The Pride of the Indians
My time with Mel Harder
By Bob Becker
"He's OK with himself. He doesn't have to put on a show for somebody or have to impress somebody. That's a very strong individual, a very knowledgeable individual. In society it's the quiet people that we all watch because we know that they know what they're talking about."
"Sudden" Sam McDowell,
Indians pitcher 1961-1972
"Mel had this type of demeanor about him and it taught me something that I use even today. The confidence in what you are teaching and the fact that you have patience with the individual. You have to put yourself into the student's body and then do the best thing for the student. That's the type of role model that comes out of Mel Harder."
substance abuse counselor/former Indians, Twins pitcher
"He adjusted his coaching to the person he was coaching. A lot of coaches justify their existence by tinkering with people. Mel was never like that."
"Mel Harder's greatest asset is knowing the individual. He would get inside a pitcher's mind and body and draw the best out of them."
Hall of Fame manager/shortstop
"He always used positive reinforcement. As a coach he would never impress his style on a pitcher, but would pick up on a person's best talents and help them develop their own style."
Penny Harder Burns,
Mel's youngest daughter
"The toughest pitcher I ever faced was Mel Harder." - Joe DiMaggio
Mel Harder, Cleveland Indians
W-L: 223-186 ERA: 3.80
Playing Career: 1928-1947
Coaching Career: 1948-1969
In an age of sound bites, tabloid TV, MTV, and short attention spans, how relevant is a 30 minute program about a person who played baseball before most people knew what a TV was? The answer: incredibly relevant, because this is a story of longevity, enduring values and a philosophy that transcends the fads of the moment.
In fifty years the actions of a Rodman or Madonna may well be forgotten. But the values exhibited by a Ripken, Gehrig, or Harder will still be cherished. Young and old look for leaders and role models. The Pride of the Indians is a place to find one.
The Pride of the Indians is the inspirational story of Cleveland Indians pitcher and coach Mel Harder. One of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game, Harder was also an outstanding teacher who developed numerous pitchers now enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Harder was responsible for building the Indians 1954 pitching staff, which many call the greatest ever.
The Pride of the Indians delves into the life of a man who grew from humble beginnings to pitching greatness in baseball's golden era. Harder explains his success against legendary hitters like Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio.
The Pride of the Indians spotlights some of Cleveland baseball's best known names as they help tell Harder's story: Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau, Mike Hargrove, Herb Score, Jim "Mudcat" Grant, Al Lopez, "Sudden" Sam McDowell, Gary Bell, and Russ Schneider.
Also included is Cleveland Browns legend Otto Graham. They all express their admiration for this quiet man who brought grace and dignity to the uniform of the Cleveland Indians.
The Pride of the Indians features never-before broadcast color footage of Cleveland's League Park and rare photographs.
"A great film that cuts to the heart."
Ken Burns - producer of PBS' Baseball series
"The Pride of the Indians is a well-crafted and affectionate tribute
to a worthy subject."
Bob Costas - NBC Sports
The Pride of the Indians won a National Telly award and was nominated for an Emmy for best sports program
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