Audio tape donation from former sportswriter preserves history in Cooperstown
It’s 1978 at Spring Training in Florida and the Yankees Ron Guidry, coming off a breakout season in 1977, is trying to explain to a reporter why his ’77 season started so poorly.
“I didn’t throw many sliders or curveballs,” Guidry said. “Hitters were not being fooled last spring.”
Hall of Fame Membership
As the keepers of the Game’s history, the Hall of Fame helps you relive your memories and celebrate baseball history.
The reporter, Barry Levine, a sportswriter and columnist for the News Tribune and Home News in Brunswick, N.J., follows the question with the next logical one, “What will you do differently this spring?”
In that slow, comfortable Cajun drone, the pitcher nicknamed “Gator” answers: “I will bring out my other pitches earlier. One of my goals is to work on an off speed pitch. Art Fowler and Whitey Ford will help me. You know, I want to see what it feels like to be a 20-game winner.”
The 1978 season for Guidry was a monster one. Not only did he learn what it felt like to win 20 games, he won 25. He struck out 18 in a game against the Angels on June 17. He set team records for lowest ERA by a left handed pitcher (1.74), highest winning percentage (.893), most strikeouts (248) and most shutouts (9).
“Barry never spoke about the interviews that he did. Humility was part of his being. I was extremely surprised to find these cassette tapes amongst his rock-and-roll collection,” Madeline Berman explained. “Needless to say, I am very proud to know that these interviews are where they belong. My deepest regret is that I can’t tell him he finally made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Maybe, somehow, he knows.”
Roger Lansing is the recorded media manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.