The unusual collaboration among co-authors Dusty Baker, Jeff Mercer and Marv Bittinger works! In fact, their first book and video series, You Can Teach Hitting, sold more than 55,000 copies. Indeed, as Dusty travels the world over, he has received the plaudits of numerous coaches and players who have testified that this instruction has turned their programs around.
Cincinnati Reds Manager Dusty Baker was a major-league player for 19 years, manager for more than 20, and is noted
Dusty has been a strong factor in the development of outstanding hitters such as Will Clark, Matt Williams, Kevin Mitchell, Moisés Alou, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. He is a four-time winner of the NL Manager of the Year award in 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2002. Dusty was inducted into United States Black Hall of Fame and Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
He finished his playing career with a .278 batting average, 242 home runs, 1,013 runs batted in, and 1981 hits. Dusty’s playing accomplishments include being a member of the National League All-Star team in 1981 and 1982, winning three League Championship series in 1977(MVP), 1978, and 1981,
and a World Series title in 1981 with the Dodgers. He won a Gold Glove in 1981 and a Silver Slugger Award in each of 1980 and 1981. Dusty served as an ESPN analyst during the 2006 MLB Postseason and in a similar role throughout the 2007 season.
Two historical events involved Dusty Baker on the last day of the regular season in 1977. Baker had just homered off the feared Astros pitcher, J.R. Richard. The first event was the fact that it was Baker’s 30th home run, completing the fourth of four sluggers – Baker, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey and Reggie Smith to have at least 30 homers each in one season – the first time in baseball history. The second historical event occurred at home plate in the ensuing celebration. Glenn Burke, raised his hand over his head and arched his back, to greet his teammate at the plate. Baker, in joy, but not knowing what to do, smacked it. “His hand was up in the air, is there a generic viagra and he was arching way back,” says Baker, “So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do”. This was considered the first occurrence of the so-called “High Five,” though its certainty is difficult to document.
Jeff Mercer is a highly regarded hitting instructor of youngsters, high school, college and major-league hitters. For better than 30 years, he has coached baseball at virtually every level of play, serving as a high school head coach, Division I assistant, and head coach and Board member in the Indiana Bulls travel organization. Along the way, he has assisted scores of young men in achieving their dream of playing baseball at the collegiate and professional levels, in particular, Scott Rolen, presently of the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1989, Jeff’s approach to hitting lifted Indiana University’s team batting average from .303 to .353, first in the Big Ten and second in the nation. That Hoosier team set eight Big Ten records, and the following year Indiana produced the Big Ten individual batting champion, Bill Jordan. In 1983, Mike Smith, another of Jeff’s Indiana University recruits, won college baseball’s Triple Crown. In the early 1990s Jeff introduced the baseball training industry to Indiana, and worked annually with hundreds of players ages 8-18. It’s no wonder Jeff is the most highly respected hitting instructor in Indiana.
Marv Bittinger has an impassioned love of baseball and is a university mathematics professor and best-selling mathematics textbook author for Pearson Education. He has been teaching and writing mathematics at the university level for more than 40 years. Employed at Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis in 1968, he is now Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Education. Marv has also delivered lectures such as Baseball & Mathematics at mathematics conventions. While his baseball playing and coaching exploits pale compared to those of Dusty or Jeff, he has participated well into age 60 in more than 25 adult baseball fantasy camps with the Dodgers, Giants and Reds.