Munson, Nettles, and Rickey

August 9, 2018

We’ve had a couple of Readers Posts lately about Thurman Munson, the Hall of Fame, and Graig Nettles recently, and I didn’t really have much to contribute there, beyond my anti-Yankee bias which no one including me is interested in, but I did have an anecdote to share about Munson that necessarily uses language that Readers Posts doesn’t permit, and a more general observation about sitting in the good seats.

What were the best seats at the ballpark you ever sat in? I’m from the old school (specifically cutting classes at the old junior-high to subway out to Shea), getting into the ballpark on seats earned by saving Borden’s milk cartons and the like, the worst seats in the house by far, and because I was a kid in my milk-carton days, sneaking lower and lower until maybe by the 8th inning being allowed by permissive ushers to sit in the abandoned box seats, especially in blowouts where who cares where kids are sitting for the last few outs? As I got older, but before I got disgustingly old, I would buy decent seats around the mezzanine level in Shea. Sometimes I would  sit at field level, if they had relatively cheap seats available there, and occasionally I would sit in the nosebleed section or the bleacher seats if that’s all I could afford, but I stopped trying to sneak into the good seats after a certain age—doesn’t look good for a grown man to sit in seats he doesn’t hold a ticket to.

Although one time as an adult I did sneak into the good seats, with one of my daughters when she was around 12, at a Mets game (making this around 1998 or ’99): I was an active poster on a Mets’ fan-site where another poster used to brag how he had box seats he’d be eager to share with other regulars on the site. One day, I took him up on the offer, so he told me and my daughter to meet him at a certain gate at a certain time. When we showed up, he asked us to buy cheap tickets. A little bit puzzled (why would we have to buy tickets at all if he had a box?), I did so, and he took us into the stadium, where he bribed an usher to let us into the good-seat area and then asked me to reimburse him for the bribe. The combined cost of cheap tickets + bribe money pushed the price up to where I could have just bought us pretty decent seats in the first place, but I was with my kid and didn’t want to get into an argument with our "host," so I ponied up the twenty or thirty bucks, and then we sat in okay seats for a few innings, moving up (like when I was 12 and cutting school) to better seats later in the game. I wrote up the experience afterwards on the website, embarrassing the guy "with box seats" somewhat, and he never spoke to me again, but I felt that warning others what "with box seats" really meant was a public service, and felt at least a little bit better about participating in his little scam by publishing my exposé.

But on a couple of other occasions I got to sit in the boxes close up to the field, and each time I had a star ballplayer, during the game, yell at someone sitting next to me. One of these stars was Munson.

This was 1977, when the Yankees were a hot team and a hot ticket. It felt like September, but a little research reveals that it was August 31, 1977  https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA197708310.shtml  when my fiancée, working as an editor in Manhattan, got a pair of tickets from her boss. I wasn’t a Yankee fan, then or ever, but the Mets stunk that year, stunk really bad, and I was reading articles about the Bronx Zoo every day on the back pages of the Post and News—besides which, who’s going to turn down a pair of box-seat tickets?

The tickets were to great seats, as I it turned out, three or four rows behind the Yankees’ dugout, and it was a terrific game. Forty years later, all I had to go on was that it was

1)      A night game

2)      In early September,

3)      a game that Nettles had a really good night on, one HR for sure, maybe two,

4)      while Munson had a terrible night at the plate, and

5)      was replaced in mid-game

which made it easy to look up, once I figured out that "early September" might refer to the time we got home to Brooklyn Heights, after midnight.

