Sunday, March 18, 2018


When my son was about two-years-old, we started batting practice in our small driveway in Staten Island, NY.  As I pitched to him, and gave him some very basic pointers, I always bantered about my two favorite players: Bucky Dent and Ron Guidry.  Guidry, in particular, had a special place in my heart because it was Guidry, unbeknownst to Guidry himself, who helped me as a struggling reader and learner.  Often I would visually compare him within the list of vocabulary words that plagued my homework tasks.  Words like agile and fierce were great comparative words and saunter and lackadaisical were terrific antonyms.  My son took the visual comparison one step further, by sketching a portrait of my forever favorite pitcher, #49, one Mother's Day.  The picture hangs prominently in my living room today.

Source: Chris Carbonaro

Through the years, Guidry influenced my grandparents, parents, siblings, and now my children through his passionate, focused game play and resilient competitiveness.  His influence is impactful across generations and his new book spotlights everything we loved about Guidry both on and off the field.

Guidry, affectionately known as Gator and Louisiana Lightning, penned his first memoir, Gator: My Life In Pinstripes, which is available this upcoming Tuesday, March 20th.  Through his account, Guidry talks about his relationships with his teammates and the game of baseball himself, which includes advice to young players, particularly pitchers who seek success in the major leagues.

"In 1978, Guidry, or ‘Gator’, won the Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in baseball, and his many further credentials include being a four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner. In Gator, Guidry recounts his ascent to prominence and discloses rare insight into the dynamics of his life both on and off the field," according publisher previews.

Source: ESPN

Beyond the statistics, there is Ron Guidry, the rock, the leader, the person who told his dugout mates how many runs he needed in order to pitch a winning game.  There's Guidry who would sprint off the mound after a strike out, closing out an incredible inning. And he is noted as the pitcher who "invented" the two-out, two-strike standing ovation. In fact he would relish the second to third strike thunderous applause, a tradition carried out across baseball even today.

If Reggie Jackson is the straw that stirred the drink then Guidry is the bartender; he created the environment, set the stage and elevated his teammates into the successful players they became in the championship years of 1977 and 1978.

As we enter the 40th anniversary season of the 1978 team, it seems fitting that Gator's book would hit the stands on the heels of what could be an equally incredible year for the Yankees. As a young pitcher just entering the scene, Guidry talks about the importance of mentorship and credits his mentors Sparky Lyle, Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Dick Tidrow and Thurman Munson as guiding him toward a career that served him well. "You put all of that together and you get me," said Guidry in an interview about his book.

If you are a Guidry fan you've already told the kids in your life about him.  Maybe you still have your glove adorned with his mimeographed signature in the pocket, like I do. And maybe this text is another way to reminisce and share what you have always loved about Guidry.  That's the way I am approaching this read...and I can't wait to dig in.

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

Be Read. Get Known.

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