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Catching up with Tom Brady’s throwing coach, former Red Sox lefty Tom House

Former major league pitcher Tom House found that the motions for throwing a baseball and a football were the same, and he put that knowledge to extensive use.Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

Former Red Sox pitcher Tom House is Tom Brady’s quarterback guru. This week, House will be talking with the GOAT as Brady prepares for Sunday’s divisional-round game against the Rams.

House is one of Brady’s inner-sanctum guys, like his trainer Alex Guerrero. After winning the NFC Championship in Green Bay last winter, Brady isolated at home in Tampa for 12 days to prepare for the Super Bowl. His only visitor was House.

“It’s more of a friendship now than a coach/player relationship,” says Brady’s throwing coach. “We probably talk a couple of times a week. I’ve been working with Tom about 10 years.”


A baseball guy for the bulk of his career, House got involved with NFL quarterbacks when he was teaching pitching mechanics to the two young sons of former Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

“Cam asked me if I would consider working with [then-Chargers quarterback] Drew Brees,” recalls House. “We turned Drew’s career around from marginal as a rookie to really good in his second year.

“When his arm got hurt, I got involved with the rehab, and that was the beginning of what is now 3DQB [elite biomechanics training, combined with motion analysis]. It just took off from there. I’m no longer involved on a day-to-day basis, but at one time we had 28 of the top 32 quarterbacks in the NFL.”

In “It’s Better To Be Feared,” Seth Wickersham described House’s impact on Brady’s game:

“[Brady] perfected House’s technique of rotating his shoulders 20 degrees past his hips, farther back than most quarterbacks. He now cocked his torso, turning his arm into a slingshot. It helped to increase his velocity by approximately four to six miles per hour, which allowed him to hold the ball an estimated seven-tenths of a second longer in the pocket.”


Like others in Brady’s circle of trust, House is careful not to say too much about the former Patriot quarterback.

Brady is not House’s only famous client. Like the guy in the Johnny Cash song, House has been everywhere. And seen everything. He’s a Zelig/Forrest Gump of American sports over the last half-century.

Remember Hank Aaron’s (then) record-breaking 715th home run at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta in 1974? Tom House was there. He was a lefty reliever with the Braves and caught Aaron’s famous homer in the bullpen.

“We had arranged territories in the bullpen,” remembers House. “We knew that Henry was going to break it that week, probably Tuesday or Wednesday. We had areas designated. My little 10-yard area was in left-center.

“If I hadn’t caught that ball, it would have hit me in the forehead. I don’t even remember catching the ball, I just remember giving it to Henry at home plate. That’s the highlight of my major league career.”

After their epic World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in 1975, the Red Sox acquired House (29-23, 3.79 in eight big league seasons) from Atlanta in an unpopular deal that sent lefty Rogelio Moret (14-3 in 1975) to the Braves.

The 1976 Red Sox season was a disaster. Carlton Fisk, Rick Burleson, and Fred Lynn held out, the Sox played sub-.500 ball in April and May, owner Tom Yawkey died in July, and the Sox staggered to a third-place finish. House went 1-3 with a 4.33 ERA in 36 relief appearances and did not get along with manager Don Zimmer, who replaced Darrell Johnson in mid July.


“It was very frustrating for me,” says House. “We got off to a bad start and never recovered. I got along well with Billy Lee and Carlton Fisk. I knew Lee because he was a USC guy.

“Zimmer really didn’t like me very much as a pitcher or a person. He had to deal with the Buffalo Heads [Bernie Carbo, Ferguson Jenkins, Rick Wise & Co.] and I was a Baby Buffalo. My profile wasn’t as big, but in Zimmer’s mind, I was part of the Buffalo Heads.”

House (left) flips the ball to Red Sox manager Don Zimmer as he is removed from a game in 1977.Frank O'Brien, Globe Staff

In May of 1978, the Red Sox sold House to the Mariners. House retired from pitching after the 1978 season, but stayed in baseball as an instructor with the Astros and Padres while earning a PhD in sports psychology. He returned to the majors as Bobby Valentine’s pitching coach with the Rangers in 1985, and it was in Texas that he first had pitchers throwing footballs in the outfield during batting practice.

“I knew Bobby through USC and Tom Grieve,” says House. “I had been a minor league roving instructor for the Padres and Dick Dent, who was the Padres’ head trainer. Dick threw footballs with the pitchers. The pitchers with the best mechanics threw a really good spiral. And the guys who didn’t were the ones that weren’t healthy and didn’t have good mechanics.

“That was the beginning of it. When we got into motion analysis, we realized that throwing a football and throwing a baseball are the same thing. When we started doing 3-D motion analysis, the research supported what we knew intuitively.”


House was Texas’s pitching coach when the Rangers signed free agent Nolan Ryan before the 1989 season.

“Nolan really loved throwing the football as part of his routine,” says House. “Valentine and Tom Grieve were the first manager and general manager to embrace the new technology and new research, and Nolan came there because he saw a way to get better.”

Randy Johnson is another superstar in the House galaxy.

“I had known Randy because he was USC,” remembers House. “There was a night in Seattle when Nolan and I had gotten to the park early and got our work in and balls were whizzing by us as we sat in the first base dugout.

“Randy was having a workout in right field, and when he walked by, I said, ‘Hi Randy, how are you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m doing bad. I can’t throw strikes.’ Nolan popped up and said, ‘Why don’t you come by and see us tomorrow?’

House finished up his eight-year major league career with the Mariners in 1978.Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

“And he did, and we made a couple of small changes in his delivery and three weeks later, he punched out 18 of us in Arlington, Texas.”

Years later, both Ryan and Johnson mentioned House when they delivered their Hall of Fame acceptance speeches in Cooperstown.

Someday, Tom Brady might do the same thing in Canton, Ohio.


Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him @dan_shaughnessy.