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Baseball memories warm long, cold winter months


December 14, 2005 - I generally turn to the "NewsHour'' once the local television weather finishes.

I just can't watch hockey replays and I never know whether the players they're talking about are playing for the Blues or some other team.

Sometimes I catch a name and think "he plays for the Blues,'' only to find out he plays for another team but once played for the Blues.

Who cares?

Rather than listen to anything associated with hockey, I'll watch Channel 9 or read a book about baseball.

My relatives are trying their best to buy every book ever written about baseball as Christmas presents. As you can tell, I have a pretty good collection.

Here are a few of my favorite baseball stories.

Former Yankee Phil Rizzuto said he'd never forget Sept. 6, 1950.

"I got a letter threatening me, Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra and Johnny Mize,'' he said. "It said if I showed up in uniform against the Red Sox I'd be shot. I turned the letter over to the FBI and told my manager Casey Stengel about it.

"You know what Casey did? He gave me a different uniform and gave mine to Billy Martin. Can you imagine that! Guess Casey thought it'd be better if Billy got shot."

On a windy day in San Francisco, third baseman Rocky Bridges called for a popup. He drifted past the shortstop, past the pitcher on the mound, past the second baseman. Finally, he was standing next to first baseman Vic Power as the ball fell four feet behind them.

The next day, the newspaper ran a string of song parodies, one targeting Bridges:

"A tisket, a tasket. I should have brought a basket."

Bridges awaited the writer in the clubhouse the following day. "Hey you, c'mon over here. I read what you wrote in the paper."

"And?"

"And it bothered me so much I couldn't sleep last night. I've got to ask you ... How does the tune to that song go?"

Told to get a statement from the Gi-ants' Dominican players after Gener-alissimo Trujillo was assassinated in the Dominican Republic, a reporter came back from the clubhouse and approached his editor.

"They said they didn't do it."

Is hockey that entertaining? I don't think so.

  • Pitch It & Forget It
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