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And don’t forget to check out these and .

1. “Consistency is what counts. You have to be able to do things over and over again.”

2. “Making the majors is not as hard as staying there, staying interested day after day. It’s like being married. The hardest part is to stay married.”

3. “In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter—being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.”

4. “I don’t want them to forget Ruth, I just want them to remember me!”

5. “I need to depend on someone who is bigger, stronger, and wiser than I am. I don’t do it on my own. God is my strength. He gave me a good body and some talent and the freedom to develop it. He helps me when things go wrong. He forgives me when I fall on my face. He lights the way.”

6. “I never doubted my ability, but when you hear all your life you’re inferior, it makes you wonder if the other guys have something you’ve never seen before. If they do, I’m still looking for it.”

7. “My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling bad, or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.”

8. “You can only milk a cow so long, then you’re left holding the pail.”

9. “I never smile when I have a bat in my hands. That’s when you’ve got to be serious. When I get out on the field, nothing’s a joke to me. I don’t feel like I should walk around with a smile on my face.”

10. “You know what the hardest thing is? What nobody wants to understand is me. People want their memories of me to be my memories of me. But you know what? They’re not.”

11. “Failure is a part of success.”

12. “You may not think you’re going to make it. You may want to quit. But if you keep your eye on the ball, you can accomplish anything.”

13. “I tell young people—including my granddaughter—there is no shortcut in life. You have to take it one step at a time and work hard. And you have to give back.”

14. “Didn’t come up here to read. Came up here to hit.”


15. “History has a way of doing that. People appreciate it more the longer it lasts.”

16. “What you do with your life and how you do it is not only a reflection on you but on your family and all of those institutions that have helped to make you who you are?”

17. “You got to play 150 games a year, so pick your spots. You can miss two games a month—so pick the days you’re gonna be hurt, or you’re gonna rest or you’re gonna have a drink or two. The rest of the time, be on that field.”

18. “I have always felt that although someone may defeat me, and I strike out in a ball game, the pitcher on the particular day was the best player.”

19. “Some people resented the fact I was trying to break a white man’s record.”

20. “I’m hoping someday that some kid, Black or White, will hit more home runs than myself. Whoever it is, I’d be pulling for him.”

21. “No matter what happens the rest of my life, I don’t think I’ll ever hit another home run. So wherever people want to rank me is fine.”

22. “I realize that if I hadn’t been able to hit the hell out of a baseball, I would have never been able to lay a finger on the good life that I’ve been fortunate to have.”

23. “The pitcher has got only a ball. I’ve got a bat. So the percentage in weapons is in my favor and I let the fellow with the ball do the fretting.”

24. “There is no such thing as a bed of roses all your life.”

25. “I don’t feel right unless I have a sport to play or at least a way to work up a sweat.”

26. “It took me 17 years to get 3000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.”

27. “Failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it.”

28. “There’s only one way to break the color line. Be good. I mean, play good. Play so good that they can’t remember what color you were before the season started.”

29. “Guessing what the pitcher is going to throw is 80% of being a successful hitter. The other 20% is just execution.”


30. “Baseball is a lot like the ivy-covered wall of Wrigley Field—it gives off a great appearance, but when you run into it, you discover the bricks underneath.”

31. “I never thought home runs were all that exciting. I still think the triple is the most exciting thing in baseball. To me, a triple is like a guy taking the ball on his one-yard line and running 99 yards for a touchdown.”

32. “I had just turned 20, and Jackie told me the only way to be successful at anything was to go out and do it. He said baseball was a game you played every day, not once a week.”

33. “For many years, even after Jackie Robinson, baseball was so segregated, really. You just didn’t expect us to have a chance to do anything. Baseball was meant for the lily-white.”

34. “The thing I like about baseball is that it’s one-on-one. You stand up there alone, and if you make a mistake, it’s your mistake. If you hit a home run, it’s your home run.”

35. “There is no logical reason why girls shouldn’t play baseball. It’s not all that tough.”

36. “I would like people not to think in terms of the 755 home runs I hit but think in terms of what I’ve accomplished off the field and some of the things I stood for.”

37. “I like those lefties, but when you’re hitting, all pitchers look alike. I don’t care too much who’s throwing or what he throws. When my timing is off, I have trouble. When it ain’t, I don’t.”

38. “I don’t see pitches down the middle anymore, not even in batting practice.”

39. “I think about how a guy mentally prepared himself to do battle, to go out and face the pitcher. I think so many hitters do not know how to get themselves prepared to play or hit against a pitcher. You have to mentally be prepared to hit against all pitchers.”

40. “Once the record was mine, I had to use it like a Louisville Slugger. I believed, and still do, that there was a reason why I was chosen to break the record.”

41. “I looked for the same pitch my whole career—a breaking ball. All of the time. I never worried about the fastball. They couldn’t throw it past me, none of them.”

42. “Baseball needs me because it needs somebody to stir the pot, and I need it because it’s my life. It means I have to make a little difference in the world.”