I remembered Munson’s terrible night as hitting into two inning-ending DPs, because the incident I remember took place as Munson was walking into the dugout with his teammates running out onto the field, but I was remembering wrong: Munson’s first AB was a strikeout, his second AB was just a vanilla 5-3 (following a Nettles HR), and his third and last was just an inning-ending groundout to the second baseman.  It was a weak groundball, and Munson was an easy out at first, so the Yankee fans near me were ragging him pretty hard, 0-for-3 at that point and not getting a ball past the infield. One meathead, sitting right behind my fiancée, was yelling all sorts of abusive stuff at Munson, as he disgustedly walked into the dugout for his catcher’s gear, starting with "Why don’t you…" as in "Why don’t you hit another dribbler?" or maybe "Why don’t you retire, Munson?" Stuff like that.

Most of the way from the first-base line to the dugout, Munson just took it, scowling, staring at the grass, but when he got close, and the verbal abuse got louder, he lost it. He looked the guy straight in the eye (meaning just above my fiancee’s hairline) and yelled, clear as day, "Why don’t you suck my cock?"

I don’t know how the guy responded, exactly, to this invitation. For my part, and my fiancee’s part, we were kind of astounded that Munson had been listening that closely to the abuse (literally hundreds of fans had been screaming at him, though this one guy did have a pretty distinct bullhorn of a voice) or that he bothered to respond.  As I recall, the whole place quieted down quickly, and Munson’s teammates, maybe including his manager, Billy Martin, grabbed Munson and escorted him into the dugout before he could get into a whole back-and-forth with this fan behind the dugout.

My memory has it that Munson was taken out of the game at that point but, again, my memory is wrong: that second groundout ended the bottom of the fifth inning, and Fran Healy didn’t replace Munson until the top of the seventh. Still, I’m sure this was the game I remember. The Yankees had a lead over the Red Sox and the Orioles, not a commanding lead (four games with a month to go), and Mike Torrez, leading 2-0, gave up three runs in Munson’s final inning behind the plate, so replacing Munson at that point with the weak-hitting Healy was a strange move for Martin to make. Normally, behind by a run in a pennant race, Martin would want his MVP to get another AB or two.

My feeling was that Martin felt he had no choice other than to take Munson out—his MVP clearly was upset, screaming at fans, and he felt Munson needed to leave the game at that point to cool off.

The other reason I’m sure this was the game that I remember is that Nettles did have a great night, maybe his best offensive game ever: he drove in the Yankees’ first run on a single in the first inning, drove in their second run on a solo HR in the third inning, and ended the game with a walkoff HR in the bottom of the ninth. Hard to do much better than that.

We had a lot to talk about on the subway ride home, but the thing that stuck with us, of course, was Munson cursing at a fan, who richly deserved it. We were both a little shocked by the vulgar language, which we heard, and used, ourselves, all the time, of course, but coming from a professional ballplayer? That was unusual. As I said, it was a little shocking to me that a professional would pay any attention to fans screaming at them, much less that he would respond at all in kind to one fan in particular. It was interesting to see such clear evidence of a major leaguer getting rattled by a fan.

The next time I got similarly excellent seats was a few decades later, when I was dating a woman whose company owned box seats at Shea (having married and divorced the afore-mentioned fiancée)—she wasn’t a baseball fan either, but soon discovered that I was, and that I’d appreciate the company seats, which were almost the exact equivalent of my Yankee seats two decades earlier, a few rows behind the Mets’ dugout. By this time, the Mets had gotten good again. Again this was late in the season, and I’m guessing it was this game  https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN199910020.shtml, on October 2, 1999. The Mets had been eliminated from the NL East, but were still in the hunt for the wild card, in a tight race with the Reds and the Astros for the sole wild-card spot, so tight it ended up needing a 163rd regular-season playoff game to be scheduled between the Reds and the Mets, a few nights later, in Cincinnati.

I’m not positive this was the game I remember, but I was definitely at this game (I abused the hell out of this woman’s company box seats, going to several home games that September and October) and Rickey Henderson definitely grounded out to shortstop, a la Thurman Munson, in this game.  It was leading off the bottom of the third, scored tied 0-0, when Henderson hit a sharp grounder to short, and was thrown out by five steps.

