EEEEEE! Looks at Books
SF Giants: An Oral History -- Mike Mandel
by Gregg Pearlman
Saturday, January 30, 1999
I have a lot of baseball books, probably not as many as I want. They range in content and style from dry numbers (The Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia) to fake numbers (The Baseball Prospectus) to biographies (Say Hey) to diaries (Ball Four) to fictions (The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Prop.). Some of these I've read several times, some just once, and some never. Some of these can't be read more than once, and some just can't be read.
In "EEEEEE! Looks at Books," that's all I'll do, roughly once a month: just look. Well, I'll read a given book, but I don't intend to review it, exactly. Yeah, I'll tell you whether I like it or not, whether I consider it a worthwhile use of your time. But mostly I'll comment on bits and pieces and present what for all intents and purposes is a book report -- something I haven't written in at least 20 years.
The first installment of "EEEEEE! Looks at Books" examines SF Giants: An Oral History, the only book I know of by Mike Mandel, a young guy (at the time) who hung around with ballplayers, past and then-present, and interviewed them about being Giants. Clearly, most of the guys were all too happy for the attention, so they coughed up all kinds of details.
I received this book as a gift from my sister and her then husband in 1979. It was wrapped in a Hustler centerfold featuring extreme close-ups of a woman's nonfacial end. Not easy to feign nonchalance while your parents are sitting there, watching you unwrap presents, but that's not the weird part. The weird part is that I knew what was under the wrapping paper, because some months back I was visiting my sister and saw the book on a shelf. Her husband, upon finding me reading it, said, "Um, you're not supposed to know about that yet, so just pretend you don't." So I did.
The book, certainly, has long outlasted the wrapping paper. I like it enough to have reread it twice over the years, each time rediscovering nuggets I'd forgotten, each time remembering that it's not an easy book to read. Books like that just aren't. Plus, Mandel takes every opportunity to draw players out on the subject of religious beliefs -- certain players, that is, who share a particular spiritual mindset. It would appear that the author is not too subtly sharing his own beliefs with his readers via the mouths of his interview subjects. I don't consider that a very honest technique, and I'm not interested in being witnessed to by a baseball book, so consider yourself warned (if you want to be warned).
The reader's attention is jarred a bit, I think, by some rough editing, and Mandel's punctuation leaves something to be desired (and he tends to make one word out of two-word nouns, such as "leftfield" or "homerun," but that's just a matter of preference or style). The book was edited, designed, and published by Mandel himself (copyright 1979), so I expect it to be a bit tough to track down.
But this book is obviously a labor of love by an enthusiastic, somewhat star-struck Giants fan, so by definition, he deserves a lot of slack. Also, Mandel lets his interview subjects do virtually all the talking, and his humor comes across, to an extent, in the way the book is arranged. (See the Bobby Murcer entry, for instance.) I admire Mandel for his pluck and initiative in seeking out these Giants alums.
Like most San Francisco Giants fans, Mandel adored Willie Mays, and he tells us rather pointedly that Mays would not agree to be interviewed for the book, which is a true shame. (Certainly Willie was talked about, in this book.) I'm not sure of the timeline, so I wonder if Mandel conducted his interviews while Mays was temporarily banned from baseball for playing golf with casino enthusiasts, and that was a factor in his refusal to cooperate.
Mandel included lots of boxscores -- John Montefusco's no-hitter, Mike Sadek's first home run, the 1962 pennant winner -- which is fine, but way too many of them describe Giants losses. What's up with that? In the boxscores Mandel picked, the Giants went 31-24, and the first seven boxes were games in which the Giants lost. Somehow I'm convinced that if it were a Dodgers retrospective, there wouldn't be any Dodgers losses.
Here are some of the more noteworthy passages in the book:
- Willie McCovey shocks us by saying, "The first team I tried out with was the Dodger organization." Bleccchhh. He also provides a few surprises by saying that the Yankees had offered the Giants "something like a hundred thousand for me" in the spring of 1959, before McCovey came up and won the Rookie of the Year award, and that when he moved to left field in 1961, "I really felt I was out there to stay. I had no intentions of ever coming back to first base." I know full well that McCovey played plenty of outfield early on, but I still can't picture it.
