Miller's Batting Gloves
Harmon Killebrew, Jerry West, and Michael Jordan


Brad Miller, side silhouette, looks more like the MLB logo than Harmon Killebrew does.

If you missed the debut game of Miller, the TV crew did a quick lay-over of Miller in the box and the MLB logo.  This coaxed a chuckle even from Jay Buhner, who is not known for comparing rookies to MLB legends.  

Miller has the bat loaded at just the right angle, has the perfect nose, has his cap set the right way, even has his thumb cocked just right ... I don't know why I remember the MLB logo as having that kind of a thumb on it; I guess it doesn't.  (Aha!  My memory was confusing Ken Griffey with the MLB logo.  Understandable.)  Anyway, Miller uses bare hands on the bat, which definitely adds to the effect.


Somebody chose the MLB logo, in part, because the angle of the bat --- > comes off as dynamic to the human eye.  So does Brad Miller's.  There's an article in there somewhere, but I ain't gonna write it.


Even Dr. D thinks it's pretty silly that they won't replace Jerry West with Michael Jordan.  He'd honestly like to know what twisted politics are going on in David Stern's head, to freeze the modern NBA athlete out of the industry logo.  I was a Jerry West fan, but that logo is embarrassing, and this is the age of SportsCenter.  Every glance at the logo is a humiliation for Jerry West.

Get real, guys.

The point is, Brad Miller is way retro.  You feel me?


Batting Gloves, Pine Tar, and (far) Worse

There are only a few hitters left who don't use batting gloves.  Jorge Posada used pine tar ... he isn't "left."  Vlad Guerrero widdled on his hands (yes, really) to callous them up enough to bear the pain of gloveless hitting, and he left pine tar all over the walls of every dugout in both leagues.  Does Coco Crisp wear gloves?  That's about it.

"Join the pros and wear a glove," Jack Nicklaus told me once, personally.  Via the $3.95 paperback I bought.  "It's the best aid to a secure grip allowed by the rules."  The clear implication was that if golfers were allowed to use prosthetics and surgical screws, they would.

Even the slightest "twist" or "slip" of the bat in your hands can lead to a "clonk" on a cut fastball.  It doesn't make logical sense to not wear gloves.  And have we even started on the subject of a Justin Verlander jam pitch on a cold day?

Yet Brad Miller not only doesn't wear gloves -- he doesn't even tape the bat -- and he doesn't use pine tar!  He sands the bat smooth and grabs it with his hands.  That right there is the statue on the sidewalk, gentlemen.  Brad Miller and Tim Duncan, this winter.  Statues for active players.


Miller's first hit came on a very unpleasant fastball that was 3" outside.  With his weight going the wrong way -- leaving his hands un-leveraged and loose -- he reached out and personally massaged a line drive down the 3B line.

The idea is that, at the cost of a whale of a lot of physical pain, you're going to be just a little bit more in touch with that little 5-ounce baseball out there.  Do you even WANT to be?  That thing could kill somebody!  Not Brad Miller.  He wants as little as possible between him and the little ball that is the point of the game...

You have probably grok'ked it.  Brad Miller can play shortstop for my ball club any time.  And it ain't all style no substance:  he got on base all 26 games he played for the Rainiers this year.  Thass a shorstop.




From the shouts earlier tonight:
Miller is the reincarnation of "Slats" Marion with more power and a slightly less accurate arm. I didn't see Marion play, but I saw him at some games later - very same build as Miller.
I can't find any youtube video of Marion - I've seen newsreel footage - maybe it's at Anyway, one of the funny things re: Miller is that Marion was one of the early guys to wear his pants farther down the leg, rather than at the knee - apparently he was sensitive about his thin legs! With Miller wearing #5, he'd fit with Schoendienst (#4 with the Braves) and Marion (#6 with the Cardinals). If Franklin would change to a single-digit number, we could have a real throw-back group going with Zunino (#3). Marion, I believe, worked at Busch Stadium in the sixties. That's where I remember seeing him.
Anyway, heartily endorse your portrayal of Miller - he's going to be fun to watch!


Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Freddy Couples and Moe: None of us wore/wear gloves when whacking a white spheroid. Now for me, it's because I always felt golf gloves soon stretched and felt big, getting in my way.......but those other guys did pretty well without them. Would Aaron and Mays have worn them if they they were available (Well, I'm pretty sure guys were wearing them, usually only on their bottom hand) as their careers were winding down? Probably...but they showed you can hit without them. And for some guys, who don't want to overpower the effort it may make sense. For an Ackley, perhaps. Almost all tour-type golfers remove their gloves to putt, and many do so to chip. "Feel" type shots may lose something with the glove on. So too, "feel" type hitters?
Doc, remember we've talked in the past about Aaron being a wrist and front leg hitter. I wonder if the lok-tite sense of gloves spawn a "swing from the back heel" type of approach.
As I think about it, I'm willing to bet that some hitters are better off without them.
Edit: Just did a quick search of Rod Carew. Seems I can find examples of hit without gloves, with one glove and with two.


... love the retro player comps, especially for retro players who weren't HOF'ers.  Tell you the truth, I'd never even heard Marty Marion called "Slats."
Marion himself was not unlike Bill Russell .... Nick Franklin is not unlike Davey Lopes ... and Seager not totally dissimilar to Cey ... how hard could it be to assign them the proper 4, 5, and 6 numbers?  :- )  You know the players themselves wouldn't be too averse to getting a "10 year player" number assigned...


Teddy, after Korea, is credited with the bottom glove.  So gloves were around for most of Mays' and Aaron's careers.  
Somehow I just KNEW that you were going to reveal that you play without a glove.  HEH!
Ya, thanks for the xplanation about feel, and the point about chipping.  The chipping-and-putting-without-gloves observation totally nails it.
On Miller's first hit, where he "steered" the ball down the 3B line.  Didn't that look like a chip-type attitude to you, kind of?  Or am I imagining that?
I think as we're talking, here, we could decide that when you strip off the gloves it gives you a couple of ticks on the HIT tool at major cost to the PWR (or at least pain) end of it.


Til he got here and we changed his swing plane and gave him that beautiful cocked bat stance (instead of the Statue Of Liberty pose he had earlier).
So IMO he's never had this problem.  He hit with aluminum and then composite without gloves, and chopped grounders through the hole with ease, steering balls where they had to go.  I think it's great that he's still willing and able to smash doubles and HRs without the gloves while keeping his approach consistent.  Dude must have great hands.  I did see him peg a girl in the first row of seats with a thrown bat on the first or second pitch of the game when he came through town.  Gotta be careful swinging hard with no gloves on.
Otherwise, if you can do it, go to town.  He certainly is.


He probably feels good hits a lot better with no gloves. He surely feels bad hits a lot worse. When a ball is hit well, I think the vibrations travel down the bat and back into the ball so that most of the spring energy is released out of the sweet spot. When a ball is hit in the handle, most of the spring energy is released into the handle of the bat and into the hands. There might be an injury component to this that keeps players from using their bare hands.
You'd think that all of those jam shots would take their toll on the hands and lead to a shortened playing career. Miller's just a pup, and may not know or care about carpal tunnel syndrome, and what it would feel like to hit with numb hands. The kid's exciting and I hope that this sort of play doesn't turn him into Chris Snelling.
However, maybe concerns are overblown. Like Doc says, Vlad didn't use gloves, and he's still poking around if anyone wants to hire him.


"Great hands" is exactly the skill set that might benefit (or not be hindered) by no glove.
A whole bunch of Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Johnny Benches and Frank Robinson hit without them. (Ben Hogan, too) Sometimes we think the modern norm is the only way that makes sense. Not so.
And Miller's 1st double was indeed a chip shot of sorts.

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