The Boys of Summer

The Boys of Summer is a book about baseball by Roger Kahn. In it, Mr. Kahn interviews George Shuba, a hitter that played in the 1950s for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Mr. Kahn writes of spending an evening with Mr. Shuba drinking and talking baseball.

Mr. Shuba was talking about how, in the offseason, he would use a bat filled with lead to hit a knotted rope for practice. Then, years past retirement, he got up and demonstrated.
"The swing was beautiful, and grunting softly he whipped the bat into the clumped string. Level and swift, the bat parted the air and made a whining sound. Shuba swung again and again, controlled and terribly hard. It was the hardest swing I ever saw up close."
Mr. Kahn called him "a natural". Mr Shuba scoffed and showed him an old notebook filled with dates and Xs. Told him that during the off-season, every night,  he would take 600 swings with that bat. He made an X every sixty swings. Ten Xs meant he could stop for the night. 600 swings a night, 4,200 swings a week, 46,200 swings every off-season, for 15 years.




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