Ted Williams tried to change Brady Anderson's hitting stroke when Anderson was in the Boston Red Sox's minor-league system, but the Orioles outfielder wouldn't listen.
"He saw me swing and pulled me aside three times to change my swing before he knew anything about me as a hitter," Anderson said while he put two pieces of tape and some pine tar on the handles of his three bats before last night's game.
Anderson thought Williams was contradicting his own book on hitting. As a 10-year-old, Anderson had read "The Science of Hitting." Williams' first rule -- "Don't let anybody change you."
Anderson never did. And it's a good thing for the Orioles.
In his past 10 games, Anderson is 17 for 43 (.395) with 11 runs, three doubles, a triple, four home runs and 10 runs batted in.
Anderson's hot bat has been contagious: The rest of the team is hitting .305 and has scored 67 runs in its previous 10 games.
"A lot of times when Brady goes well, we go well," manager Johnny Oates said after Anderson hit an opposite-field, three-run homer in Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Last night against the Oakland Athletics, Anderson led off the game with a single to left-center.
In the fifth, he doubled in Jeffrey Hammonds with the tying run and put the Orioles up 4-3 when he scored on Rafael Palmeiro's sacrifice fly.
"He's staying behind the ball, and he's hitting to all fields," said Orioles hitting coach Greg Biagini.
Over the past 2 1/2 seasons, Anderson has established himself as one of the team's most consistent hitters.
He hit .271 with 21 home runs and 80 RBIs in 1992 and .263 with 13 homers and 66 RBIs last year. This season Anderson (.261, 11 homers, 31 RBIs going into last night) is on a similar pace.
Anderson has experienced continued success because he understands that hitting is a personal thing.
"I like figuring things out by myself," Anderson said. "When somebody's helping you when you're doing something wrong, it doesn't matter if you can't feel it yourself."
Part of Anderson's problems early in his career stemmed from different people telling him different things.
"It's kind of funny," Anderson said. "Ted Williams wanted me to upper cut and open up my hips, and other people wanted me to hit down on the ball, slap the ball, and hit it to left."
Anderson listened to Williams' book -- and never changed. In high school, he also learned a lot from a book by the late Charlie Lau.
"Charlie Lau was huge on keeping your head down," Anderson said. "That was his number one rule."
Anderson has incorporated the theories of Williams and Lau into his game, but he steps to the plate doing it his own way.
"Hitting is something that's very personal," Anderson said.
"Everyone does it a little differently."