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Video: Tony Gwynn using VCRs to scout pitchers on “This Week in Baseball” in 1989

Jun 16, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

Video analysis is not a big deal now. Lots and lots of players use video to work on their mechanics and scout the opposition. Teams have dedicated video staff that supplies the footage to players. They can watch it on their iPads and laptops.

But back in the 80s it wasn’t nearly as common. And one of the pioneers of intensive video analysis was Tony Gwynn. He started by having his wife record Padres games on their VCR — remember those, kids? — and would watch it later. That evolved into a big portable — barely — monitor system he’d take with him on road trips.

Most people became aware of this when it was featured on “This Week in Baseball” in 1989. Here’s that segment. How about that?

  1. asimonetti88 - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    Very interesting listening to him talk baseball… you can see why he became a good coach. I learned a lot just watching 6 minutes of him here, imagine what he could do for you over a four year career.

    • ptfu - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:53 PM

      Yep, two more reasons Tony Gwynn is a Hall of Famer: he helped pioneer video analysis (which changed how players, coaches, and scouts evaluate hitting), and he was a great teacher.

  2. georgewashingtonsghost - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    What’s up with the umpire at around the 2:50 mark? Talk about an umpshow. Haven’t seen someone ham a simple strike one call like that since The Naked Gun.

    • gmagic9044 - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      Great call. Better reference.

    • rgw1968gibson112 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM

      That umpire appears to be the often imitated, but never duplicated, Dutch Rennert.

  3. The Cub Den - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Amazing pioneer of the game. Pretty darn cool.


  4. rickrenteria - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Oh how I miss TWIB on Saturday mornings followed by The Baseball Bunch with Johnny Bench.

  5. sportsdrenched - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    I think 1989 might be the first baseball season that I can recall paying attention to the entre season and still remember it.

    I also enjoyed him just talking about baseball. Where his feet needed to be. Hitting with an 0-2 count. How pitchers adjust to hitters…etc.

    Other than calling John Smoltz a “good young pitcher”, the other thing that stands out to me is he’d been doing video replay for about 6 yeas That means he was doing it as early a 1983.

    Thanks for sharing this piece of awesomeness.

  6. hushbrother - Jun 16, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    I remember watching this. Gwynn recounting the home run off Smoltz always stuck in my mind for some reason.

  7. 1998yanks - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:38 AM

    The man was a true class act.

  8. thewonderllama - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    I love a clip that starts with the voice of Mel Allen and ends with Vin Scully.

    So much that its the first time I ever bothered to comment.

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