SBD/March 3, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Revered Baseball Psychologist Harvey Dorfman Passes Away At Age Of 75

Dorfman worked with major leaguers such as Roy Halladay and Greg Maddux
HARVEY DORFMAN, a "pioneering and hard-talking sports psychologist," passed away Monday at the age of 75 from a "lung affliction," according to Tim Brown of YAHOO SPORTS. Dorfman wrote four books and co-authored "THE MENTAL GAME OF BASEBALL," which "holds a reserved place in most baseball clubhouses." He also served 10 years with the A's, three with the Marlins and the past 10 "on the staff of agent SCOTT BORAS." During that time he "counseled hundreds of players, and in that role he is survived in the game by pitchers who couldn't trust where the ball would go, hitters who didn't think another ball would ever fall, and catchers with the yips." He leaves a "legacy of tough love, empathy and the notion that sports and life are connected through the soft tissue that is human frailty" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/1). In Newark, Marc Carig writes Dorman "may not have been a household name," but for "three decades, he was one of baseball's most influential figures, helping to bring the application of sports psychology to clubhouses in the major leagues" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 3/3). MLB.com's Peter Gammons wrote Dorfman "changed the game because he understood that players are human and sometimes fragile and very often insecure." Gammons: "There ought to be a place in Cooperstown for one of the best persons baseball has ever known" (MLB.com, 3/1).

MAJOR LEAGUE IMPACT: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark noted though the headlines will say Dorfman "was a sports psychologist," he was "much more." Stark: "He was a mentor. He was a friend. He was a father figure to hundreds, maybe thousands, of players" (ESPN.com, 3/2). Among the players who have "credited Dorfman with assisting them" are Phillies P ROY HALLADAY and Nationals CF RICK ANKIEL (AP, 2/28). In New Jersey, David Hale notes Dorfman "mentored pitchers like" former MLBers GREG MADDUX and AL LEITER and Mets P MIKE PELFREY, but his impact on Halladay "may have been his most notable accomplishment" (ASBURY PARK PRESS, 3/2). Halladay: "I'm certain I would have never had the success I've had if it weren't for the time I've spent with him and the things I've learned from him." Halladay "handed out roughly 20 copies" of "The Mental Game of Baseball" during a minicamp for some Phillies pitchers in January (MLB.com, 3/1).
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