The baseball player who needed to talk to the ball


Superstitions abound in the world of sport and it’s not uncommon for even the most skilled sportsmen and women to credit at least a fraction of their success not to the decade they spent dunking on their peers, but a lucky rabbit’s foot or some shit. In the world of baseball arguably the most superstitious player of all was a guy named Schoolboy Rowe. 

A pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and later the less awesomely named Philadelphia Phillies, Rowe possessed a devastating right arm capable of rocketing a baseball toward a player’s dome at Mach 5.

Artist’s interpretation.

The cost of having Rowe’s cannon-like pitching arm on a team though was dealing with his countless eccentricities. A fanatical believer in the power of good luck charms, Rowe would cram his pockets full of as much lucky stuff as he possibly could. Rabbits feet, horse shoes, four leaf clovers, you name it, Rowe probably had it nestled snugly next to his dick while he was pitching along with a bunch of random shit he just knew was lucky but couldn’t explain why like random coins he picked up and a business tie he wore while driving. Rowe however wasn’t sentimental with these trinkets and it’s noted that any good luck charms he happened to have on his person during a losing game would be summarily disposed of. Usually by being thrown out of a hotel window so that the bad juju they were obviously tainted with became the sky’s problem.

By far Rowe’s most unusual superstition though was talking to the ball. During games Rowe could often be observed having a full-blown conversation with the ball before pitching it, sometimes to the point he needed to be reminded to actually throw it. At which point he’d whisper a final word of encouragement to the ball before throwing it with enough force to shatter the skull of a T-800.

Unusually it would seem that this bizarre habit of Rowe’s actually did help him succeed while pitching. How? Well Rowe was, to put it simply, so fucking weird that he unnerved most of the batters he went up against. Said batters would then inevitably mess up their swing and strike out, because seriously, how are you supposed to concentrate with something like that going on?

Eventually curiosity got the better of journalists and rival players and in 1934 when Rowe was in the middle of a hot streak someone worked up the courage to ask him what he was actually saying to the ball. Rowe smiled and explained that before every pitch he told the ball the exact same thing, “Edna, honey, let’s go.” While it would bring us untold joy to report that Edna was Rowe’s pet name for the ball, Edna was actually the name of his high school sweetheart.

In addition to dedicating every single pitch he threw to Edna, Rowe would routinely use radio interviews as an excuse to say hi and ask how she was doing. Something that when coupled with Rowe’s chiselled good looks and ability to throw a small spherical object into low orbit, understandably made him a hit with female fans.

For some reason rival players found this funny and tried to put Rowe off his game by chanting “How’m I doin’, Edna?” (a phrase he’d said while being interviewed once) when he pitched. For some reason these taunts did little to distract the guy who talked to the ball more than his own teammates and Rowe continued to effortlessly strike batters out until the day he retired.

Sadly it would seem Rowe’s superstition caused him to burn through his reserves of luck early and he sadly passed away at age 50. Which we presume was okay with Rowe since it meant he could find and apologise to the remaining three quarters of all the rabbits whose feet he stole.