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Slower is better in today's game

Originally Published: August 19, 2005
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
"Hitting alone will not win ball games. I want speed on my team, and I also want every man on the squad to know how to slide."
    -- Branch Rickey

"Team speed, fer chrissakes. You get $#%@ little fleas on the #$%@ bases gettin' picked off trying to steal, gettin' thrown out, takin' runs away from ya. Ya get some big #%@$ that can hit the %@$ ball outta the #%@$ ballpark and you can't make any #%@$ mistakes!"
    -- Earl Weaver

As it turns out, Weaver wasn't really so averse to team speed. In 1973, his Baltimore Orioles led the American League in both triples and stolen bases. And except for 1978, when they were 12th in the AL in steals, the Orioles stole a decent number of bases in the mid- to late '70s. And Weaver's teams generally fared quite well, winning five AL East titles and finishing lower than second only twice in the decade.

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