The Greatest

Sports Quotes

Because if it didn’t work out, I didn’t want to blow the whole day.
-Paul Hornung, Green Bay Packers running back, when asked why his wedding was held in the morning

Jimmy Dugan: Baseball is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up. You can’t deny that.
Dottie: It just got too hard.
Jimmy: It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.
A League of Their Own

People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do, I stare out the window and wait for spring.
-Rogers Hornsby

This is a great time to be alive.
-Richard Cierminello, on college football season

If someone from Germany or somewhere, who had no idea what baseball was, saw
Kruk play, he&#8217d wonder what the beer truck driver was doing playing first base.
-Andy Van Slyke

I would think I drive most hitting coaches crazy. During one single at-bat I used six different stances on six pitches. Oh yeah, I also struck out. So what do I know?
-John Kruk

We weren’t trying to walk him; he just wouldn’t swing at any bad pitches.
-Bobby Cox, on the Braves walking Barry Bonds 7 times in a series

…there is only one game at the heart of America and that is baseball, and only one beverage to be found sloshing at the depths of our national soul and that is beer.
-Peter Richmond

Son, looks to me like you’re spending too much time on one subject.
-Shelby Metcalf, Texas A&M basketball coach, to a player who received four F’s and a D

The other night I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.
-Rodney Dangerfield

I’m glad we don’t have to play in the shade.
-Bobby Jones, golfer, when told it was 105&#176 in the shade

Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It’s staying up all night looking for one that does him in.
-Casey Stengel

When all is said and done, as a rule, more is said than done.
-Lou Holtz

We’re not giving away any football players who could hurt us later. I don’t mind people thinking I’m stupid, but I don’t want to give them any proof.
-Bum Phillips, Houston Oilers coach

Hell no. When I die I want to be sick.
-Abe Lemons, Texas basketball coach, when asked if he jogs

You mean in the state?
-Abe Lemons, when asked if he felt his 1976 University of Texas basketball team should be ranked in the top twenty that season

They wanted to buy out my contract, but I couldn’t make change for a $20, so they had to let me stay.
-Abe Lemons

You may be big in New York, but in Walters, Oklahoma, you’re nobody.
-Abe Lemons, to Howard Cosell

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.
-Vincent T. Lombardi

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.
-Vincent T. Lombardi

I’m no different from anyone else with two arms, two legs, and 4200 hits.
-Pete Rose

I’d get real close to him and breathe on his goggles.
-Johnny Kerr, on how he would guard Kareem Abdul-Jabaar

Trying to sneak a pitch past Hank Aaron is like trying to sneak the sunrise past a rooster.
-Joe Adcock, Milwaukee Braves first baseman

It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.
Mark Twain

Statistics always remind me of the fellow who drowned in a river whose average depth was three feet.
-Woody Hayes, Ohio State football coach

My wife made me a millionaire. I used to have three million.
-Bobby Hull

I had a better year than he did.
-Babe Ruth, on why President Hoover made less than the $80,000 Ruth was demanding in 1930

Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it.
-Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers coach

All the fat guys watch me and say to their wives, “See, there’s a fat guy doing okay. Bring me another beer.”
-Mickey Lolich, Detroit Tigers pitcher

Last season we couldn’t win at home and we were losing on the road. My failure as a coach was that I couldn’t think of anyplace else to play.
-Harry Neale, NHL coach

I found out that it’s not good to talk about my troubles. Eighty percent of the people who hear them don’t care and the other twenty percent are glad you’re having trouble.
-Tommy Lasorda

I tell him, “Attaway to hit, George.”
-Jim Frey, Kansas City Royals manager, on the advice he gives George Brett on hitting

I left because of illness and fatigue. The fans were sick and tired of me.
-John Ralston, former Denver Broncos coach

Blind people come to the park just to listen to him pitch.
-Reggie Jackson, on Tom Seaver

Who’s the one guy who thinks we can do it?
-Mike Gottfried, Kansas football coach, on learning that the odds against Kansas winning the Big Eight were 100 to 1

I don’t want to play golf. When I hit a ball I want someone else to go chase it.
-Rogers Hornsby

It helps if the hitter thinks you’re a little crazy.
-Nolan Ryan

Wouldn’t it be interesting to have an occasional zebra in a horse race?
-The Vent

Oral sex should be an Olympic sport. Why? Because it’s harder than curling, and if you’re any good at it, you deserve a medal.
-Lewis Black

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.
Dave Barry

He&#8217s [Stu Miller] got a fastball you could catch in your teeth. Three pitch speeds: slow, slower, and reverse.
-Coach Jim Murray

Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice versa.
-Casey Stengel

Never in the history of Major League Baseball have so many been paid so much to play so poorly.
-The Vent

We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.

