“Man may penetrate the outer reaches of the universe, he may solve the very secret of eternity itself, but for me, the ultimate human experience is to witness a flawless hit and run.” Branch Rickey
Branch Rickey was an innovative Major League Baseball executive who famously led the Dodgers from 1943 to 1950 and introduced Jackie Robinson to the baseball world and thus broke the color barrier in baseball. He then went on to sign Roberto Clemente to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He later was credited with creating the modern framework for our modern Minor League system.
This baseball man changed the game we love and anytime someone accomplishes so much in their life, it begs the question of how? The answer is always simple – he loved the game.
Nothing compared to baseball in Branch Rickey’s life. And if you have ever seen a perfectly executed hit and run then you can’t argue with his logic.
When a manager puts on a hit and run so many variables need to occur simultaneously for the play to become poetry in motion.
There might be no better play in all of sports then when a player breaks for second and looks in at the exact time when the hitter connects with the ball and firmly strikes the ball in a downward motion toward the open space created in the middle of the infield when the shortstop or second baseman cover second base.
The defense is left defenseless as the baserunner never breaks stride rounding second and streaks towards third. The hitter sees the groundball going through the vacated spot and sprints towards first. Nine defenseless defenders without a defense for such a simple yet beautiful play.
We may as humans do wonderful things on this planet. We may as humans do terrible things on this planet, but a properly executed hit and run has to be in our top ten.
When you look at the history books and wonder how people were able to accomplish so much, the answer is always simple. They love what they are dedicating their life to and they have a passion to see it done right.
I encourage you to fall in love with simple baseball plays that have been practiced for the past hundred years. I encourage you to understand that beauty is always found in the simple execution of fundamentals. The beauty of the hit and run is that anybody can do it as long as they stick to their fundamentals.
Thank you Branch Rickey for loving this game to the point where you could change it and make it so much better for us all to enjoy.