In the words of the man himself, "That is BS!"

>> Tuesday

A few minutes ago, the colorful, legendary voice of the Chicago White Sox, Ken "the Hawk" Harrelson made--in my estimation--a somewhat dubious claim.

He and partner Darrin "D.J." Jackson were discussing the incredible out-of-the-box speed of Royals outfielder Joey Gathright. According to Jackson, Gathright has been clocked at 3.3 seconds to first on a bunt and 3.6 swinging. Pretty fast, huh?

Not to be left out, however, Hawk, as is his trademark, invoked the exploits of a player from his day--just to make sure none of the viewers would get the crazy idea that players today might be as good, or better, than those of yesteryear.

According to the Hawkmeister, the great Mickey Mantle was clocked at "three seconds flat" out of the left-handed batter's box. That's right--3.0 seconds. That is, 0.3 seconds, or 9% faster than one of the speediest players in the game today.

Consider: That corresponds to a rate of 10 yds/sec (ok, maybe 9.8 when you subtract the distance between home plate and the lefty batter's box). Now let me ask you this: How many times have you heard of an NFL player running a 4.0-40? Though, when you think about it, a 3.0-30 would actually correspond to a 40 time below 4.0 since the last ten yards are run at a higher velocity than the acceleration distance shared by both a 30-yard and 40-yard sprint.

Am I finished? Oh no.

The 100-meter world record in 1956--about the same time as Mantle's prime--was 10.1 seconds. Today, it's 9.72 because--get this--people are faster.

Let's pile on some more. What, if you had to guess, was the error tolerance on a mid-20th century stopwatch? A hundreth of a second? A tenth? Note that the 100-meter records weren't measured to the second decimal place until at least 1961. And I really doubt that whatever bench coach or scout recorded this alleged 3.0 home-to-first did not possess the cutting edge stopwatch technology that was used in the Olympics.

(Still going.) The depth of scouting--and therefore the accuracy of scouting--in Mantle's time was not nearly what it is today. I'd fancy that a Yankees coach with poor reaction time could have "timed" Mantle by counting to three on his fingers like the owl in the Tootsie Roll Pop commercial with very few, if any, checks by opposing scouts.


No... No, I think I've finally had enough. This was totally not worth the effort.

(Also, I bet Mickey Mantle never did this:



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