Many of today’s players do not hustle. Hanley Ramirez and Luke Scott are two players who recently demonstrated their values.

They could learn a few things from Willie Mays.

During the middle of May, in the first inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Hanley Ramirez fouled an Edwin Jackson pitch off his left shin. He stayed in the game, and ended the inning by banging into a double play.

With two runners on base in the Diamondback’s half of the second inning, Tony Abreu hit a looping fly ball to short left field that fell safely near Ramirez. As he went after the ball, Hanley accidentally kicked it about 100 feet toward the left-field corner.

Ramirez jogged after the ball, as both runners scored and Abreu ended up at third base.

Ramirez was taken out of the game the next inning by Florida Marlins’ manager, Fredi Gonzalez, for not hustling.

“Hanley left the game because we felt — he got smoked in the ankle — but we felt whether he was hurt or not hurt or whatever it was, we felt that the effort wasn’t there that we wanted,” Gonzalez said.

“There’s 24 guys out there that are busting their butts. Cody Ross got hit with a ball 95 mph and it wasn’t hit or thrown any slower and he stayed in the game making diving plays and battling, got two hits and an RBI.”

On June 10, the Baltimore Orioles were playing New York’s second-favorite baseball team at Camden Yards.

With the teams tied with three runs each, Luke Scott batted with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. He hit A.J. Burnett’s second pitch to deep right field.

Scott tossed his bat into air and started trotting to first base, thinking he had hit a harmless pop fly ball, but to everyone’s amazement, the ball kept carrying away from the occasionally defensively challenged Nick Swisher.

The ball eluded Swisher’s glove, Scott started to run, and because the ball ricocheted away from Swisher, Scott wound up at third.

Orioles’ announcers Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer laced into Scott something fierce.

Palmer : “Luke Scott, again on Sunday, he didn’t run, and he didn’t run on this ball either, but he gets lucky because Swisher doesn’t know how far it’s gonna carry. Scott thinks he popped it up. You just can’t do that.”

Thorne : “Sorry, I just don’t get it.”

Palmer : “On Sunday, Scott said I gave you everything I had. We know that’s just not true.”

Willie Mays spent 21 months in the army, missing most of the 1952 and all of the 1953 seasons.

The 22-year-old Willie returned to the New York Giants at the beginning of spring training in March 1954. He signed for $13,000.

Willie Mays loved to play ball. It didn’t matter if he played for the Giants, on the streets of Harlem, or in a sandlot game.

For Willie and many others of his era, the emphasis was on the game, not on the money.

“They won’t have trouble with me. I like to play.”

Willie’s enthusiasm carried over to others. He was the team leader without being a general. Willie Mays led by example.

Hanley Ramirez and Luke Scott also led by example.

As Chester A. Riley used to say, “What a revoltin’ development this is.”


Effrat, Louis. “Mays Marks Return to Giants WIth 400-Foot Homer at Phoenix.” New York Times . 3 March 1954, p. 33.

Effrat, Louis. “Lockman, Gomez Arrive at Camp; Mays Gets $13,000 Contract.” New York Times . 4 March 1954, p. 35.

1954 New York Giants

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