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Jimmy Piersall Speaks Out

Mar. 27, 1964 - Whether he lands a job with the Angels or not, colorful Jimmy Piersall (pictured with Phil Silvers) will have his own nine this summer. He and his wife, Mary, are expecting another offspring. They already have eight — six girls and two boys.

If the 35-year-old outfielder doesn’t catch on with the Angels, what does he expect to do?

“I don’t like to think about not making this club,” said Jim today in Palm Springs. “I like baseball. I like the Angels, and I think I can help them. I like the Los Angeles fans.”

Piersall has done nothing to hurt his chances this spring. He is batting .313 in seven games.

Last year, after being signed to the club on July 27, Jim appeared in 20 games and batted .304. An injury kept him inactive most of the time after Aug. 11. It has not bothered him this spring, and he has his fingers crossed.

Piersall says the year he enjoyed most in baseball was 1961 under Jimmy Dykes at Cleveland.

“We finished fifth, but they were a great bunch of guys who really liked each other. They pulled together all the time. If there was a fight on the field, the entire bench was up and at ‘em instantly. It didn’t make any difference who was fighting or what it was about, the entire gang pitched in. They had more fun and spirit than any team I ever played with.”

Who is the best pitcher Piersall ever faced?

“Bob Lemon, when he was at Cleveland. No doubt about it. He always made you hit his pitch. He had a wonderful sinker and slider. The sinker came in at you, and the slider went out. And Lemon had great control, always kept the ball low, seldom above the knees.”

Who is the best hitter he’s ever seen?

“Ted Williams was the greatest hitter I ever saw. I played with him eight years, and never once did I see him look bad at the plate. Stan Musial was great too, but there were times when Stan didn’t look good at bat. Williams was the best at getting the good part of the bat on the ball.”

This is Piersall’s 14th major league season, and the Angels are his fifth big league team. His lifetime average is .272 for 1,468 games. He desperately wants to play 1,500 games.

He and Mary haven’t picked out a name yet for their ninth child. If it is a girl, the name may be Nina.

“We may have to add another room to the house though,” Jimmy remarked. “We’ve got 13 rooms, and nine of them are bedrooms, so we’re rather crowded already.”


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