If Henderson had hustled, he might have been able to cut that down to four or even three steps, but 40 years old at the time (and having a terrific year), Henderson obviously decided that he had no shot at beating the throw, and jogged the last few steps to first, which got some of the fans around me pretty agitated. They took out their disapproval on Henderson, again as he was returning to the dugout. Most of it was just booing (I won’t swear an oath that I didn’t boo a little), but one guy, again right behind me, called out "You’re supposed to run everything out, Rickey!"

Since we were no more than ten or twelve feet from the dugout, he obviously heard the guy. To everyone’s surprise, though, Rickey stopped running to the dugout and looked up at the guy who criticized his baserunning.

Not angrily at all, nothing like Munson’s pissed-off invitation to perform an act of unusual intimacy on him, almost I would say amused at the idea that there was a good reason to hustle on an easy 6-3, Rickey stopped in his tracks and asked the guy "What for?"

Total silence. A ballplayer, a sure-shot HoFer, no less, getting into a conversation with a fan, in the middle of an inning of a close, crucial game? Rickey waited patiently for an answer.

After a second or two, the fan said, lamely, "You just gotta."

Rickey looked at him disapprovingly, as if to say "That’s not a reason," and sort of shrugged. He walked into the dugout with a little smile on his face. To me, that smile said "Dumb fan. Rickey could pull a hamstring running out groundballs that have Rickey out by a mile," but maybe that’s just my imagination working overtime.

Those are my experiences the few times I’ve had really excellent seats at the ballpark. Looking back, maybe having those kind of seats is worth the extra expense—I’ve certainly gotten a few memories and a few stories out of those occasions, involving Hall of Famers and Hall of Fame candidates, and I’m glad I got this chance to revisit those times. Thanks for reading, and looking forward to hearing some of your stories about sitting in the good seats or your interactions with players.

 
 

COMMENTS (35 Comments, most recent shown first)

Brock Hanke
Some years ago, I knew a man who worked for the Sporting News here in STL. He told me that, if you are alert, you can get into the best seats in the park by going to where the aisles are and watching for the ushers. These seats - the corporate boxes - are so good that there are ushers who not only will show you to your seats, but wipe them clean for you with a towel (and often get tipped), so they are not always watching the aisle to check tickets. Well, maybe a third of the corporate seats are empty on any given night. If you wait for all the ushers to be actually escorting fans, you can slip into the section unnoticed, find an area with few fans in it, and just sit down. No one will call you on it unless the people who actually have those exact seats show up. Then you take a quick look at your tix, say, "Oops" and go out the aisle, and over to the next section down. This works at least 90% of the time for me, and when it doesn't, all that happens is that I end up in the seats I paid for. But I never thought to even try it until the guy from TSN told me.
5:33 AM Aug 16th
 
wovenstrap
Turns out Darryl had a 3-HR game in 1985. I checked. He had a couple more RBIs in that game, so maybe that's #1. I saw #2 I guess. It's interesting that for the two guys I chose with longer careers, I wasn't actually right about seeing the best game. For the guy with the shorter career, it was a gimme.

Bill said once that fluke years are rarer than you think, if a guy did that year he probably had another year as good. This is something like that. Darryl did have another game that good.​
10:33 PM Aug 15th
 
MarisFan61
I remember that '96 Strawberry game very well, from TV.
Before I check on the date to be sure......I know it was August (although of course even this could turn out wrong) :-) .....and I think it was the 4th.
Dunno why, but for some reason that date is sticking in my head: 8/4/96

If I remember right, he had gotten the 3 by mid-game and had a chance or two at a 4th.
Now gonna go and check, and meanwhile also try to figure out why I'd be remembering the date.....

Well no, it was 8/6/96.
BTW if this had been "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," I would have just said "August 4, 1996" without feeling I needed a lifeline.

