Vaughn: Hitters In My Era "Had Pride"

Mo Vaughn and Frank Thomas discussed how hitting has changed in recent years

Tiki and Tierney
June 03, 2019 - 8:14 pm

Frank Thomas and Mo Vaughn made the in-studio rounds at CBS Sports Radio on Monday, dropping by Tiki & Tierney to discuss how much baseball has changed in recent years, among other topics.

Thomas and Vaughn, both 51, last played in 2008 and 2003, respectively. The game has changed a lot since then, especially offensively. Players are less concerned about manufacturing runs and more concerned with the long ball, strikeouts be damned.

Neither Thomas nor Vaughn is a fan of this mindset.

“You got to take pride with hitting in scoring position,” Vaughn said. “I struck out over 100 times a lot in my career. I was trying to do things in situations. I wasn’t a fast guy, so I wasn’t going to make contact and leg one out. I had to hit. I was going to hit or not. But we had pride. When we were hitting .290, we were like, ‘Man, you better get your average up.’ Guys in our era – 3-4-5-guys – our job was to drive in runs. The two-out back-breaking runs are the ones we were here to drive in, and it was like a fraternity.”

Vaughn and Thomas drove in those runs. So did Cecil Fielder. So did Jim Thome. So did Will Clark, among others.

“If you ain’t slugging, bro, and you ain't hitting 30 (home runs) and 100 (RBIs), you better go to the bench,” Vaughn said. “Because that’s what you needed to do to be on the field and get any type of respect.”

When spurred this philosophical shift?

“Two words: launch angle,” Thomas said. “Guys can live with striking out 200 to 250 times. We couldn’t live that way. I was upset if I would break 100 strikeouts in a season. Now 200 and 250 are acceptable."