And see if this sounds familiar, latter-day Giants fans: "1969 was a great year for me, but it could have been better. They walked me all the time that year and I still managed to do what I did. It was pretty hard to have that kind of year I had when nobody wanted to pitch to you. I think that over a five or six year span I had the toughest time having the years I had than anybody in the history of baseball. They wouldn't pitch to me in the same situation that they would pitch to a Bench or a Morgan or a Garvey or anybody. Or even a Ted Williams. They didn't pitch to me. Sometimes I think, 'God, what if I could have had that same year with a team like Cincinnati in the middle of a line-up where I had three guys ahead of me like they had, guys who could hit behind me.' What kind of year would I have had then? There's no telling. Probably would have drove in over two hundred runs. But I was on a team like the Giants, and nobody on the opposing team respected anybody else in the line-up, so they just didn't give a darn whether they put me on or not. Heck, I was walked to lead off an inning once. 1969, Walter Alston walked me to lead off an inning, intentionally. That's the kind of respect they were paying me that year."
- Lon Simmons says that he and Russ Hodges got letters from "a gal in Hillsborough who hated Orlando Cepeda, just hated him. So Cepeda hit a homerun in Milwaukee. And we had just gotten a particularly scathing letter about how we were going overboard about Cepeda. So Russ dedicated the homerun to this gal as President of the Orlando Cepeda fan club. And we get a telephone call in the press box. It's this gal and she says she's going to sue Russ because he's made her the laughing stock of her neighborhood."
- Cepeda says that he was open to playing left field in 1959 so the Giants could get Willie McCovey's bat into the lineup, and he even "wanted to do it. I want to try. I tried to play leftfield, but I couldn't do it. My mind wasn't able to do it because I was a good first baseman and I guess I was too young to realize what was happening. I just wanted to play first base, that's all. My mind just wasn't there to be a leftfielder, and then it started to affect my hitting. It just didn't work out."
So did he want to play left, or didn't he? Hard to tell. Rigney says, "I talked like a bloody Dutch uncle to get Cepeda to play leftfield, because he could have. And then I could have had both of them in the line-up. He wouldn't do it. He just wouldn't do it. He felt like he was being put down."
Cepeda also says, "The guy who really messed the Giants up was Alvin Dark. When he got the team he separated the blacks and the whites, he separated the whole team. That's why the Giants didn't win any more championships. I remember when he first came to the Giants, he don't want any Latins to speak Spanish in the clubhouse." Of course, Cepeda's not the only one to complain about Dark, and several of the nonwhite players share his opinion. Dark, naturally, sees things differently.
