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Original Issue

Hit And No-Hit A pair of hot-stove baseball DVDs showcase batters and pitchers at the top of their games

Standing in front of a chalkboard covered with equations, Yale
physics professor Robert Adair declares that hitting a baseball
is "at the edge of human facility." That's arguable, as two new
$19.95 DVDs from Major League Baseball Productions illustrate.
Hitters on Hitting: Finding the Sweet Spot (which includes the
scene with Adair) focuses on batters who made their art look
almost easy. Unhittable: No Hitters, Perfect Games, and Near
Misses features pitchers who made hitting well-nigh impossible.

Unhittable touches on 63 of the 212 hitless games and all 14
perfect games in major league history. The disc shows the last
three outs of six no-hitters and includes sections on the
remarkable runs of Sandy Koufax (right, three no-hitters and a
perfect game from 1962 to '65) and Nolan Ryan (a major league
record seven no-nos).

Where have you gone, Sandy and Nolan? In Hitters on Hitting, Tony
Gwynn, a .338 lifetime batter, theorizes that there aren't as
many dominant pitchers today because hitters are more prepared
than ever. The DVD takes a close look at the approaches of such
cerebral batters as Gwynn, Ted Williams and Wade Boggs, who talks
about knowing the strike zone so well that he sometimes felt he
could serve balls to specific spots on the field in the manner of
a tennis player. Most illuminating is the chapter on hitting
philosophies, which provides tips aplenty. George Brett says that
the secret of his success was the weight transfer from one leg to
the other, while Edgar Martinez credits his .319 career average
to his batting eye, which he keeps sharp with a drill that
entails reading the numbers on tennis balls shot out of a
pitching machine.

--John O'Keefe