El Paso Herald/March 11, 1912
Wilbur Robinson, Coach of the Pitchers for the New York Giants, Teaching the Star Pitcher of the National League How to Pitch.
Each morning and afternoon Willbert Robinson, the veteran coach of the Giant pitchers, sallies forth to Emerson Park with a big round piece of flat rubber under his arm. He seeks a secluded corner of the yard, with the fence at his back. carefully places the flat piece of rubber on the ground in front of him, dons a huge catcher’s mitt and crooks a finger on his right hand at a lean, knockkneed youth in uniform. That means that Robbie is ready for the consideration of unfinished business, whose other name is Rube Marquard.
When is a baseball pitcher a finished article? When he wins twenty-four games and loses but seven, leading the heavers of the National league? No! At least Robinson says not. Rube Marquard did all that last season, but the man who is credited with his development last year declares that he is not yet complete. And so a pitcher whose left arm cost the New York management $11,000, and who is valued at several times that amount right now, and who is one of the most talked of men in baseball, has to go through a course of sprouts like the veriest recruit, because his mentor says he is not finished.
Robinson expects to increase Marquard’s effectiveness twofold. He expects to see him become the greatest left-hander the game has ever known, because he avows that Rube still has “stuff” which he has never uncovered in the big league. But he also declares that the pitcher has quite a little to learn about his business, and so he is endeavoring to finish him out.
Has Personal Control of Marquard
Last spring Robinson came down here and assumed personal charge of Marquard at a time when the fans had given the lefthander up as a hopeless lemon. As McGraw had long claimed. Robbie quickly discovered that the Rube had everything in the way of “stuff” that a great pitcher should have, but control of nothing. He worked with him patiently day in and day out, and at the opening of the regular season he turned him over to McGraw with the comment: “This fellow will do.”
A glaring fault, to the Oriole, was Marquard’s failure to hold baserunners closely to first, in which respect a lefthander should be particularly good. So this spring the coach is again going over his pupil very carefully, working him toward better control and toward perfection in numerous other respects; and he believes that by the time the season opens he will be able to tell McGraw: “Here is the best lefthander that ever was.”
So it will be seen that a man may be a star and still be a long way from being a finished player. Pitchers like Mathewson and Rucker might be classed as completed works of art; pitchers such as Marquard, Gregg and Alexander need the final touches. One year of great success does not make a finished player. The next year may see a big slump. Men like Matty and Rucker or Johnson and Walsh are comparative certainties until they commence to go back, but the meteors of a single year are uncertainties every spring for two or three seasons.
Has Been Doing Only Light Work
Marquard has been doing a little light work since his arrival here, and he declares that he is heavier than last season and that his arm has not developed a trace of soreness. He put in the winter on the vaudeville stage, but says he doubts if he will engage in that line of work again. He is now twenty-four years old.
This was a cold and dreary day after a night of the heaviest rain experienced in this part of Texas in years, and attended by thunder and lightning, which is a rarity in the Lone Star state. A little running around the park was about the only work indulged in by the players.
A Dallas paper announces that Joe Gardner, manager of the Texas league club of that city, has stated that he has his pick of the Giant recruits this year. McGraw has done considerable business with Gardner in the past. Fletcher, Drucke, Munsel, and Evans are among the men he has secured from that club.