- As any Giants fan over 35 knows, except for those who don't, Willie McCovey's World Series-ending line drive to Bobby Richardson in 1962 was preceded by a double off the bat of Willie Mays on which Matty Alou held at third. Evidently lots of folks felt that Alou should've scored, but third base coach Whitey Lockman felt differently: "It had rained a lot during that Series, as a matter of fact, two or three games had been postponed because of rain. So the field was wet. I'm aware of all this information. I'm aware of the field conditions. I'm aware of where the ball is hit, I'm aware of the speed of Alou, I'm aware of the speed of Mays, I'm aware of who the next hitter is, which is McCovey.... And it's a line drive by Mays to the opposite field, so you feel it's got a pretty good chance to be at least a double, possibly a triple, and enough to score the runner from first with the speed Matty Alou has. Well, the first thing that starts to give me negative vibes is when the ball hit out there it didn't scoot like it would on a hard field. It just hit and kind of died.... At this moment I've got to make a decision whether to seriously consider sending Alou in. There's two out. Number one, if I send him and he's out, the game's over, the Series is over, McCovey doesn't come to the plate. If I do send him and he's safe, we've got the game tied, Mays is on third, and McCovey's up. At this time physically I'm moving down the third base line toward home plate go [sic] give myself every opportunity to see the play, and the throws that are going to be made on the play, and at the same time I've got my body in position to be able to see Alou coming around third. Maris picks up the ball, and when he throws the ball toward the relay man, Richardson, that's when I made my judgment not to send Alou. Because it was a good throw. If the first throw had been a poor throw I would have sent him, taken a chance that Richardson would not have been able to handle it cleanly, or it would have been over his head and someone else might have had to make the throw, and we would have had a shot. But it was a good throw to Richardson, and I immediately went into my hold-up sign, and Alou obeyed it. Richardson now whirls and makes his throw to Elston Howard. And one thing that happened on that throw has caused a lot of people to feel that I made a mistake by not sending Alou. And that was the fact that the ball bounced, and because of the wetness of the field it bounced two or three times before it got home. But by then, the play's over for us, I've already stopped Alou. At that moment it never occurred to me that I might have made an error in judgment. In fact, Elston Howard was asked later whether he thought Alou could have scored on the play and he said, 'No. I wish he would have tried because the Series would have been over one play earlier.' And I took that as confirmation that I had made the right judgment. And I was never questioned by any of the players or coaches about the call."
Alou himself says, "I was slipping all the way. So I didn't have a chance to make it."
Why couldn't McCovey have hit that ball three feet higher?
- Longtime Director of Scouting Jack Schwarz says that player development in Latin America had been going just great... until Horace Stoneham decided to move the team's spring base from Florida to Arizona, at which time the well pretty much dried up. This disturbs me somewhat, though it's perfectly in keeping with EEEEEE!Contributing Editor Richard Booroojian's view of Stoneham. The players loved the guy, apparently... but he sure doesn't seem to have done much good for the team.
- Bill Rigney: "The homerun was a big thing in Horace Stoneham's life. And defense and bunting and things like that really weren't -- they were part of the game, but nothing like how he felt for the homerun.... Horace really liked the bomb, he liked the runs. But one thing the Giants hadn't had a lot of until Gaylord and Marichal was a lot of pitching. They always had to go and get a pitcher. We had to go and get Antonelli, we had to go and get Sam Jones, we had to go and get Sanford, and O'Dell and Pierce because Horace was so hitter conscious. They just weren't looking for the pitching."
Rigney complained that Cincinnati's Bob Purkey would always low-bridge Mays early in the game, and Mays would end up going 0-for-4. So one day Rigney has a conversation with Ford Frick, the commissioner, and Warren Giles, the president of the National League. "They're sitting there and I've had about three Bloody Marys," he says. And to these high-ranking gentlemen he says, "I want you to know this, and I want to get on record, that when Bob Purkey comes up to hit, I'm going to take Willie Mays out of centerfield and bring him in on the mound, and he's going to knock Bob Purkey's hat off!" Rigney goes on to say, "At the time I know I was going to do it. I had made up my mind. I was just going to take Mays out, put the pitcher in center field, and 'Your pitching to Purkey.' I was tired of it."
He says that 1976 "was not very much fun," and "there were all the problems, Murcer and the wind. There was a lot of grousing."
- Johnny Antonelli is noteworthy, perhaps only to my dad and me, because someone once mistook Dad for Antonelli and asked for his autograph. My mom says, "He would've signed it, too, except that he wasn't sure how to spell 'Antonelli.'" (There is a very slight resemblance, right around the eyebrows.)
