The old baseball saying is that pitching can be summed up in two words—“throw strikes.” Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda is said to have advised a trouble pitcher on the mound with:
“Two words: Throw fucking strikes.”
“Two words: throw strikes” was cited in print in 1982, when it was associated with New York Mets manager George Bamberger (1923-2004). It is not known if Lasorda or Bamberger or someone else was the first to say this popular baseball pitching advice.
25 May 1981, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), “Youth sports and the family” by Fred Heinlen, pg. 6-C, col. 3:
Eliminate two words one hears constantly being called out to a pitcher as he struggles—throw strikes. A pitcher is the last person in the word who wants to throw anything but strikes.
11 May 1982, The Christian Science Monitor (Boston, MA), “Mets bring in new manager, slugger in effort to lure New York fans: George Bamberger handed reins of team that now boasts George Foster’s bat” buy Phil Elderkin, pg. 16, col. 3:
George is an open, uncomplicated man, whose simple approach to pitching is summed up in two words: throw strikes.
Google News Archive
31 July 2003, The Blade (Toledo, OH), “Future,” pg. C6, col. 2:
Only two words are needed to sum up the route this 23-year-old needs to take to get back to the major leagues: throw strikes.
I Live for This!:
Baseball’s Last True Believer
By Bill Plaschke with Tommy Lasorda
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company
Lasorda summoned Welch from the bullpen, and instead of giving him a pep talk, he handed him the ball, shrugged, and uttered two words: “Throw strikes.”
Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual
By Geoff Young
San Diego, CA: Ducksnorts
The Padres’ philosophy when it comes to pitching can be summed up in two words: “throw strikes.”
Lindberg walked two straight with 6-0 lead. Short meeting on the mound. Probably just two words. Throw strikes. Unless another word added.
3:33 PM - 27 May 2013
Grand Junction, CO
I’m gonna write a book, call it “How to Pitch” and it’ll have two words in it which will be, “Throw strikes”
12:56 AM - 15 Apr 2015
Buchholz is like the old joke about the pitching coach: “I got two words for you kid; throw fucking strikes!”
7:35 PM - 21 Sep 2016