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Jimmy Piersall Speaks Out

May 25, 1963 - Jimmy Piersall, the newest New York Met, held forth today on many topics: On coming to New York — “I’ve always liked New York. Show people and show business, it’s the center of things — and after all, baseball is part of show business. I think I’ve been appreciated here.”

On Met fans — “They are helping save baseball.”

On playing the outfield — “You have to take the situation into account as well as know each hitter. You have to be willing to take a chance in order to make a good play. The ones who always play it safe never make errors, but they never make the exceptional play that can win for you.”

On meeting astronaut Gordon Cooper — “That was one of the most exciting things that ever happened to me. I started to stick my hand out to shake his, and suddenly pulled it back — I don’t know exactly why, but feeling embarrassed, as if I shouldn’t touch him. Then, a little later, I saw all those kids out on the White House lawn shaking hands with him as if it were nothing. But they talk about us being in shape — there’s a guy about 40 years old, and look at the shape he’s in. It was marvelous.”

On his own future — “I just want to play for the Mets and avoid trouble. I get very excited, and I don’t always know what I might do next, but I just hope that if I do something wrong, they’ll tell me right away. I just want to play — to be myself, but not to cause any fuss.”

On his past, which includes a mental breakdown that required shock treatment — “I don’t think people have held that against me, and I don’t think the trouble I’ve had in baseball with umpires or anyone else is the result of it. It’s just my nature. As for the thing itself, I feel I’m just fortunate that I had treatment that was able to help me. I don’t like to think about it. It’s all in the book [“Fear Strikes Out”] — the best thing would be to get it out of the library.”


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