Baseball fans will enjoy “Insight Pitch: My Life As A Major League Closer” (Skyhorse Publishing) by former Met Skip Lockwood.
“I wanted to tell the story with authenticity and humor. I wanted to tell a baseball story in slow motion,” Lockwood said in an interview. “I take fans on the field with me. I answer the question ‘What is it like out there?’ I attempt to take the reader in the uniform.”
Lockwood, who recorded 65 of his 68 career saves as a Met, spent over three years writing the book, and then another year editing. “I retired a few years ago from my business career,” Lockwood said. “I had some stories and thought I’d write some of them down.”
Unlike many books written by athletes, Lockwood did not work with a co-author. “I wrote every word of this book myself,” Lockwood said. “I wanted to speak from the heart. I got a chance to play and wear the uniform for 18 years, 14 years in the big leagues.”
What many fans may not realize is that Lockwood made the majors as an infielder. His debut was with the 1965 Kansas City A’s as a third baseman. One of the veteran infielders who helped him was the late Ed Charles. “He helped along a 17-year-old city boy from Boston with big, thick glasses,” Lockwood said. “It was not a very smooth transition.”
Lockwood had trouble hitting a curveball, swinging at pitches in the dirt and swinging at pitches over his head. Charlie Finley called him in one day, and with Lockwood expecting to be released, he was told he was being converted to a pitcher.
“It’s like going from football to basketball,” said Lockwood, who did hit a home run while with the Mets.
Lockwood would pitch for the expansion Seattle Pilots and then moved with the team to Milwaukee as they became the Brewers. After one season with the Angels, Lockwood came to the Big Apple to play for the Mets. His best season came in 1976, when he went 10-7 with 19 saves. He was fourth on the team in wins, behind Jerry Koosman, Jon
Matlack and Tom Seaver.
Lockwood spoke about two of his favorite teammates that have had some recent health issues, Ed Kranepool and Rusty Staub.
“Kranepool was like Mr. Met,” Lockwood said. “He was the elder statesman for our team. He helped acclimate me to New York. And Rusty was the most elegant ballplayer I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Lockwood pitched for the Mets from 1975-79 before ending his career pitching for his hometown Red Sox in 1980.
Lockwood describes “Insight Pitch” as a story about ” a naive young man that came into baseball and found himself.”