-Vince Lombardi

That was just instinct. Kind of like running from the cops.
-Marquis Weeks, Virginia running back, on a kickoff return for a touchdown

I should have shut up when I went up there and talked to Carlton Fisk.
-Pete Rose, on giving Fisk a little extra inspiration and energy by telling him this was the greatest game he’d ever seen or played in when he came to the plate towards the end of game 6 of the 1975 World Series

People in New England think that the Red Sox won that series, three games to four.
-Carlton Fisk

I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball.
-Pete Rose

Does Pete hustle? Before the All-Star Game he came into the clubhouse and took off his shoes and they ran another mile without him.
-Hank Aaron

You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat.
-Christy Mathewson

The two most important things in life: good friends and a strong bullpen.
-Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher in baseball. He is always pitching when the other team doesn’t score any runs.
-Tim McCarver

I could have played another year, but I would have been playing for the money, and baseball deserves better than that.
-George Brett

If he can hit .350, we figured he could see.
-Harley Duncan, of the Missouri DMV, on why they waived the eye test for George Brett

Anybody with ability can play in the big leagues. But to be able to trick people year in and year out the way I did, I think that was a much greater feat.
-Bob Uecker

In 1962 I was named Minor League Player of the Year. It was my second season in the bigs.
-Bob Uecker

I set records that will never be equaled. In fact, I hope 90% of them don’t even get printed.
-Bob Uecker

I signed with the Milwaukee Braves for three thousand dollars. That bothered my dad at the time because he didn’t have that kind of dough. But he eventually scraped it up.
-Bob Uecker

Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.
-Ted Williams

Man may penetrate the outer reaches of the universe, he may solve the very secret of eternity itself, but for me, the ultimate human experience is to witness the flawless execution of a hit-and-run.
-Branch Rickey

[T]here are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary. And there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance.
-Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon), Bull Durham

Cool Papa Bell was so fast he could get out of bed, turn out the lights across the room, and be back in bed under the covers before the lights went out.
-Josh Gibson

Once he hit a line drive right past my ear. I turned around and saw the ball hit his ass sliding into second.
-Satchel Paige, on Cool Papa Bell

I don’t believe what I just saw!
-Jack Buck, on Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run off of Dennis Eckersley in game 1 of the 1988 World Series

As I grew up, I knew that as a building, it [Fenway Park] was on the level of Mount Olympus, the Pyramid at Giza, the nation’s capitol, the czar’s Winter Palace, and the Louvre—except, of course, that it is better than all those inconsequential places.
-MLB Commissioner Bart Giamatti

The way to make coaches think you’re in shape in the spring is to get a tan.
-Whitey Ford

We are a much improved ball club: now we lose in extra innings!
-Casey Stengel, Mets manager

I’ll never forget September 6, 1950. I got a letter threatening me, Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra, and Johnny Mize. It said if I showed up in uniform against the Red Sox I’d be shot. I turned the letter over to the FBI and told my manager, Casey Stengel, about it. You know what Casey did? He gave me a different uniform and gave mine to Billy Martin. Can you imagine that! Guess Casey thought it’d be better if Billy got shot.
-Phil Rizzuto

I cannot get rid of the hurt from losing, but after the last out of every loss, I must accept that there will be a tomorrow. In fact, it’s more than there’ll be a tomorrow, it’s that I want there to be a tomorrow. That’s the big difference, I want tomorrow to come.
-Sparky Anderson

I’ve changed my mind about it: instead of being bad, it stinks.
-Sparky Anderson, on the designated hitter

Problem with [John] Wockenfuss getting on base is that it takes three doubles to score him.
-Sparky Anderson

The only thing bad about winning the pennant is that you have to manage the All-Star Game the next year. I’d rather go fishing for three days.
-Whitey Herzog

He is not a dog; a dog is loyal and runs after balls.
-Tommy Lasorda, on Darryl Strawberry

I love doubleheaders. That way I get to keep my uniform on longer.
-Tommy Lasorda

He makes it look easy. You wish there was another league he could get called up to.
-Dwight Gooden, on Greg Maddux

We consider ourselves the luckiest fans on the face of the Earth.
-sign at Camden Yards during Cal Ripken’s consecutive-games-played streak

Losing feels worse than winning feels good.
-Vin Scully

My kids used to do things to aggravate me, too. I’d take them to a game, and they’d want to come home with a different player.
-Bob Uecker

Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket. According to the percentage people, you should be perfectly comfortable.
-Bobby Bragan

The first time I faced him I watched him take that easy windup and then something went past me that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn’t touch him… Every one of us knew we’d met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park.
-Ty Cobb, on Walter Johnson

If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.
-Vincent T. Lombardi

The future is much like the present, only longer.
-Don Quisenberry

I don’t know how old I am because a goat ate the Bible that had my birth certificate in it. The goat lived to be twenty-seven.
-Satchel Paige

