Ron Swoboda on Outfield Play


Before Endy Chavez, “The Catch” in Mets history referred to the diving snare made by Ron Swoboda in the 1969 World Series.

I had the great pleasure of talking to Ron about that catch and how he turned himself — through hard work, pride, and dedication — into a Major League outfielder capable of making one of the most legendary catches in the history of New York baseball.

If you are an outfielder, a parent of an outfielder, or a baseball coach, you must listen to this podcast, because Ron provides plenty of tips and techniques on how to play the outfield — and he pulls no punches (there’s one part where he criticizes Shane Victorino!).

You can listen to the podcast through iTunes or at the site here:
Ron Swoboda on Outfield Play

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Harry Chiti December 18, 2009 at 9:36 am
    Swoboda’s catch was the catch and is the catch. Too many think that baseball history is the last few years and nothing more. Swoboda’s catch saved a World Series game and was made by a guy with a reputation as something less than a golden glove. Chavez’ catch was a playoff game, didn’t result in a win and ultimately only was the last high point of what has become the horrid and humiliating reign of Omar Minaya and Jeff Wilpon.
  2. Mike December 18, 2009 at 11:32 am
    Harry, I’m 24, I barely even know who Ron Swoboda is. Too often older people forget that younger people need to actually engage the topic to learn about it. Actually I think I’m agreeing with you, baseball’s lesser known history (specifically the Mets’ history) should be celebrated and talked about more.
  3. joejanish December 18, 2009 at 12:51 pm
    Harry – I’m with you, and Mike has a good point: maybe if the Mets did more to celebrate their past history, the youngins’ would be more apt to embrace past heroes and events.

    It drives me nuts that the Yankees regularly promote their history through their TV station with shows like Yankeeography, and the Mets don’t take advantage of their opportunity to do the same with SNY.

    How many years was SNY broadcasting before they showed some of the ’69 WS games? And now they’re finally bringing out some other items, like the “yearbook” shows from the 60s. It’s a start, but still way below what should have already been happening. There ought to be an entire 60-minute show about Ron Swoboda’s career, leading up to The Catch, just like Yankees do with seemingly every player ever to wear the uniform (except Horace Clarke LOL!). Last night I watched the “Yankeeography” of Mike Mussina. Really? Mike Mussina? Why can’t I as a Mets fan watch a similar show about Jerry Koosman or Jerry Grote or even Lee Mazzilli?

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  6. Lorrin Bird October 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm
    Baseball stats suggest that Swoboda was actually a good defensive right fielder, better than outfielders who were known as defensive stalwarts.

    Based on the ratio of putouts per inning, Swoboda usually had a higher ratio than the other rightfielders on his team, whether the Mets or Yankees. One year Swoboda had a higher ratio than Gaspar, who was known as a good outfielder. I tracked Swoboda from his first year with the Mets to the last year with the Yankees, and even during his first year his outfield stats were good.

    Fan anecdotes about Swoboda note many great and memorable catches.

  7. Lorrin Bird October 14, 2010 at 7:47 pm
    Just looked at the stats I prepared for 1965, which are eye opening.

    During 1965, Swoboda had a higher ratio of putouts per inning in centerfield than Billy Cowan, Cleon Jones and Johnny Lewis. In rightfield, Swoboda had a higher ratio than Johnny Lewis and Joe Christopher.

    My recollection is that Cown was a good centerielder, and Lewis was no slouch in rightfield.

    Putouts per inning is a function of range, positioning, sure handedness and many other factors. Swoboda tended to have the highest, or close to highest ratio on the teams he played on, which strongly suggests that the ratio indicates good fielding skills.