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G(r)eek Chorus, Part IV

Posted By Jason Fry On March 19, 2005 @ 5:35 am In Main Page | Comments Disabled

Hey! It didn't rain! And we played a game! It ended in a tie, but

anything that can be managed in between downpours is cool with us right

now.

On to the 60's….

It's a shame Dave Magadan isn't

remembered more (meaning, of course, “isn't remembered more by people

other than geeks like us”). The man hit .328 in 1990 despite the fact

that he was slightly faster than continental drift, looked weirdly like

Bruce Springsteen, and hung around long enough to collect nearly 1,200

hits — Tommie Agee, by comparison, hung 'em up with 999, which always

struck me as faintly tragic. On the other hand, he owned a crappy bar

in South St. Petersburg where in 1992 I decided “Friends in Low Places”

was the greatest song in history and let my drunk pal Pete convince me

it was a good idea to let a temporarily homeless college girl 

stay in my parents' house, from which she stole a variety of small,

expensive things. (What's that? These poor decisions might have been my fault? Who profited from the beer that fueled these bad decisions, then? Huh? Huh huh huh? That's right — Dave Magadan.) Maybe Frank Cashen signed Mike Marshall after drinking seven warm Buds and scratching on the 8 ball at Magadan's.

Speaking of Ed Charles, he was

from St. Pete too, and over the years he's been called upon countless

times by local scribes needing some column inches about old times. He's

always delivered, speaking movingly of being in a crowd of black teens

who ran after Jackie Robinson's train as it headed back north and, once

it was out of sight, pressed their ears to the rails to feel its

vibration. That's love. And he'd talk of how racism marooned him in the

minors for the best years of his youth, summing it up with “Baby, that

was a hurtin' thing.” It's hard to imagine anything could

counterbalance that, but I like to think that whatever he felt as Grote

lifted Koosman into the air helped. If there's a blog running down the

100 Greatest Portraits of Pure Human Joy, the Glider dancing near the

Shea Stadium mound better be in the top 10.

Poor Gary Gentry. A picture of

him and Tom Terrific hangs in our hallway, serving as a warning, I

suppose, that there are forks in young, talented roads. (It could also

just be a cool photo.) Back when Izzy and Pulse and Wilson were being

measured for their Cooperstown plaques, the arguments among the

faithful concerned which Met they were the Second Coming of. Seaver?

Koosman? Matlack? As it turned out, all three were the Second Coming of

Gary Gentry.

I've always had a weakness for powder-keg players, so of course I loved Dennis Cook.

When things started going awry for Cook — as they did fairly often, it

must be remembered — it became a three-way race between He'll Get Out of It (#1), Bobby Will Finally Go Get Him (#2) and He'll Fly Into a Rage at an Opposing Player, an Ump, a Vendor, Etc. (#3). #3 was the winner a fair amount, which was oddly calming — Sure,

a minute ago I was beating my forehead against the coffee table and

biting myself, but Jeez, Cookie's turning purple! Shouldn't the trainer

get out there? And of course he was deaf in one ear and so

instructed each class of first basemen that they needed to scream at

him to get his attention. And as a Ranger he drove his rusting pickup

to the ballpark one February, bluetick hound and beer in the back, to

greet fans waiting in line to buy tickets. As fan relations go that's

not quite handing beers out to all comers from your Winnebago [1], but it's damn close. Come back, Cookie — we miss you.


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[1] handing beers out to all comers from your Winnebago: http://espn.go.com/mlb/s/2003/0515/1554407.html

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