Mike Schmidt has Joe Morgan disease. Morgan, probably the best second baseman ever, has had a very lucrative post-baseball career by mocking the very skills he exhibited during his amazing career.
Now Mike Schmidt has taken a page from Morgan's playbook with his comments yesterday about Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn.
Mike, you were my favorite Phillie ever and a joy to watch, but we don't need you postponing Phillies fans' enlightenment.
Today's Inquirer has the story. Here are some choice quotes from it:
Calm down Mike: "[They] tick me off. Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn, because they strike out so much."
Jealous of Ichiro?: "Now I know that if I had choked up on the bat with two strikes and hadn't been so aggressive and gave in to the pitcher, I wouldn't have struck out so much. And that's what guys like Dunn and Burrell have to realize."
Newsflash! Pitchers love to face top tier Hall of Famers in tight situations: "[W]hen I played, pitchers wanted me up there with the game on the line. They'd rather face me than a guy behind me like Greg Luzinski, who would put the ball in play."
If my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle: "I look at Dunn and Burrell and I go, 'My God, if these guys cut their strikeouts down to 75 or 80, they put the ball in play 85 or 90 more times a year.' That's at least 15 more home runs a year and at least 35 more RBIs a year."
It must be so sad being Schmidt as he ages wondering how good he could have been: "I mean, why would Dunn and Burrell watch what Pujols does and not want to be like him, as good as he is? When their careers are over, they are going to wonder how much they left on the table, how much they left on the field. If only they had choked up with two strikes, spread their stances out. What they are doing now is not great, it is mediocrity."
There you have it. Top-tier Hall of Famer, best third baseman ever, best player of the 80s, he of the 1883 career strikeouts (seventh most all time) -- Mike Schmidt saying don't strike out.
What next? Nolan Ryan saying let the batters put the ball in play? Rickey Henderson saying be cautious on the basepaths? Cal Ripken saying sit out a game or two to rejuvenate? I can't wait!