I wasn’t sure if I should post this under the Sports section or enter as a Religious experience, because the reaction to Hicks’ throw in losing effort against the A’s on Wednesday night was nothing short of the second coming of Jesus; typical ESPN generation over-hyped bullshit. “Fastest outfield throw ever recorded!” Last time I checked, I don’t think anybody had radar guns trained on the outfielders during Roberto Clemente’s time, or even more recently on Bo Jackson. If you’ve never watched the clip of Bo throwing out speedy Harold Reynolds in the bottom of the 10th inning of a tie game in 1989, do it now. He bare hands it off the wall, 316 feet from home plate and throws a bullet that never touches the ground. Bo Knows Throw!
In contrast, you have Hick’s circling under a ball hit to medium left field so he can get a little chicken hop into his throw. Still, the throw comes into the plate on one bounce and slightly off line toward the mound. The catcher needs to grab it and reach back for the tag. We have become so accustomed to seeing shallow fly balls easily plate even slow-footed runners that a good throw is elevated to a play for the ages.
While you’re looking up Bo’s highlights, don’t forget about the greatest defensive outfielder of all time, Clemente. Runners were intimidated by Clemente’s arm strength and accuracy and rarely tested him, but when they did, they got burned.
Roberto’s lifetime mark of 260 assists is nearly 80 more than his closest competitor. Here is the list: Most assists from right field, MLB history
- Clemente, 260
2. Hank Aaron, 186
3. Johnny Callison, 159
4. Dwight Evans, 155
5. Jesse Barfield, 154
6. Tony Gwynn, 149
7. Dave Parker, 137
8. Bobby Abreu, 129
9. Vladimir Guerrero, 128
10. Dave Winfield, 128
Bottom line, I wasn’t much impressed by Hick’s throw, in case you couldn’t figure that out.