So what I do, kiddies, is work hard, stay in shape, practice---then, once I'm on the field I let my instincts take over. Also I don't smoke.
Tags: Bouton, Ball Four