And yes, he hit the third one in the 5th inning.
After that: 7th inning, deep flyout to LF.
And that's it.​
9:02 PM Aug 15th
 
wovenstrap
The Cerone game was noteworthy because Sparky Anderson issued an intentional walk to Graig Nettles THREE TIMES during the game, and all three times, Cerone made him pay, with 2 RBI singles and then the Grand Salami. I was 10 years old (my 10th birthday was the day before). It was awesome.
7:55 PM Aug 15th
 
wovenstrap
(I was wrong about that Burnett game. He was the SP in a game that was a collective 1-hitter, he went 7IP. It wasn't anywhere close to being the best game of his career, judging by Game Score.)
7:50 PM Aug 15th
 
wovenstrap
When I was 14, it was 1984 and our day camp had acquired tickets to a night game in the Bronx. (We started out an hour north of the park.) We occupied the few hours with nothing to do by mobbing the players' entrance gate, John Montefusco was nice, Ken Griffey Sr., we got a few autographs. Then the new kid Mattingly comes into view and hollers at us, "Out of my fucking way! I ain't signing shit!" and took advantage of our stunned reaction to slip through us into the park. We talked about nothing else for the rest of the night, almost a coping mechanism, to laugh it off, but we were genuinely shocked.

The mention of Nettles maybe having his best day ever -- I realized that without much difficulty I could summon three instances of maybe seeing a player almost certainly having the best day of his whole career. I go to like 2 games a year, most years, although it has been a while so it adds up. I was present at a Memorial Day game in 1980 when Rick Cerone had three hits, 6 RBIs, and a grand slam; I saw Darryl Strawberry hit 3 HRs against the White Sox in 1996; and I saw AJ Burnett toss a nifty one-hitter against the Mets in 2009. How about that.
7:42 PM Aug 15th
 
BobGill
I sat very close at least a dozen times at Orioles games in the 1990s (old and new stadiums) and early 2000s, because the head honcho at the place I worked had season tickets through the company and used to give them to some of us peons occasionally when he didn't feel like going. My main recollection of interaction with the fans involved an ex-player, John Stearns, who was coaching first base for the Brewers or somebody at the time. We were sitting in the first row a bit beyond first, so Stearns was pretty much in a direct line between us and the bag. He had put on a little weight by then, and somebody sitting not far behind us yelled at him a couple of times to move out of the way because he was blocking our view of the field. Once or twice he looked around and reacted with a smile and a shrug.

Oh, and a different sort of thing that might fit this general subject: One time in about 1992, when my dad was at the game with me, Mike Devereaux stopped near us to sign a few autographs, and immediately a big crowd gathered -- not just kids, but guys in their 20s and maybe older. They were pushing forward, reaching right over top of us, and my dad, then approaching 70, was not amused. "Bout to snap my neck," he muttered to me. Well, Devereaux heard that. He looked up at everybody and said, "Hey everybody, you're pushing up against people in the front row here. You have to back off or I'm not signing any more" -- which they did. I've always remembered that kind of fondly.

9:13 PM Aug 10th
 
jayodum
Love the stories and the theme - best seat I ever had was two rows behind the visitors dugout at Royals Stadium. I remembered the game being on my birthday (#17 in 1985) and the reason that we had such great seats is because it was a makeup game. My recollection was that the Royals won 1-0 in the 10th on a groundout to SS, with Jack Morris on the mound and U L Washington the batter.

Looking it up, I wasn't too far off. The score was actually 2-1 in 10 and Morris was on the mound, with the winning run scoring on a FC. But U L was in Montreal in 1985 - his replacements at short were both "involved" in the play in a way. Dave Leeper (don't remember him at all and I was a fanatic about the Royals) pinch hit for Buddy Biancalana (1985 - how in the world did I not remember that was Buddy's year) and Onix Concepcion, running for Bye Bye, scored the run.

What a wonderful memory this brought back for me - thank you.
7:47 PM Aug 10th
 
evanecurb
These stories are wonderful. I think Rickey wins for best attitude among players toward fans, and Jason Grimsley wins best quote.
1:28 PM Aug 10th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Yeah, aren't these great stories, Gary? Thanks, everyone, for the kind words.