Antonelli enjoyed a stormy relationship with the Bay Area press, to say the least. To say the most, his relationship with the press, and the way he handled it, pretty much trashed his career. In 1959 he gave up a horrid, wind-blown home run to the Dodgers' Charlie Neal, a popup that just kept going and going and going.... So some writer said, "Hey, Antonelli, what was that pitch that Neal pummelled [sic] off you?" Antonelli says, "I let him know that he didn't know what he was talking about. It wasn't pummelled. To me, pummelled sounds like it was really corked. 'Dummy, what game were you watching?' And I said, 'Take this ballpark and do something with it...' Not exactly in those words.... So I'm trying to shave, and I see this photographer creeping along the side because he was told by his writer to get a picture of this excited ballplayer. And I turned around and said, 'Now, please. Don't take my picture. Leave. Leave or I'm going to grab that camera and it'll be smashed into nine million pieces.' I was getting excited again.... Of course, the next day, nothing but headlines. And maybe my thick skin was injured a little bit, and I felt a little sorry for myself, I think I had fourteen wins at that point. But after that I never pitched another ballgame effectively. I think it just took enough wind out of my sails where I felt the press, and the fans, because they were reading what the press was saying, were coming down a little too hard on me."
Antonelli apologized on radio, but someone wrote, "Antonelli apologizing on radio is like an ant attacking an elephant. He should've called a press conference with us rather than going on radio...." It got so bad for Antonelli that he simply didn't want to play for the Giants anymore. This could easily say more about him than the press, but after reading some of the local writers' B.S. for years, I wonder.
- I don't know the circumstances, but Hank Sauer once visited my dad at his place of business, when I was about 18 and living at home. Evidently they had a lively chat, during which Dad thought, "Boy, Gregg would eat this up, but... naw, I don't wanna bother him and make him drive all the way here." It would've taken maybe seven minutes if I'd obeyed all traffic laws. (If I were a really bitter person, Dad's birthday presents for the last 20 years would have been identical garden gnomes or something....) But Sauer sounded like an interesting, fun guy, and he comes across that way in the book.
He says, "They wanted to send Felipe [Alou] out in the latter part of '59. They wanted to send him down and he didn't want to go. When I heard about it I said, 'Billy, don't send him out. He can do you more good than me. Put me on as a coach and then you can keep him here....' Felipe was ready for the big leagues. But in my day they didn't care about kids coming up."
- Bay Area sportswriter Charles Einstein says, "Once with a man on first base, the hitter singled to centerfield with two out, and Mays overthrew the cut-off man and made a useless throw to third base because he couldn't get the man. The man was going to go from first to third on that hit. And on the throw, the hitter moved up to second base. The reason Mays did that was to put the next man on base. He wanted to force the manager's hand. The manager was Clyde King who would not have thought of this by himself. Mays wanted the next man walked because he knows his pitcher can get the guy after him. And he wants the guy after him to be the lead-off man the next inning. So he is thinking that many slots down the batting order. And to force King's hand he simply throws the ball to third base."
- Former catcher Hobie Landrith, the first player chosen by the Mets in the National League's first expansion draft, provides some great insider stuff: "I think I was fairly proficient in the mechanics of catching, but [Birdie Tebbetts] was the first one that got me to think as to why you call a fastball, why you call a curveball. Why are you doing the things you're doing? Are you just doing them out of instinct, reflexes, or is there a real good reason. He is the primary reason that I had great success with young pitchers. And he's the one who explained to me the two and two theory which is: Never call a pitch when the count is two and two that you wouldn't call if the count right then was three and two. If you have a young pitcher that has a tendency to be wild, when the count is 0 and 0 you would use the two and two theory. Because the young pitcher will be successful if you do not try to ask him to do the things he is just not consistently able to do. If he has an outstanding curveball, but he can only get it over in one out of three pitches, unless it's a game situation, where the game can be won or lost right now, you wouldn't gamble on that pitch to get him behind the hitter. You have got to keep a young pitcher ahead of the hitter. If you ask a young pitcher to do something that he's not consistently able to do, you're going to have him pitching from behind all the time, and we all know what happens to pitchers who consistently pitch from behind."
