Ask Hal: Does Reds home-run leader need more protection from pitchers?

Derek Dietrich recently was hit by a pitch six times in a series vs. the Milwaukee Brewers

Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy knows a thing or two about our nation’s pastime. Tap into that knowledge by sending an email to

Q: Did you make a bid for the Babe Ruth jersey that sold for $5.64 million? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Beavercreek/Centerville.

A: I chose to remain anonymous and I stopped bidding at $5.64. The most expensive shirt I own cost $98 at Von Maur and Nadine won’t let me wear it because I’d spill coffee on it. I do have my Kent State University baseball jersey. How much do you think it would fetch?

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Q: Should Derek Dietrich invest in some Kevlar after what the Milwaukee pitching staff did to him? — JOHN, Oxford.

A: The Brewers hit him six times in three games, an all-time record. Dietrich doesn't need Kevlar. He already wears enough body armor to compete in a joust. Getting hit isn't unusual for him. He has been hit 108 times in his career, 15 times this season. The man is fearless. If a pitch is inside, he merely turns his back and permits the ball to hit him. The rules say a player must attempt to get out of the way of pitches but the umpires aren't enforcing it. Dietrich's favorite colors are black and blue.

Q: I notice that more and more pitchers are pitching from the stretch position with no runners on base instead of taking a full wind-up and what’s the reason for that? — STEVE, Brookville.

A: It’s a matter of comfort level. Some pitchers feel they have better command and control from the stretch. And some pitchers prefer to throw every pitch with the same motion so they pitch out of the stretch all the time, even with nobody on base. Some pitchers throw from the stretch all the time from force of habit because they always have runners on base.

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Q: Did the Reds’ Joe Adcock hit four home runs and a double at the Polo Grounds in the 50’s? — LARRY, Centerville.

A: No, yes, no. Adcock played for the Reds in the early 1950s, but he hit four home runs and a double for the Milwaukee Braves on July 31, 1954. And it wasn’t the Polo Grounds, it was at Ebbets Field against the Brooklyn Dodgers. He hit the four homers off four different pitchers — Don Newcombe, Clem Labine, Erv Palica and Pete Wojay. His 18 total bases was a record. Adcock also was the guy who broke up the perfect game by Harvey Haddix. Haddix pitched 12 perfect innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but Adcock doubled in the 13th inning and the Braves scored to win, 1-0.

Q: Am I right to cringe when Jose Peraza is in the outfield and a ball is hit his way? — BARRY, Bellbrook.

A: It would be better to shut your eyes. In fairness, Peraza is an infielder, not an outfielder and rarely played there until this year. Manager David Bell mostly uses him out there to get a right-handed bat in the lineup against a left-handed pitcher. He is hoping Peraza drives in more runs than he lets in. To me, Phillip Ervin is a much better option.

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Q: Why the black circle with ’20’ on it over the heart on the Reds’ uniforms? — ALLAN, Springfield.

A: That is in memory of former Reds superstar Frank Robinson, who passed away earlier this year. Robinson’s No. 20 has been retired by the Reds and no player on the Reds will ever wear it. It is fairly common for most teams to honor past superstars in that manner. In my baseball career I wore 1, 7, 12, 23 and 31, none of which has been retired by the teams for which I played.

Q: Did Morganna ever kiss any member of the Cincinnati Reds? — KOZ, Trenton.

A: Morganna Roberts, The Kissing Bandit, actually made her smooch-stealing debut in 1970 when she ran onto the Riverfront Stadium playing field and kissed Peter Edward Rose. She said she did it on a friend’s “dirty double dare.” She said Rose used foul language and hurt her feelings. After the Rose encounter she ran onto fields to kiss 18 baseball players and she hit George Brett twice. She was arrested 20 times. Unfortunately, she never invaded the press box.

Q: Marty Brennaman takes days off, sometimes a week, but you are long past Lou Gehrig for consecutive games covered, so what’s your secret to stamina? — GREG, Beavercreek.

A: Right now it is a comfortable black leather lounge chair in The Man Cave to cover road games via a Sony Smart TV. For more than four decades, Marty and I seldom missed a game, home or away. Now I just cover home games in person. It’s called age. The last couple of years Marty has taken time off and we all know he more than deserves it. He is slowly winding down his fabulous career. I, too, am slowing down in deference to Mother Nature.


Q: New York Mets manager Mickey Calloway had a confrontation with one of his beat writers, so do you have a similar story and what was your question to which manager? — RON, Vandalia.

A: Fortunately, no. In my 46 years covering the Reds I have dealt with 19 managers and had great relationships with all of them. Not one ever raised his voice to me. Maybe my questions aren’t tough enough. In fact, I only witnessed one managerial explosion and that was when Bryan Price unleashed 77 expletives at a Cincinnati writer.

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