MattD, hope you won't mind I went back and edited it so it reads "1977" instead of "1978." Makes your helpful comments look like "Whaaa?", I know, but you and I know what you meant.
12:59 PM Aug 10th
 
Gfletch
This is the first article on BJOL in a long, long time that I have not only read every word of it, but have read every word of all the comments. I'm a stories guy and love them in many forms. These fan/player interactions are surprisingly endearing.

We've had another (small) resurrection of the Jim Bouton / Ball Four discussion over on Reader Posts. Early in that book, Bouton remembers going to Yankee Stadium as a kid and scaling a lid off a soft drink or dixie cup towards the field, watching in surprise and some guilt as it managed to sail all the way out to the infield.

At first he was worried some adult would have him thrown out of the park. But then Whitey Ford walked over, picked up the lid and stuffed it into his pocket. Bouton just sat there thinking, "Wow. Whitey Ford has 'my' dixie cup lid in his pocket!"

Bouton has always had things in perspective, and never forgot how important the fan experience is, MLB or not. Not that MLB is unimportant, but that it's not everything. The fans matter. Their experience matters.

Thanks, Steven, and thanks to all of you commenting with your memories. Really enjoyed this.
11:54 AM Aug 10th
 
smbakeresq
Not a game, but about Ricky. My brothers friend had a sporting goods store near Baltimore and framed jerseys were just becoming a thing. To promote the store, he had Ricky come in for a meet and greet and some photos. Ricky did all of that and when finished, then bought his own autographed Jersey in a frame because "it was the best one in the store." Yes Ricky bought his own jersey, I guess he liked the frame...
10:50 AM Aug 10th
 
evanecurb
I meant to say the ball was in Hendricks' bare hand, not his glove hand. i.e. it was a terrible call. Burkhart was knocked down on the play and didn't see the tag at all. He should have asked for help from the base umpires.
8:18 AM Aug 10th
 
evanecurb
In game one of the 1970 World Series, there was a famous play where Elrod Hendricks tagged Bernie Carbo at home with his glove, but the ball was in his hand. Umpire Ken Burkhart called Carbo out. Baltimore won the game 4-3.

In 1978, I was playing in a college baseball game. Ken Burkhart was the home plate umpire.

In 1984, I attended an Orioles' - Rangers game in Arlington. Our seats were down the left field line, in the front row, right next to the Orioles' bullpen. Hendricks was the bullpen coach/catcher, just a few feet away. Right before the game, I spoke with him. I told him that I had played in a game where Burkhart was the umpire. His response: "Was he sober?"
8:16 AM Aug 10th
 
evanecurb
On opening day in 1977 my friends and I purchased four seats at the gate. The seats were three rows in back of the Orioles dugout in Memorial Stadium, for $6 each. Those were the most expensive seats in the ballpark. Palmer vs. Blyleven. O’s had a rookie first baseman named Murray. Rangers won 2-1. No interaction but great seats at a great price.


6:44 AM Aug 10th
 
bewareofdow
After we finished university in April 1991, my friend and I spent five or six weeks driving from Edmonton to San Diego and back. We went to eleven or twelve games in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Diego. The A’s were out of town coming and going.

A couple highlights when we had good seats:
- We snuck up to front row seats at the Kingdome. Scott Bradley was talking to a couple regulars next to us. He look over and said, “People usually wait for the to game start before they move up, boys.”
- A couple weeks later, we had Dodger Stadium front row seats along the first base line for a day game. We took our shirts off during BP and Jason Grimsley, who was playing catch a few feet in front of us, shielded his eyes from the “glare”.
11:03 PM Aug 9th
 