USC would take Ohio State and break ’em across their knee and say, “We’re not giving you a rematch until you learn how to throw the ball.”
-J.T. the Brick, November 2005, on why the Pac-10 was the best conference that year

To answer that question honestly, I’d have to lie to you.
-Isiah Thomas

No wonder all those guys tried to punch him in the face. Did you ever wonder if Jeff Kent was right?
-Scott Ferrall, on Barry Bonds

But my point is that competitive eating is a real sport, and I considered taking it up. But when I thought about what this would mean&#8212sitting around for hours, stuffing my face with unhealthy food&#8212I realized it was basically the same thing as journalism.
Dave Barry

The weightlifting competition I saw was the women’s 63 kg class. I’m not sure whether this means the actual women weighed 63 kg or the weights they lifted weighed 63 kg. Or possibly the temperature in the weightlifting hall was 63 kg. There’s no way to know for sure without finding out what a “kg” is, and my belief, as an American, is that if I have to start understanding the metric system, then the terrorists have won.
-Dave Barry

[O]rganized violence punctuated by committee meetings.
-George Will, defining football

Did you guys take enough freakin’ pictures already?
-Tiger Woods

No woman of quality has ever preferred football to baseball.
-Tom Boswell, “Why is baseball so much better than football?”

Nobody on earth really knows what pass interference is. Part judgment, part acting, mostly accident.
-Tom Boswell

All I remember about my wedding day in 1967 is that the Cubs lost a double-header.
-George Will

Baseball is Heaven’s gift to mortals.
-George Will

Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.
-George Will

There is no written rule, but it is part of baseball’s rich common law that batters shall not glance back to see where the catcher is setting up because that reveals the intended pitch location. A catcher may give a peeking batter a polite warning. If the batter is a recidivist, the catcher then may set up outside but call for a pitch inside. When the batter leans out toward where he thinks the pitch is going, his ribs receive a lesson about respecting the common law. Sport is a moral undertaking because it requires of participants, and it schools spectators in the appreciation of, noble things&#8212courage, grace under pressure, sportsmanship. Sport should be the triumph of character, openly tested, not of technology, surreptitiously employed.
-George Will

We have three receivers, Tennessee playing what amounts to a 4-4. Fake, and there’s a&#8212touchdown! Touchdown! My god, a touchdown! We threw it to Haynes! We just dumped it with 5 seconds left. My God Almighty, did you see what he did?! David Greene just straightened up and we snuck the fullback over. Haynes is keeping the ball. Haynes has come running all the way across to the bench. We just dumped it over, it’s 26-24. We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose! We just crushed their face…
-Larry Munson

“Who’s On First” by Abbott and Costello

Listen to a recording of Abbott and Costello performing “Who’s On First”!

Abbott: Well Costello, I’m going to New York with you. You know Bucky Harris, the Yankees’ manager, gave me a job as coach for as long as you’re on the team.

Costello: Look, Abbott, if you’re the coach, you must know all the players.

Abbott: I certainly do.

Costello: Well, you know, I’ve never met the guys. So you’ll have to tell me their names, and then I’ll know who’s playing on the team.

Abbott: Oh, I’ll tell you their names, but, you know, it’s strange to me, they give these ballplayers now-a-days very peculiar names.

Costello: You mean funny names?

Abbott: Strange names, pet names…like Dizzy Dean…

Costello: His brother Daffy.

Abbott: Daffy Dean…

Costello: And their French cousin.

Abbott: French?

Costello: Goof&#233.

Abbott: Goof&#233 Dean. Well, let’s see, we have on the bags, Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third…

Costello: That’s what I want to find out.

Abbott: I say Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third.

Costello: Are you the manager?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: You gonna be the coach too?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: And you don’t know the fellows’ names?

Abbott: Well, I should.

Costello: Well, then who’s on first?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: I mean the fellow’s name.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy on first.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The first baseman.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy playing first.

Abbott: Who is on first!

Costello: I’m asking YOU who’s on first.

Abbott: That’s the man’s name.

Costello: That’s who’s name?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.

Abbott: That’s it.

Costello: That’s who?

Abbott: Yes.

PAUSE

Costello: Look, you gotta first baseman?

Abbott: Certainly.

Costello: Who’s playing first?

Abbott: That’s right.

Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?

Abbott: Every dollar of it.

Costello: All I’m trying to find out is the fellow’s name on first base.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy that gets…

Abbott: That’s it.

Costello: Who gets the money…

Abbott: He does, every dollar. Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

Costello: Who’s wife?

Abbott: Yes.

PAUSE

Abbott: What’s wrong with that?

Costello: Look, all I wanna know is when you sign up the first baseman, how does he sign his name?

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: How does he sign…

Abbott: That’s how he signs it.

Costello: Who?