- Lefthander Mike McCormick, the only Giants pitcher ever to win a Cy Young award, says, "My best success through the years was with the worst catchers on the staff. Tom Haller and I had terrible success, and I think the reason for that was I used to respect Tom's abilities, because he was identified as a good catcher, a great catcher. But I'd go with whatever he said, and that wasn't necessarily me. I had my best years on the Giants with guys like Dietz and Hiatt catching, who were sub-par catchers compared to a Tom Haller, because I didn't become dependent on them. The great combination is when you get two guys thinking the same way, and that happens a lot, in my case it just didn't happen. If you go back to the year I won the Cy Young, Tom was there, but he caught me one or two times, and I lost. I never asked for a specific catcher, but I think the manager picks up on those things."
- Chuck Hiller, the second baseman in 1962, says, "When I was in the minor leagues I was a very good fielder. But now, thinking back, when I came to the big leagues it was very, very hard for me to relax. I fought so hard to get to the big leagues, I was older because when I went through college, I was almost twenty-six years old when I got to the big leagues. I had to make that five year pension plan, and I think I worried about that too much. Then I made a couple of errors, and all of a sudden here it starts. And you know what happens? It just snowballs and you put so much pressure on yourself, after awhile it made me bad.... After awhile you get so conscious of errors, you end up making them. You can't relax. And all of a sudden a ground ball's coming, 'I have to catch it. I have to catch it!' And I really think that's what happened to me. It lasted my whole career. I never got over it."
- Perhaps the most intense tale in the book comes from Matty Alou, who says, "I remember a couple days before the fight between Marichal and Roseboro, Maury Wills, he was a smart ballplayer, and he used to get on base any way he could. So he tried to bunt, and when Haller tried to go for the ball Wills brought the bat back against Haller's glove, and the umpire called interference. I was the lead-off that day for the Giants so Herman Franks told me, 'You know what you're going to do?' And I said, 'Sure, I know.' And I did the same thing but when I pulled the bat back I hit Roseboro pretty hard. So he started yelling at me, and I said, 'Hey, John, I'm just doing what they told me, I don't want to fight you.' So he threw the ball right by my head and then Marichal from the bench got on him. Because Marichal and my are very good friends. We are compadres two times. So I say, 'Stay down, John, I don't want to fight with you. You know I don't fight with nobody.' He say, "I know, Matty, but that guy over there...' So Marichal say, 'I'll get you guys when I pitch.' They beat us that game. So Marichal was so angry and I don't know why. He was angry that night, and we used to room together. He told me that night, he say, 'If Maury Wills bunt one on me I'm going to break his leg.' I say, 'Don't do that! Why do you say that?" He say, 'Yes, I'm going to do it. Because he's been killing us all year and nobody does nothing. If he steals one base on me I'm going to hit him, too, the next time. And anybody that hit me good I'm going to get him on the head!' So next day he go there, first time at bat, Maury Wills, perfect bunt. And he just turned around and looked at him. I say, 'Uh oh, going to be some trouble next time.' And then he went to second, the catcher threw bad and he went to third. Then Ron Fairly doubled to the line. So he came into the dugout, threw the glove down. 'I'm going to kill the two sonuvabitches. We've got to win and I've got to get him out of here, and I'm going to get Fairly, too." So here comes Wills the next time up. And he threw him four time right at the legs. And Wills was just jumping all over. He walked him. Then come Fairly, he hit Fairly real good. Then, when his time at bat came, Roseboro wanted Koufax to hit him. But Koufax is a nice guy, he didn't want to do it. Roseboro crouched down right behind Juan, but Koufax just came right over home plate. Roseboro saw that Koufax wasn't going to hit him, so he threw the ball right next to Juan's head. He did just like he did to me the day before. So Juan then turned around and hit him. But Juan, he wanted to fight all day. He had the devil inside him that day. They beat us the day before and we didn't want to lose to Los Angeles. We used to hate each other. When Juan and Roseboro were in the fight we had to go out there, too. They had about ten guys on top of him, they had Juan down and I saw somebody, Bob Miller, a pitcher, trying to break his leg. So I had to hit the guy because he was twisting his leg. He still don't know who hit him, but it was me."
