Jocks and Socks|
Inside Stories From A Major-League Locker Room
by Jim Ksicinski and Tom Flaherty
Contemporary Books, 2001 | Buy the book
In the last fifteen years, weíve seen a changing of the guard with managers. You donít see the Earl Weavers, the Gene Mauchs, or the Billy Martins. You see the Tom Kellys, the Tony LaRussas, and the Tom Trebelhorns. They came in as a bright, very technical, hard-working bunch of guys who relied a lot on computers and statistics. Iím sure if Billy Martin were around today, he wouldnít be interested in computers. He might look at some of the statistics in the pregame press notes, but that was about it. The numbers were already in his head.
The old-time managers, they came in and you knew they were the bosses. There was a certain air of respect for them. You didnít horse around with a manager. The manager didnít horse around with the players. He was the adult, authoritarian figure in the clubhouse. When the Brewers moved to Milwaukee from Seattle, Dave Bristol was the manager. It wasnít unusual for Bristol to have three or four players take extra batting practice after a night game. Dave was very intense and was respected by his players. That didnít mean they liked him.
In recent years, weíve seen managers playing practical jokes on players. And weíve seen players playing practical jokes on managers. Iím sure John McGraw was really twisting and turning in his grave when Rene Lachemann was managing the Seattle Mariners. Lachemann was a bright young manager who was very popular with his players. Unlike the old-line managers, who would go their own way after a game, Lach went out with his players and had a few beers. He was one of the guys, and that made him fair game for some of their pranksósuch as sneaking into his room and pouring Jell-O in his toilet and pouring ice on it to speed up the gelling process. When the Jell-O got hard, it made a real mess.
So, when Doug Rader was named manager of the Texas Rangers, I was ready for all sorts of mischief. As a player, Rader was right up there with Moe Drabowsky when it came to clubhouse pranks. He was just as zany when he was managing the Hawaii team in the Pacific Coast League, his last rung on the managerial ladder before reaching the major leagues.
I looked at Rader as a practical joke ready to happen, but it never happened in my clubhouse. I think he calmed down a lot after becoming a big-league manager, but he could still make life in the clubhouse interesting.
One of the clubhouse phones was right next to the managerís locker. That was too much temptation, even for a reformed Doug Rader. He would smear Vaseline on the earpiece, then yell to a player that he was wanted on the phone. The player would end up with an ear full of Vaseline. I canít imagine Dick Williams or Gene Mauch smearing Vaseline on a telephone.
From Jocks and Socks by Jim Ksicinski and Tom Flaherty.
Copyright © 2001 by Jim Ksicinski and Tom Flaherty. Reprinted by permission of the McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.