43. “The way I see it, it’s a great thing to be the man who hit the most home runs, but it’s a greater thing to be the man who did the most with the home runs he hit. So as long as there’s a chance that maybe I can hammer out a little justice now and then, or a little opportunity here and there, I intend to do as I always have—keep swinging.”

44. “People were not ready to accept me as a baseball player. The easiest part of that whole thing, chasing the Babe’s record, was playing the game itself. The hardest thing was after the game was over, dealing with the press. They could never understand.”


45. “I think what separates a superstar from the average ballplayer is that he concentrates just a little bit longer.”

46. “We are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record. If you think that, you are fooling yourself, the bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”

47. “Most of all, I pray that no one ever again, in any walk of life, has to go through what I did.”

48. “Looking at the ball going over the fence isn’t going to help.”

49. “After I hit the home run, I went back to left field, and I was standing in my position to catch a fly ball, and Donald Davis, my traveling secretary, was running down the left-field line. He was telling me the President was on the telephone. And I said, ‘Well fine, Donald, but what do you want me to do? Stop the ball game?’ I said, ‘Just put the President on hold, and I’ll be right with him.’”

50. “I played sometimes about as dull as you can play it. I did things the right way, you know. I think I modeled my playing ability after one of the all-time greats, Joe DiMaggio.”

51. “I went home with $7000 in a bag. I went to the house, and I pulled the shades down, locked the door, put all that money on the bed, and I started counting it one dollar at a time. I had never seen that much money.”

52. “In baseball, there is something electrifying about the big leagues. I had read so much about Stan Musial, , and Jackie Robinson. I had put those guys on a pedestal. They were something special. I really thought they put their pants on different, rather than one leg at a time.”

53. “The first thing baseball wants to do is make you a superstar and then say that you owe baseball something. I don’t owe baseball anything. Baseball owes me.”

54. “I’m sure glad this isn’t my home ballpark.”

55. “Whatever we do, make sure we clean up baseball.”

56. “I thought my chances to make the Braves were better and that they were being fairer to me, paying me more money to play in a lower classification.”

57. “If I knew exactly what I know now and had it to do over, I’d be a switch hitter. No telling what I could have done.”

58. “Maybe the day will come when I can sit back and be content. But until that day comes, I intend to stay in the batter’s box. I don’t let the big guys push me out of there anymore and keep hammering away.”

59. “I’ve tried a lot of things in the off-season, but the only thing I really know is baseball.”

60. “You visualize ‘pitches.’ You see it in your head, you think it. I used to play every pitcher in my mind before I went to the ballpark. I started getting ready for every game the moment I woke up.”

61. “I came to the Braves on business, and I intended to see that business was good as long as I could.”

62. “Last year, I was sort of a kid and I was a little scared, I ain’t scared anymore.”

63. “To this day, whenever I’m in Milwaukee—which is often—I’m reminded that the people there still haven’t gotten over the Braves leaving. If it helps, they should know the players haven’t either.”

64. “My father didn’t make much money, and I tell a lot of people, you know, I was a vegetarian before people knew what a vegetarian was. That’s all I ate was vegetables.”

65. “I had many, many, many death threats. I couldn’t open letters for a long time, because they all had to be opened by either the FBI or somebody.”

66. “On the field, Blacks have been able to be supergiants. But, once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again.”

67. “Can I smoke now without someone taking my picture?”

68. “I was being thrown to the wolves. Even though I did something great, nobody wanted to be a part of it. I was so isolated. I couldn’t share it.”

69. “I can’t recall a day this year or last when I did not hear the name of .”

70. “Roger Maris lost his hair the season he hit 61, I still have all my hair, but when it’s over, I’m going home to Mobile and fish for a long time.”

71. “The triple is the most exciting play in baseball. Home runs win a lot of games, but I never understood why fans are so obsessed with them.”

72. “I am very proud to be an American. This country has so much potential, I’d just like to see things better, or whatever, and I think it will be.”

73. “Sure, this country has a Black president, but when you look at a Black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated.”

74. “Too bad integration didn’t come sooner, because there were so many ballplayers that could have made the major leagues. That’s why, you look back, and not to take away anything from Babe Ruth or some of those other guys, they didn’t play against the greatest ballplayers in the world.”

75. “I never thought we’d ever have a Black president. President Obama has done such a tremendous job. He just has been unable to get what he needs to be moved at the level it should be moved.”

76. “There wasn’t any pitcher I felt I couldn’t get a hit off.”

77. “Jackie was speaking at a drugstore, and I said, ‘I’m not going to get this opportunity again, so I better take my chances and listen to Jackie Robinson now.’ Little did I know, I got front row seats, and next to me was my father.”

78. “It really made me see for the first time a clear picture of what this country is about. My kids had to live like they were in prison because of kidnap threats, and I had to live like a pig in a slaughter camp. I had to duck. I had to go out the back door of the ballparks. I had to have a police escort with me all the time. I was getting threatening letters every single day. All of these things have put a bad taste in my mouth, and it won’t go away. They carved a piece of my heart away.”

79. “There wasn’t much White people would allow us to do in those days. You could be a schoolteacher or an athlete to get away from the manual labor and servant-type jobs, but there wasn’t much else they were going to allow you to do.”

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