- In Juan Marichal's version:
- Dodgers coach Cookie Lavagetto relays a message to Marichal via Cepeda and Matty Alou: "Tell Juan to shut his big mouth before he get one behind his ear."
- "I really didn't try to pitch close to [Fairly] at that time. The ball wasn't that close, but he make it look close, and he went down."
- "And when [Roseboro] threw that ball back to Sandy, the ball ticked my ear and I got goose pimples all over my body. Because I knew if that ball would have hit me square, it could have killed me. And I never expect him throwing the ball like that from behind. I looked back and asked him why he did that. And if I wasn't angry before that, I was angry now. Because to me, the best woman in the world is my mother. And when I asked him why he did it, he call my mother all kinds of names. And I asked him one more time and he again give me the same answer. And when he give me the same answer, he's the one that make the first move. He start chasing me. My first reaction was that I want to stop him. I think if I wanted to hurt him bad I could have done it. But what I did was that I just dropped the bat on his head, just to try to stop him. I always say that I feel sorry that I used the bat. If you call my mother's name, you have to get ready to get me because I don't take that from nobody."
- "I was very sorry to use the bat, but he started the whole thing, I'm sure he did. I have proof that when they were going from the hotel to the park they were saying that they were going to have a fight in the stadium. And he told everybody he want me for himself. He dropped the case. And if he knew he could win it, I think he would have continued the case. When I went to the Dodgers I should say he was very nice for what he did. I remember when I was in spring training, he talked to the press, he talked to the fans and he told them that that was forgotten. That what happened between him and I was forgotten and he wanted the fans to give me all the support, and I think that was very nice of him. After that I went to the Dodgers Old-Timers game and Sandy and Don Drysdale and Don Newcombe, they got us together. And I'm glad that happened, because I don't want to have enemies. He was the only person on earth that I didn't talk to for many years. And after that happen it really make me feel good."
- Longtime Equipment Manager Eddie Logan: "One of the funny things that happened, when Marichal had the fight with Roseboro, I didn't know anything about it, I was in here (the clubhouse). The first one that come in was Willie with blood on him. I said, 'What the hell happened to you?' And then they brought Marichal in. I had some cops here, like we always have. And I said, 'Put three cops on this door and three cops on the Dodger clubhouse door, and three more cops down on the field doors, so the public don't get in.' We were worried that there was going to be a riot in the ballpark because he hit him with the bat. So I had the cops by the door, and both teams were leaving that night. We were going to Chicago, and I don't know where the Dodgers were going, but both teams were leaving that night. So I said to the sergeant, 'Do you have a police car that can take Marichal down to the airport? I've got his baggage and everything...' So off they went. I got rid of him, and then I went over to the other clubhouse. And Roseboro was there with the patch on his head. And the sergeant says, 'I've got another car. You want to take him down to the airport, too?' 'Yeah.' Roseboro says, 'Jeez, I can't go down with this patch on my head. I have no cap. My cap's out on the field.' Well, we couldn't find it. So we gave him an SF cap. And he put the cap on and rode to the airport with the SF cap on. Can you imagine Johnny Roseboro walking around the airport with an SF cap on his head right after he gets banged up by Marichal? Then the sergeant says to me, 'Hey Logan, you just sent two of them down to the airport.' 'So?' 'Suppose they meet each other?' 'Well, let 'em go! Nobody's going to pay attention to them at the airport, let 'em go!'"