MarisFan61
Not related to the article, but thought I'd mention, Guidry can still pitch. :-)
He pitched in this year's Old Timers game too -- and was doing well enough that people were joking about how the Yanks could use him in their rotation.
4:16 PM Aug 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Loving these stories
4:04 PM Aug 9th
 
bhalbleib
My only true experience with sitting in the box seats at a game occurred in Yankee Stadium, this time in 1996. My pal from Law School was working for a silk stocking firm in NY and got us the REALLY GOOD SEATS right behind home plate, we must have been no more than 10 rows up. As luck would have it, the Yankees were playing my Royals that day and as double luck would have it, it was the day of the Old-Timers Game at Yankee Stadium. They played the Old Timers game before the actual game and being the Yankees there were some pretty cool names out there playing (guys I hate of course, but still cool) Anyway, as close as we were, we could hear a lot of what they were saying to each other. I remember Goose Gossage being told to tone it down a little and not having any control when he took a few MPH off his fastball (which no one wanted to dig in on). Whoever was managing one the teams decided it would be funny to bring in Ron Guidry to pitch to a 56 year old Joe Pepitone (you know to get the platoon advantage). Pepitone was really ticked off and let whoever it was managing the other team (Yogi perhaps?) have it in no uncertain terms. Guidry still threw pretty hard and Pepitone wanted no part of that AB, looking a little like John Kruk against Randy Johnson in the All Star Game, cursing Guidry, the other manager and the world in general with each hapless swing of the bat.
3:53 PM Aug 9th
 
MarisFan61
My favorite-ever player reaction to razzing was Darryl Strawberry in the '86 World Series, in Fenway. I think that's where and when the DAAAAAA-rylllll thing started. I'm not sure about the full sequence of his reactions because all I know is what was shown on TV, but from what I could tell, for a while he ignored it but when it got louder and louder, he made a "oh c'mon" face and sarcastically tipped his cap.
3:44 PM Aug 9th
 
bhalbleib
Great story. I also hate the Yankees, although I have better reason than you, having grown up in the 70s in KC. Nettles, Munson, etc. are curse words in my household (not as much as Chambliss).

Anyway, I have a similar experience with The Rickey. I went to a game at old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, I think it was the last year before the Jake and I had lower level seats but down the LF line. (wikipedia tells me that is the summer of 1993, which comports with my memory, as that would have been after my 2nd year of Law School). The Rickey was on the LFer for the opposing team (I believe the Blue Jays) and some of the fans were razzing him from the near empty seats that day (of course half capacity would seem empty in that place). Anyway, most of the time when an outfielder is getting razzed, he pretends he can't hear anything. The Rickey was totally different. He seemed to enjoy the razzing. He would stare into the stands and when he spotted the perpetrator he would smile at them. I was amazed. He literally spent the entire game looking into the stands except he seemed to have a sixth sense as to when to turn his head back around to watch the action just as the pitch was thrown.
3:38 PM Aug 9th
 
chuck
Shared this on reader posts before, but one of the funniest things I saw at a game was on a very cold, rainy night in Arlington Stadium, 1993. Nolan Ryan vs Ben McDonald (Orioles). Ryan didn't last long (game score 29), and it was a miserable night. Much of the crowd took off after Ryan left, the Rangers down 6-1. A bunch of guys moved into the seats behind home plate, up several rows from the field.
In the 6th McDonald began to struggle, and it dawned on me after a little bit that these guys were mustering a unison outburst just as McDonald was getting set for each pitch: "E-I-E-I-OHHHHHH!". He didn't get out of the inning.
3:21 PM Aug 9th
 
MarisFan61
(Steven: The baseball-ref thing wasn't meant to be a link. It's just that this site automatically "blue-ifies" and "quasi-link-ifies" anything like that.)
3:14 PM Aug 9th
 
benhurwitz
1997 or 1998 -- second row at Yankee stadium behind visitor's dugout, Mariners in town for a Saturday day game. Ken Griffey Jr. comes up to bat, and a guy behind me tries getting on him: "They're gonna curve ya, Griff! Watch out for the hook", etc. Griffey homers. Just before going into the dugout, he calls out to his heckler, "I got the hook!"
2:41 PM Aug 9th
 
