Baseball base

Feb. 28, 1963

At spring training, Red Sox rookie manager Johnny Pesky (he was a couple decades away from becoming a legend) had his pitchers practicing how to slide.

Not a slide-step to keep opposition baserunners honest. A slide, as in a batter becomes a baserunner and the need to slide into a base arises.

This was not unheard of in the pre-designated hitter American League. Not all pitchers were completely hopeless with a bat in their hands. And a pitcher could occasionally draw a walk, or be hit by a pitch (often in an act of vengeance).

Pesky may also have had an unspoken understanding that his pitching staff better be able to reach base now and again since they were bound to give up more than a few runs on any given day.

The team ERA came in at 3.97,, ninth in the 10-team league.

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