- Dick Dietz: "Drysdale's going for the consecutive scoreless innings record. We had the bases loaded, nobody out and a two-two count on me. Don Drysdale threw a spitball. I was protecting the plate, and he hit me on the elbow. All I had time to do was flinch, and the ball hit me on the elbow. I took two steps to first base and Wendelstedt said, 'No!' And I said, 'No, what?' He said, 'No. You didn't try and get out of the way of it.' And of course, the rest is history. He had to kick me out of the game for what I said to him. I was hot. It was the worst call, without a doubt, that I've ever seen. I didn't try and get hit with the ball! My name's not Ron Hunt. I never liked to get hit with the ball. I really never gave any thought to breaking Drysdale's streak. I was guarding the plate. I was trying to make contact. I was trying to get a basehit. It was a Giant-Dodger game. When it gets down to pitcher and hitter, you can't be thinking, 'Well he's got the consecutive scoreless inning streak going...' Never entered my mind, I was trying to hit the ball, and I was guarding the plate because he threw a spitball. All the Dodger pitchers except Koufax and Brewer threw it. Sutton, Singer, Drysdale, Regan, Bob Miller, they all threw it. And I was just protecting the plate, and I got hit with the pitch. Wendelstedt comes out in the newspaper the next day and says, 'He was well aware of what Drysdale was going for.' That's not supposed to enter his mind because it didn't enter mine. I was trying to win a ballgame."
- Randy Moffitt tells a story about a game that still sticks in my craw, and confirms -- to me, anyway -- that I saw just what he saw, more or less: "One game in '78 I came in against the Dodgers. Ninth inning, tie score, the bases were loaded.... Bill Russell was hitting.... And I went in there and in my mind I just said, 'I got 'em. There's no way Russell's going to hit a ball out of the infield.' And I knew I was going to get the next guy out, too. I just felt like I had 'em.... The first pitch I threw I tried to jam him, tried to hit him on his hands, I threw the ball maybe six or eight inches inside and the ball hit his bat. And he stood there for a second, dropped his bat, and he must have stood there for maybe three seconds. And then, all of a sudden, he shook his hand very feebly. He shook his hand and then kind of glanced down at it. So the umpire says, 'Go to first.' And I just lost my mind. I just could not believe it. Everybody swarmed on the umpire, and when I looked at the umpire's face he was panic-stricken. He looked like he had just been told that his mother or father had died. He was confused, he didn't know what to do, the pressure got to him. He was a young umpire and that might have been his first or second real exciting big call, where it would decide the game. And what really made me mad was when they asked Lasorda how Russell was, he said, 'He's got his bat in the whirlpool.' If you get hit on the hand by a fastball, it's an instant reaction, it's painful. He wasn't just grazed by it, the ball made too big a noise and changed directions. I just couldn't believe it happened. I was all built up to pitch, and how long did it last? About three-tenths of a second and my night's over. And we lose? I felt like a real jerk."
- Bobby Bonds: "After the '71 season we lost Gaylord, which I felt shouldn't have happened. You win a division you don't start making changes. They traded Gaylord. The next year Mays, the next year McCovey, and Marichal, and constantly everybody was leaving. The other teams that won their division, come opening day they opened up with the same nine guys, and they were going to go at it again. This is what we didn't do. I guess Charlie Fox had his own particular ideas about how he wanted to run the ballclub and who he wanted on his team. And Gaylord didn't fit in them, and maybe Mays and McCovey and myself. He had his ideas and they didn't work."
- Herman Franks set the tone for his interview by saying, "What the hell are you going to do with this in the book for crying out loud? What do you want all this stuff for? Tell me.... You're going to put all this stuff in the book? You're kidding me." Downhill from there.
- The entry for Bobby Murcer, the guy the Giants acquired for Bonds in the trade that started the now-precarious Trade Chain, begins with his name, followed by "I never was a Giant," followed by a large expanse of white, and then Murcer's stats. Maybe he was never made welcome here by the press, fans, or front office; I don't know. All I know is, you don't say, "I never was a Giant." "I never was a Dodger," sure, but never "I never was a Giant."
I've left out a lot of interesting anecdotes -- I mean, if I'd kept them, I might just as well have typed in the whole book. But still, if you can find SF Giants: An Oral History, get it. Read it. It's fun, it's interesting -- you'll relive memories you don't even have. Mandel is really to be commended for his effort.
Copyright © 1999 by Gregg Pearlman
Last updated 1/30/99
Gregg Pearlman, gregg@EEEEEEgp.com
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