Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Notebook: Getting a Grip from One of the Greats, as Weaver Toys with Gibson's Slider

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Notebook: Getting a Grip from One of the Greats, as Weaver Toys with Gibson's Slider

Article excerpt

In the dugout Saturday, shortly before game time, Tim McCarver motioned for Cardinals starter Luke Weaver to come over and meet one of the greatest lefthanded pitchers of all time. What Weaver got was more than an introduction.

He got a grip.

The Cardinals invited members of the 1968 team back for a reunion this weekend, and during the festivities McCarver stood between Hall of Fame bookends: Bob Gibson to the right and Steve Carlton to the left, naturally. McCarver, who broadcasts Cardinals games for Fox Sports Midwest, wanted one of the Cardinals' youngest starters to greet two of the team's greatest, and up sparked a conversation about Carlton's slider.

"I was minding my business and then McCarver called me over," Weaver recalled. "McCarver brought up his slider -- which was one of the better pitches ever thrown."

A persistent tinkerer with pitches, Weaver has not found a feel for the sharper, lateral breaking ball, abandoning it for expanded use of his curveball the past two seasons. The national anthem interrupted his conversation with Carlton about the pitch, but he was quickly steered toward the pitcher who taught Carlton. Gibson grabbed a ball.

"Why not get it from the guy who taught it?" Weaver said.

Fox Sports Midwest captured a picture of Gibson and Weaver -- their arms extended, Gibson showing the slider grip -- that is suitable for framing at Weaver's house. It's a snapshot of another hand-me-down moment from one Cardinals pitcher to another. The grip Gibson showed Weaver is one the righthander said he recently passed on. He was fiddling with the ball, got the slider grip, and talked himself out of trying it. Gibson said he should reconsider.

"Have fun playing catch with it," Weaver said Gibson urged. "It's confirmation of a grip and a way to throw it that works. It's been proven to work definitely for two people who are two of the best. When you have a pitch that dominant, you want to know how it works so you figure out how it works for you."

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