Bob Gibson/Reggie Jackson: Sixty Feet, Six Inches

SixtyFeetSixInchesI just finished reading a great baseball book, ‘Sixty Feet, Six Inches‘, by Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson with Ronnie Wheeler. This book is a running conversation by two of baseball’s greatest players about the mind games and strategies that go on between the pitcher and batter. One almost pictures himself eating dinner with these two while they talk about that magical space between the rubber and the plate.
The two never met during a game that counted but each definitely had opinions about what they would have done if they faced each other. Gibson likely would have pitched him low and inside, but Reggie would have known that and would try to back off the plate a bit without being obvious. Reggie was not one to look down at the catcher but felt he could guess what the pitcher would do against him in certain situations.
The book covers nearly every topic you can think of concerning baseball over the last 30 to 40 years. There is plenty that you might be interested in that makes this book a good read, but most people will find themselves skipping some subjects. Topics range from their struggles against racism in baseball, what it takes to succeed in baseball, how the owners and managers affect the players, drugs, alcohol, steroids, Pete Rose, baseball strategies, general life advice, etc.
You’ll see that Reggie is truly as cocky as he seems – he knows this and talks candidly about how his upbringing and struggles led him to believe he should be open and forthright about issues and with the media. He recognizes that he might not have been able to be that way before and during Hank Aaron‘s time. There’s also a very honest conversation by Reggie about the different managers and owners he worked for and how that affected him as well.
Gibson, as we all know, was a fierce competitor who chose to compete for the most part in a outspoken yet quiet manner. Reggie and Gibson talk about how their approaches are different due to their personalities, the environments they were in, and the timing of their careers.
My favorite takeaway comes towards the end of the book where confidence is addressed. In conversations about confidence, competence is often assumed, and this is the case here. Both Gibson and Jackson stress the importance of having a very high level of confidence that breeds even more confidence. Gibson spoke of this as ‘confidence that feeds the beast’, while Jackson called it ‘exercising the confidence muscle’.
Should you be a high school player or a minor league player this book would be an even more important read. For the baseball fan, this book is full of insights into the workings of baseball. I highly recommend this book.
Enjoy and God bless!
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2 Comments

  1. Jim Gullo

    November 20, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Loved both of those players at a time when baseball seemed pure and important and vital. When I look for baseball heroes for my son, I can’t help but skip today’s generation of ballplayers for guys like Reggie and Bullet Bob. More at baseballdads.wordpress.com.

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