Most baseball yarns have more dips
and darts than a knuckle curve. This
one's got less words than the miles per
hour the heater had I threw Bob Hunter
last game for the winning walk-off.
Sure, it was only Sarasota but I do not like
to lose anytime, especially to the cocky
young galoot who stayed with us last
spring in his rookie campaign. I give
the gopher ball that Hunter screamed off
the leftfield foul pole and look around
and my boy Cy is nowhere to be found.
Finally, I'm dressed for mourning in
my basic checks when a big red Cadillac
pulls up alongside me. It's Hunter grinning
and Cy going along, saying Bob wants
to buy me a steak. Big mistake. I climb
into the backseat and say I'll eat crow first.
Hunter drives to Crow's Bar where
I have one of his Old Crow-Burgers
that was twice as good as I deserved.
End of story.
The Day Tommy Maestro Got Seven Hits
by Ethan Hamill
I can't get anybody to believe me so I guess I'll quit trying.
Tommy Maestro, lifetime .214 hitter, in the twilight of
his journeyman's career of good leather-no stick, on his
farewell tour of all the ballparks in all the world, last August
15, got seven hits in a single game, a feat I don't think even
Wade Boggs or Tony Gwynn ever did.
Well, if you've saved the boxscore because you were at the
game and saw history, you know I gave hit number seven
to lovable fan favorite Tommy. Understand, unless you're
memory flails you, three of the hits were bleeding heart
bloopers, another was a checked swing quail that landed
on foul line chalk right behind first, but the last, the one I
threw Tommy was a rope you could've hung all your dirty
vacation laundry on. A sweet Al Kaline line drive to right.
Now, I know all about Denny McLain grooving one to Mickey
Mantle on his last trip up to the plate at Tiger Stadium in '68,
But Tommy Maestro is no Mickey Mantle and he had only faced
me six times in his entire, what they're calling "venerable" career
in the bigs-- he was usually gone for a pinch-hitter by the time I
closed things down-- and I whiffed him all six times.
So, no, no, no, I did not lay one right down Broadway for Tommy
to show up Wade and Tony the last time around in our home yard.
But I cannot get a single soul to believe me, so help me Eddie Yost.
You remember Eddie Yost or, if you don't, your old man and his old
man probably told you how Eddie Yost, lifetime .254, walked over
100 times a year-- once over 150 times-- eight different seasons
because his batting eye was sharper than any umpire's of his day.
So, that is what I should've done.
I should've walked Tommy Maestro on his long, long-overdue
career day and then maybe all my locker-mates and all of baseball
wouldn't be thinking to this day that suddenly mean ol', stare you
down, see if you can catch up to this triple-digit heat, suddenly
Lotsa, lots heart.