A coach who deftly balances the mentor-peer relationship.
Los Angeles, CA (BDCi) – Former Major League Baseball pitcher Jeff Suppan, MVP of the 2006 National League Championship Series was Westchester Little League’s special guest this past weekend, where the retired athlete talked to youth players and coaches about pitching techniques.
Pitching Fundamental Clinic
Not even bad weather kept the Westchester, California community from coming out and spending a couple hours listening to Mr. Suppan, also known as Soup, share the knowledge and stories accumulated from his 17-year MLB career.
A sizeable group gathered at the Visitation Hall for a chance to learn and enhance their pitching techniques with the guidance of the former professional who played for many big league clubs, most notably the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox.
Suppan went over the fundamentals of throwing first since it is the basis for pitching. Ever into the details, he covered the proper placement of feet, hand, arms and eyes in the throwing motion. Many lucky volunteers in the audience were welcome to join Jeff for one on one coaching.
During his career, he was labeled a finesse pitcher, using a variety of pitches that emphasizes good movement to create weak contact for hitters. His expansive pitch repertoire included a four-seam fastball and sinker delivered in the mid-upper 80s, a cut fastball, a changeup, a big curveball and a slider.
I recall my brother hollering at me from the stands to “Just Throw Strikes.”. I was never not trying to throw strikes while I was on the mound. So that reminded me to communicate with pitchers while they are struggling to go ahead and Challenge the Batter. That’s all, a simple statement “Challenge the Batter,” coaches remember this because it will help your pitchers.
This hometown athlete officially retired from Major League Baseball in 2014. His last pro season was 2012, when he split time between the San Diego Padres and their Triple-A affiliate.
In an interview with a local television station, the former Crespi High standout said “It took a year, maybe two years to get the player out of me,” and today he helps by shaping and inspiring the path of young dreamers that hope to play for the major leagues one day.
Jeff Suppan’s Career Achievements
- 2006 NLCS MVP
- 15 Wins Seasons: 2 (2004 & 2005)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 6 (1999-2003 & 2007)
- Won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006
Suppan currently lives in Calabasas and he is still connected with Major League Baseball as a minor league pitching coach in the Kansas City Royals farm system.