3for3
https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI198804050.shtml

A triple and a HR...
2:21 PM Aug 9th
 
3for3
Had great seats, right on top of the dugout at the new Busch. Had seats one row behind the scouts at the old vet. But, the only interaction with the crowd I remember was on opening night, when we wer in RF? and Darnell Coles schooled the Phillies. The fans gave him a little ovation when he came out for a late inning after what was probably his second HR; he turned and took a bow....I’ll go trace that now.
2:17 PM Aug 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
I was trying to insert "Mike Torrez" after "knocked" and before "out of the box"
1:46 PM Aug 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Speaking of Bucky F. Dent, Mike Torrez, confounding our expectations of HoFers: in this game with the scored tied in the 8th, the Yankees knocked out of the box , bringing in the lefty Galasso, who faced Reggie pinchhitting with two out. He meekly grounded out to 2B, and was replaced by BFD in the field. The script called for Reggie to pinch hit a grand slam, but it wasn't October yet. Reading the boxscore is almost better than being at the game, because I know now what happened later.
1:41 PM Aug 9th
 
DHM
Ha! Great point Maris - dude I know still tells a story about 30 years ago Ric Flair pointed directly at him and said into his mic "You shut your mouth when the world champ is talking, punk!"
Maybe one of his fondest memories.
1:34 PM Aug 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Absolutely right, Matt--it was 1977. I looked quickly at the date on bbref.com ("NYA197708310") and read that "8" wrong. In fall of '78 I was in grad school in Boston, hearing from the street the screams when Bucky F. Dent faced Torrez....

MF61--linky no work. Not sure what you're tracing.
1:08 PM Aug 9th
 
FrankD
in case you don't remember here's the Uecker commercial

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPh4iF76LbU
1:05 PM Aug 9th
 
FrankD
I remember going to a Ranger's game in the mid-80s. It was Halter Top night and the women lined up to get their halter tops autographed, the players didn't seem to mind interacting with these fans. And in the '70s we'd go to Twins games at old Met Stadium. Just about every game, one of us or somebody else would run up to the empty nose-bleed seats and yell "Great seats , hey buddy" and then "He missed the tag, he missed the tag" ala Uecker .........
1:03 PM Aug 9th
 
MarisFan61
One hazard of posting anything here is that our folks know about doing "Tracers." :-)

There's all kinds of stuff that I thought I remembered vividly, then along came retrosheet and baseball-ref.com, and I went and checked....
12:49 PM Aug 9th
 
MattD1
Both great stories thanks for sharing, but the Yankees one had to have been ‘77. By August 31 Martin had been replaced by Bob Lemon, Healy had been released, and in ‘78 Torrez was pitching for the Red Sox.
12:43 PM Aug 9th
 
MarisFan61
About the Munson thing: "....it was a little shocking to me that a professional would pay any attention to fans screaming at them, much less that he would respond at all in kind to one fan in particular":
Some players may not realize -- or maybe don't care, it has nothing to do with how they'd react or not react -- that when they give any kind of response to a fan, it makes his day, maybe his year or his life.
Even if it's something hostile; maybe even especially-- because then the fan knows he made an impression on the player. I think we can be pretty sure the guy who was yelling at Munson was beyond delighted, and told the story for the rest of his life. If he's still living, he's still telling it.

As a kid I sometimes went to wrestling matches with a friend who was really into it, wrote articles for magazines and stuff like that. He carefully instructed me on how to ask the wrestlers for autographs. Most of them just signed, but one of them, even though I had dutifully done it in the appropriate respectful manner, said "Shut up" and just kept walking. I was on cloud 9 -- Crazy Luke Graham told ME to shut up!!!
11:56 AM Aug 9th
 
 
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