- Hardcover: 248 pages
- Publisher: Sports Publishing (March 6, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 168358175X
- ISBN-13: 978-1683581758
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Insight Pitch: My Life as a Major League Closer Hardcover – March 6, 2018
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“Joining the Mets in mid-season, Skip quickly became the dependable ‘closer’ we needed. He and I had long conversations about exactly how to prepare for each game and what it meant to leave nothing to chance. As a result, he always pitched with intensity and mental toughness. I told him, ‘Every time you go cross over that foul line, it’s Green Light...it’s Go Time.’ In his new book he takes you with us, onto the field and into the action.”
―Tom Seaver, MLB Hall of Famer, friend, and teammate; author, The Art of Pitching
“Skippy, my boy. Great job on your new book. You’re still throwing strikes.”
―Luis Tiant, Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and longtime friend
“The mid and late 1970s are hardly remembered as the best of times for the New York Mets, but that’s not Skip Lockwood’s fault. Lost in the midst of mediocrity was some truly fine work out of the bullpen by a man who was as introspective and observant as any player of his generation. Armed with a keen sense of humor and self-deprecation, Skip’s memoir, Insight Pitch, provides a unique look at life in the major leagues before the players enjoyed the riches and security of today’s big leaguers.”
--Howie Rose, Broadcaster, New York Mets, WOR Radio 710 AM, New York
“The stories Skip shares in Insight Pitch of his major league career are sprinkled with humor and sensitivity. He shares with us his feelings and emotions when facing hitters in tough situations. This is a terrific book.”
-Rico Petrocelli, Red Sox Hall of Famer
“Skip Lockwood writes he might have been the "most ill-equipped person" to ever don a major league uniform, yet few seem better suited to tell the story of a baseball life. Skip’s glasses may have fogged up on the mound, but his perspective on the challenges, rewards, and realities of the game as it was truly played couldn’t be more clear-eyed. Hop in the bullpen cart with Skip Lockwood and settle in for a most Amazin’ ride.”
―Greg Prince, Faith and Fear in Flushing
“Insight Pitch was particularly poignant as I read it during my stint playing soccer in the National Championships. It helped me conceptualize.”
―Johann Clendenin, USMC
“From throwing a ball against the wall at his home as a boy to the major leagues, Skip takes us on a remarkable journey. He really knocks it out of the park. This book is a must read for any boy or girl and coaches, for that matter, interested in sports.”
―Dr. Harvey Dulberg
About the Author
Skip Lockwood enjoyed a professional baseball career from 1965 to 1980, most of which time he spent pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers (1970-73) and the New York Mets (1975-79). Pursuing his longtime interest in game-day visualization and mental preparations, he proceeded to earn a master's degree from Fairfield University and another master's in science from MIT as a Sloan Fellow. In the following years, he continued to study and practice in the field of sport psychology. Today, he makes frequent appearances and delights audiences with humorous behind-the-scenes baseball stories and inspirational messages of how elite athletes excel despite unyielding pressure.
Fergie Jenkinsis a former Major League Baseball pitcher who had over 3,000 strikeouts over the course of his career. A three-time All-Star and the 1971 National League Cy Young Award winner, Jenkins was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
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Lockwood was originally signed by the Kansas City Athletics as a 17 year old “bonus baby” infielder and it is this signing where he shares one of his many humorous stories. When the A’s sent a team executive named Pat Friday to the Lockwood residence to sign Skip, the negotiations went fine with Skip and his father, but when the moment came for the final decision to sign, Dad left the room, leaving Skip and Friday alone. Skip took a pen and made two changes to the contract. One was to correct the name on the contract to his given name, “Claude Edward Lockwood, Jr.” Then came this gem: “Then I said ‘There’s just one more thing right here,’ pointing to the space where the number $35,000 had been written. I put an oversized ‘1’ in front of it.”
Then Friday calls owner Charlie Finley, who asks Skip why he should pay him that kind of money – the answer was “Because I’ll make you a winner.” The phone is given back to Friday, Finley agrees to the new amount and Lockwood becomes a bonus baby. This story was one the best of many great ones in the book, mainly because of the guts it took for a 17 year old kid to do that in the days of the reserve clause and no major league draft.
Lockwood shares the same type of stories through his transformation from an infelider to a pitcher in the minors, then from a struggling starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers to a more successful relief pitcher for the New York Mets. The best of these was the prank that Mets clubhouse manager Herbie Norman played on Lockwood on his first day as a Met.
Immediately upon arrival at Shea Stadium, Norman hurries Lockwood out to the bullpen, as he keeps saying how the team needs Skip to be ready to pitch right away. Norman leads him to the bullpen, where Lockwood greets each man personally and tells them how he is excited to be on the team. Problem was that this was the VISITING bullpen and each man he spoke to was a member of the Montreal Expos.
These are just two of the many examples of the captivating and funny stories that Lockwood shares and makes the book one that any baseball fan will enjoy, whether or not he or she has ever heard of Lockwood without having to look up his statistics on Baseball Reference. This page-turner is one of the best sports memoirs I have read.
I wish to thank Sports Publishing for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The saga begins with Skip's halcyon days growing up in Norwood, Massachusetts, and starring for Catholic Memorial High School's baseball team. He shares a fascinating account of the day when the representatives of five MLB teams made the pilgrimage to the Lockwood home in an attempt to sign the young baseball phenom to a professional contract as a "Bonus Baby," Skip's parents decided to leave the room when Skip was negotiating with the scout from the Kansas City Athletics. The account of how young Skip handled that negotiation is one of the most fascinating and insightful chapters of the book.
After struggling for several years in the minor leagues - unable to hit a professional curve ball - Skip took the advice of those in the Athletics organization who had invested in him, and turned himself into a pitcher. He pitched for several teams, most notably the Mets. He finished his injury-plagued career signing as the first free agent inked by the Boston Red Sox.
Mr. Lockwood's intelligence is on full display as he shares deeply held convictions and astute observations about the game of baseball and the role it has played in his life. He earned an MBA from MIT as a Sloan Fellow. He shares in great detail the techniques he developed for visualizing a game and an encounter with a batter before they would ever happen in real time. He would visualize the situation once as if he were viewing it dispassionately from the stands. But then he would also visualize the same situation as if he were peering through his eyes from the pitcher's mound. That dual approach is exactly what Skip Lockwood the author offers to his readers here. We get to observe, as if in the stands, the life of a successful ballplayer. But we also get to see, hear, and feel what it was like in his mind and heart as some of the ups and downs of his career played themselves out. The result is a thoroughly engaging and instructive window into America's game.
The book is chock full of deep insights into baseball, handling both success and disappointment, balancing pursuit of excellence with a realistic assessment of strengths and weaknesses. If you love baseball, you will not want to miss reading this book. If you are lukewarm about baseball, reading this book may turn up the heat, and you may never watch a baseball game the same way ever again.