Tom House: Wikis

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Tom House
Pitcher
Born: April 29, 1947 (1947-04-29) (age 62)
Seattle, Washington
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
June 23, 1971 for the Atlanta Braves
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1978 for the Seattle Mariners
Career statistics
Win-loss record     29-23
Earned run average     3.79
Strikeouts     261
Teams

Thomas Ross House (born April 29, 1947 in Seattle, Washington) is a former Major League Baseball player, as well as an author and a pitching coach. A left-handed relief pitcher, House batted from the left side. He is 5'11" tall, and his official playing weight was 190 pounds.

Contents

Baseball career

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Player

House pitched at the University of Southern California, and he began his professional career after the Atlanta Braves selected him with the 48th overall pick of the 1967 draft's secondary phase, as part of the draft's third round. He had passed up an earlier chance to turn pro two years before, when the Chicago Cubs used the 201st overall pick to take him in the 11th round of the June draft's main phase.

Advancing quickly through the Braves' system, House made his major league debut on June 23, 1971, pitching one inning in relief of Pat Jarvis in the seventh inning of a 6-3 loss to the Montreal Expos.[1] Relying mainly on a curveball and a screwball, House was an important part of the Braves' bullpen in the mid-1970s. His best season was 1974, when he pitched 102 2/3 innings, all in relief, with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. His 38 games finished ranked seventh in the National League, and his 11 saves were good for fifth. House also ranked among the league leaders in those categories in 1975, when his 45 games finished ranked third, and his 11 saves placed tenth.

On December 12, 1975, the Braves traded House to the Boston Red Sox, in exchange for another left-handed reliever, Roger Moret. After he spent 1976 in Boston, the Red Sox sold his contract to the Seattle Mariners, an expansion team, early in the 1977 season. House concluded his major league career after two seasons with the Mariners in 1977 and 1978. He finished with 29 wins, 23 losses, 34 saves, and a 3.79 ERA in 536 major league innings.

Coach

After his retirement as a player, House became a pitching coach. He holds a PhD in Psychology, with a focus in sports psychology. Early in his career, he employed unusual methods such as having pitchers under his tutelage throw a football, but has since retracted those views.[2]

House became the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers in 1985, during which time he was notable for his work with Nolan Ryan. During Ryan's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 25, 1999, he credited House as a positive influence on his career, saying:

"While I was [with the Rangers] I was very fortunate to have a pitching coach by the name of Tom House. And Tom and I are of the same age and Tom is a coach that is always on the cutting edge. And I really enjoyed our association together and he would always come up with new training techniques that we would try and see how they would work in to my routine. And because of our friendship and Tom pushing me, I think I got in the best shape of my life during the years that I was with the Rangers."[3]

House has also worked as a coach for the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, and Chiba Lotte Marines. He is an advisor with the American Sports Medicine Institute, and is the co-founder of the National Pitching Association. Through the NPA, he runs a series of camps and clinics for athletes, and markets a series of instructional videos for young baseball players. House has also written or co-written nineteen instructional books on baseball, as well as an autobiography.

In 1998, the American Baseball Coaches Association presented House with a lifetime achievement award.

Historical legacy

Steroids

House has admitted to using steroids in the 1970s, making him one of the earliest players to admit to using performance-enhancing drugs. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he described his use of steroids as "a failed experiment", although he increased from around 190 pounds to around 220 while using them. He viewed the experience as a failure since the extra muscle did not enhance his substandard 82-MPH fastball, while the drugs contributed to knee problems, eventually necessitating a total of seven operations. He claims to have stopped using them after learning about the potential long-term effects of steroid use in college classes during the off-season.

House has stated that "six or seven" pitchers on every major league staff in the 1970s were "fiddling" with steroids or human growth hormone. He attributes players' willingness to experiment with performance-enhancing substances to the permissiveness of the drug culture of the 1960s, and he believes that steroid use has declined in major league baseball since the 1970s, as players have become more aware of the potential long-term drawbacks.[4]

Aaron's home run

House and Hank Aaron were both members of the Braves in 1974, the season when Aaron broke Babe Ruth's record for career home runs. Aaron hit the record-setting 715th home run in the fourth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, on April 8, 1974, against pitcher Al Downing. The ball landed in the Braves' bullpen in left-center field, where it was caught on the fly by House. The game stopped to celebrate the achievement, and after sprinting to the infield, House presented the ball to Aaron at home plate. His only payment was a TV given by a local store.[5] Photos of House catching and presenting the ball are often included in displays honoring Aaron's achievement, such as the one at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Aaron admitted later to not recognizing House when he delivered the ball. House's youthful appearance and glasses, plus his wearing a warmup jacket over his uniform, led Aaron to believe he was one of the Braves' batboys.

Partial bibliography

  • The Winning Pitcher: Baseball's Top Pitchers Demonstrate What it Takes to Be an Ace, NTC Publishing Group, 1988. ISBN 0-8092-4878-6.
  • Jock's Itch: The Fast-Track Private World of the Professional Ballplayer, NTC Publishing Group, 1989. ISBN 0-8092-4779-8.
  • Diamond Appraised: A World-Class Theorist and a Major League Coach Square off on Timeless Topics in the Game of Baseball, Simon & Schuster, 1989. ISBN 0-671-67769-1. (With Craig T. Wright.)
  • Nolan Ryan's Pitcher's Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Power, Precision and Long-Term Performance, Simon & Schuster, 1991. ISBN 0-671-70581-4. (With Nolan Ryan and Jim Rosenthal.)
  • Play Ball: The New Baseball Basics for Youth Coaches, Parents, and Kids, West Publishing Company, 1993. ISBN 0-314-02575-8. (With Coop DeRenne, Thomas W. Harris, and Barton Buxton.)
  • Power Baseball, West Publishing Company, 1993. ISBN 0-314-01849-2. (With Coop DeRenne and Thomas W. Harris.)
  • Pitching Edge, Human Kinetics Publishers, 1994. ISBN 0-87322-503-1.
  • Fit to Pitch, Human Kinetics Publishers, 1996. ISBN 0-87322-882-0. (With Randy Johnson.)
  • Stronger Arms and Upper Body, Human Kinetics Publishers, 2000. ISBN 0-88011-977-2.
  • The Picture Perfect Pitcher, Coaches Choice Books, 2003. ISBN 1-58518-602-3. (With Paul Reddick.)
  • The Art and Science of Pitching, Coaches Choice Books, 2006. ISBN 1-58518-960-X. (With Gary Heil and Steve Johnson.)

References

  1. ^ Retrosheet Boxscore: Montreal Expos 6, Atlanta Braves 3
  2. ^ An ounce of prevention: in the quest to keep pitchers from breaking down, a slowly growing contingent believes 'prehab' and its scientific components just might be the cure | Sporting News, The | Find Articles at BNET.com
  3. ^ http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hof_weekend/1999/speeches/ryan_nolan.htm
  4. ^ House a 'failed experiment' with steroids
  5. ^ CNN/SI - Baseball MLB - 715: Hank Aaron's Glorious Ordeal - Monday April 05, 1999 01:26 PM

External links


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