BT: Well I owe a lot to Dr. Pappas and you know, he said 'You're going to get better, you're going to get well, and you're going to pitch again,' and I believed him. It just talks about the power of psychology — you get what you think about, and I thought I was gonna get well and I did. But it wasn't easy. I just want to go backward a little bit — in 1982 I was in the Florida State League. I had 13 complete games, pitched 188 innings. I came out of a game in mid-August because my elbow hurt. I couldn't throw the last pitch. And I ended up having lateral nerve transposition. That would never happen now. 13 complete games and 188 innings? And I was 20 years old. There were no restrictions on that then, and the benefits were that I learned how to pitch in tight games, but I ended up missing a season because of that, which really illustrates the cost-benefit of having restrictions on pitchers. As a pitcher, you know that you're always one pitch away from getting out any situation that you're in, but you're also one pitch way from not pitching. And the work that people have developed — 'pre-hab' wasn't around when I first started playing and it's been a tremendous part of the development of the game and also of my rehabilitation where I was able to come back and I was able to pitch ten more years after the surgery which is remarkable, so it's really scary. I'll tell a quick story.
My wife was in graduate school at BU, we were living in Brighton in a condo and I was going to UMass every day after surgery. Part of my throwing program I'd have to get my arm into a cocked position and my wife now, she was my fiancée then, was probably about 30 feet away and I would throw to her. I'd try to get it in the cocked position and throw to her. Well one day this guy walked around the corner and he goes, 'You don't know how to throw.' [laughter] And so I'm like, 'What is this..?' I wasn't too happy about that either. You know, I've been in the big leagues, I've pitched some of the games and I'm rehabbing, and this guy says, 'That's not how you throw — this is how you throw.' So he takes the ball from me and throws it to my wife and so that was part of the process of learning how to throw again after surgery, and it's a great memory. But it's difficult, the work that you have to do to put in to recover from that is one thing, secondly when you come back you don't know what kind of stuff you're going to have. You have to adjust your style maybe, your philosophy changes, endurance changes, so there's a lot of things that happen on that 'one pitch away' — and you don't know when that's going to happen. We pitch through things as best we can but ultimately there comes a time when you can't pitch and that's why we have guys like Mike around.
... last >>
7 of 19 (results 19)
: Lifestyle Features
, Sports, Boston Red Sox, Peter Gammons, More