Olllld Baseball Digests never fail to amuse! Am I right?! I sure hope so (gulp!), ‘cause here’re some more tidbits from ‘em:

Item: Pitcher and notorious night-owl Bo Belinsky was nabbed many times violating curfew. One night, his manager caught him and fined him $100. Belinsky replied dreamily, “That’s OK Skipper. This night was worth it.”

[Question about “night-owl”; is there a corresponding opposite expression, like, “She’s a real day-owl”?]

Item: Jimmie Dykes told this story from his playing days. At bat with two strikes on him, Dykes decided to take the next pitch. The ump hollered, “Steeeee-rike three! Yer out!” Dykes carped at the ump, “Boy, you missed that one.” Sez the ump, “Well, I wouldn’t have if I’d had a bat.”

Item: Long ago, there once was a minor-league player named Woody Bottoms. Sounds uncomfortable, yes, but that’s not the gag. Each time that he went to the plate for an at-bat, the public address announcer would cheerfully call out, “Bottoms up!”

Item: Charlie Dressen was a very talkative and quotable player and manager during a lifetime spent in baseball. The story goes that a baseball executive who was friendly with Dressen agreed to ask Charlie if he would be interested in managing the Detroit Tigers. They get on the phone and the exec asks what Charlie’s been doing. Dressen starts a harangue about just having returned from a Yankees-Tigers game, and how lousy the Tigers are – “That club is miserable. I’ve never seen such a loafing, no-talent team.” His buddy interrupted, “Um, Charlie, Detroit wants you as their new manager.” Without hesitating, Dressen starts another long monologue: “I’ll do it! And let me tell ya, these Tigers, they’ve got a lot of possibilities! . . .”

Item: Dizzy Dean was a colorful pitcher in the 1930s, always quick with a quip, or, because he had a penchant for mangling the English language, a malaprop. After his playing career he became a broadcaster, and one night, he signed off with the following confounder: “Don’t fail to miss tomorrow night’s game!”

Item: In an early 1968 BBD, Virginia Kay of the Chicago Daily News wrote about the 1967 American League champion Boston Red Sox and their star outfielder Carl Yastrzemski, aka “Yaz.” Kay opined that “One good thing about Boston winning the pennant. It taught a lot of people how the heck to spell Yastrzemski.”

A couple chuckles here from a 1960s journeyman named Rocky Bridges:

“I hold a unique place in baseball history; I’m the only guy who started his career in a slump and never came out of it.”

“I got traded a lot (seven times in 11 seasons). My wife had eventually had to write to me in care of the baseball Commissioner. He was the only one who knew where I was.”

Item: Dizzy Dean strikes again! One day, Ol’ Diz is broadcasting a game and just can’t seem to pronounce a visiting player’s name correctly; the young man was from Mexico, and was named Jesus, which in Spanish is pronounced “Hay-soos.” But Dizzy said it just like he had all his life – Jee-zuss. Well, at one point Jesus in on the basepaths, and attempts to make it home, and Diz describes it: “He’s tagging up! He’s gonna try it! Here he comes! It’s a good throw! He slides! And Jee-zuss, he scores!”

Item: Gee (not short for “Gesus,” as far as I know) Walker was a player in the 1930s and 40s known for occasionally making bad base-running decisions. After one particularly bad gaffe, his manager told him the next time he got tagged out between two bases, he’d have to pay a $50 fine. Well, in that same game, he managed to get hung up between first and second. Reluctant to part with fifty bucks, Gee hollered to the second baseman, “Drop the throw and I’ll give you $25!”

Item: One gloomy day a ballgame was interrupted by a rain delay. A father and son were listening on the radio at home, and heard the announcer mention every 10 minutes or so “The Pirates-Dodgers game is being delayed by rain, with the score tied at 5-5 and Bob Elliott on second base.” After the fifth such announcement, the kid earnestly asked his dad, “Geez, why are they keeping poor Elliott on second base during the whole rainstorm?”

TakeFiveT5@yahoo.com

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