Stops along the baseball beat
Updated: November 12, 2012 10:54AM
Before covering the Cubs and White Sox for 27 years (1973-2000), I got a job selling men’s sweaters at Bloomingdale’s Department Store in Stamford, Conn. at Christmas time in 1960.
I was so poor at ringing up sales that my boss said, “If anyone wants to buy a sweater, bring him over to the front desk and someone will ring it up for you.”
Nothing happened the first day, but the next day a man waiting for his wife to shop came over and examined the sweaters.
I knew who this guy was. He was very famous. I prayed he wouldn’t want a sweater, but he did. I tried the best I could to ring up the sale when I couldn’t find another salesman, and I did. And that’s how I sold a nice sweater to Jackie Robinson.
The best game I ever saw happened in the 1956, in Detroit, when Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox faced Jim Bunning with a one-run deficit in the ninth inning.
Williams worked a full count without swinging the bat before homering into the upper deck for the victory.
Williams was asked why he swung at the sixth pitch after watching the first five.
“Bill Tuttle moved,” he said.
Williams meant Bunning’s first five pitches were hard to pick out of center-fielder Bill Tuttle’s white uniform. But when Tuttle moved a little bit to his left, Williams was able to see the sixth pitch perfectly from the green background of the wall.
My boss gave me marching orders my first year of Cubs’ spring training in 1974: “Give us a 600-word story for the Red Streak morning deliveries to homes and 200 words for the afternoon Green Streak for trains going back home.”
I chose players with high numbers for the Green Sheet on the correct assumption they that didn’t have much chance to make the team. The first player, an infielder, wore No. 68. He didn’t make the team, but he went on to great things
“I don’t know if I can make it. I’m almost 30 years old, I have a sore shoulder and I’m not very fast,” Tony LaRussa said.~.