Abbott: Yes.

PAUSE

Costello: All I’m trying to find out is what’s the guy’s name on first base.

Abbott: No. What is on second base.

Costello: I’m not asking you who’s on second.

Abbott: Who’s on first.

Costello: One base at a time!

Abbott: Well, don’t change the players around.

Costello: I’m not changing nobody!

Abbott: Take it easy, buddy.

Costello: I’m only asking you, who’s the guy on first base?

Abbott: That’s right.

Costello: Ok.

Abbott: All right.

PAUSE

Costello: What’s the guy’s name on first base?

Abbott: No. What is on second.

Costello: I’m not asking you who’s on second.

Abbott: Who’s on first.

Costello: I don’t know.

Abbott: He’s on third, we’re not talking about him.

Costello: Now, how did I get on third base?

Abbott: Why, you mentioned his name.

Costello: If I mentioned the third baseman’s name, who did I say is playing third?

Abbott: No. Who’s playing first.

Costello: What’s on base?

Abbott: What’s on second.

Costello: I don’t know.

Abbott: He’s on third.

Costello: There I go, back on third again!

PAUSE

Costello: Would you just stay on third base and don’t go off it?

Abbott: All right, what do you want to know?

Costello: Now who’s playing third base?

Abbott: Why do you insist on putting Who on third base?

Costello: What am I putting on third.

Abbott: No. What is on second.

Costello: You don’t want who on second?

Abbott: Who is on first.

Costello: I don’t know.

Abbott & Costello Together: Third base!

PAUSE

Costello: Look, you gotta outfield?

Abbott: Sure.

Costello: The left fielder’s name?

Abbott: Why.

Costello: I just thought I’d ask you.

Abbott: Well, I just thought I’d tell ya.

Costello: Then tell me who’s playing left field.

Abbott: Who’s playing first.

Costello: I’m not… stay out of the infield! I want to know what’s the guy’s name in left field?

Abbott: No, What is on second.

Costello: I’m not asking you who’s on second.

Abbott: Who’s on first!

Costello: I don’t know.

Abbott & Costello together: Third base!

PAUSE

Costello: The left fielder’s name?

Abbott: Why.

Costello: Because!

Abbott: Oh, he’s centerfield.

PAUSE

Costello: Look, You gotta pitcher on this team?

Abbott: Sure.

Costello: The pitcher’s name?

Abbott: Tomorrow.

Costello: You don’t want to tell me today?

Abbott: I’m telling you now.

Costello: Then go ahead.

Abbott: Tomorrow!

Costello: What time?

Abbott: What time what?

Costello: What time tomorrow are you gonna tell me who’s pitching?

Abbott: Now listen. Who is not pitching. Who is&#8212

Costello: I’ll break your arm, you say who’s on first! I want to know what’s the pitcher’s name?

Abbott: What’s on second.

Costello: I don’t know.

Abbott & Costello Together: Third base!

PAUSE

Costello: Gotta a catcher?

Abbott: Certainly.

Costello: The catcher’s name?

Abbott: Today.

Costello: Today, and tomorrow’s pitching.

Abbott: Now you’ve got it.

Costello: All we got is a couple of days on the team.

PAUSE

Costello: You know I’m a catcher, too.

Abbott: So they tell me.

Costello: I get behind the plate to do some fancy catching, Tomorrow’s pitching on my team and a heavy hitter gets up. Now the heavy hitter bunts the ball. When he bunts the ball, me, being a good catcher, I’m gonna throw the guy out at first base. So I pick up the ball and throw it to who?

Abbott: Now that’s the first thing you’ve said right.

Costello: I don’t even know what I’m talking about!

PAUSE

Abbott: That’s all you have to do.

Costello: Is to throw the ball to first base.

Abbott: Yes!

Costello: Now who’s got it?

Abbott: Naturally.

PAUSE

Costello: Look, if I throw the ball to first base, somebody’s gotta get it. Now who has it?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Who?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Naturally?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: So I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.

Abbott: No, you don’t, you throw the ball to Who.

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That’s different.

Costello: That’s what I said.

Abbott: You’re not saying that…

Costello: I throw the ball to Naturally.

Abbott: You throw it to Who.

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That’s it.

Costello: That’s what I said!

Abbott: You ask me.

Costello: I throw the ball to who?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Now you ask me.

Abbott: You throw the ball to Who?

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That’s it.

Costello: Same as you! Same as YOU! I throw the ball to Who. Whoever it is drops the ball and the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to What. What throws it to I Don’t Know. I Don’t Know throws it back to Tomorrow, triple play. Another guy gets up and hits a long fly ball to Because. Why? I don’t know! He’s on third and I don’t give a damn!

Abbott: What?

Costello: I said I don’t give a damn!

Abbott: Oh, that’s our shortstop.