Paging Corey Patterson

“A talented player, he projected as a rookie who would hit, but didn’t seem to react well to the challenge of earning the job. Well, let’s not be coy about it. I don’t know how much truth there is in this, but what I was told is that, with a job virtually handed to him, he displayed what we might call a Miguel Dilone syndrome. He wouldn’t put out any extra effort as a show of good faith., wouldn’t

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take extra hitting practice or work on his defense; he just acted like the job was his. The worse he played, and he played quite badly indeed, the less receptive he became to help. When a young player does that, people say that it doesn’t seem like he wants the job. Well, of course he wants the job; every young baseball player wants to play. What this behavior suggests to me is a player with a deep-rooted lack of confidence. Men who are consumed with a fear of failing often protect themselves from the failure that they subconsciously anticipate by adopting a pose of indiffernece and hostility; any attempt to reach out to such a player would be interpreted as an attempt to force him to make an emotional commitment to the job, and thus would feed the fear and force the player to fortify his defense mechanisms. Such a player would exhibit external signs of self-confidence, and would refuse to make any special efforts to cooperate, as to do so would be a tacit acknowledgment of his unsteady position. Not until the player sheds the label of a hot prospect, and nothing more is expected of him, will the fear subside and the ability once more begin to assert itself. What can be done about it? I don’t think anything can. If a twenty-two-year-old athlete doesn’t believe in himself, deep down, I doubt seriously that there is anything anybody else can do about it that will change that fact. He has terrific talent. He might have a big year sometime. If he can have two straight big years, he might even grow into the confidence that he needs. But I doubt that anybody will ever be able to control his talent.” –Bill James, in 1985, writing about Angel Salazar, whose career line ended up, over five seasons and 886 at-bats, being .212/.230/.270. He finished his career as a Cub, in 1988.

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