By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from the Man Cave, watching our puppy, Parker, run in circles in the yard, full of sugar after climbing a table in the living room and stealing (and eating) three Hershey Kisses from a candy dish. We called the vet and we were told she should be OK. And she was, once she ran out of sugar.
—THE ROSE ROUTE: Free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is making the rounds, offering his fingers and one-handed catches to the highest bidder. This week his traveling monetarial pursuit takes him to the camps of the New York Giants, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys.
That reminds me of when Pete Rose became a free agent after the 1978 season and fielded some strange and tantalizing offers as he toured the urban landscape.
Pittsburgh owner John Galbreath, a race horse aficionado, knew where to strike at Rose’s psyche. He knew Rose loved horse racing (the ticket windows) and offered two brood mares and stud services from his best horses. Rose, though, didn’t want to play for a non-contender.
St. Louis owner Gussie Busch offered a Budweiser distributorship, but wanted Rose to replace Lou Brock and Pete didn’t want that. And Rose doesn’t like beer.
Kansas City owner Ewing Kauffman offered a stake in his oil investments portfolio, but Rose didn’t want to play in the American League because he wanted to pass Stan Musial as the all-time National League hits leader.
Atlanta’s Ted Turner offered a $100,000-a-year retirement package for the rest of Pete’s life, but Rose didn’t believe the team would be competitive.
All those offers included $1 million a year in salary.
Rose, though, accepted the lowest offer, a four-year $3.2 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, which included no additional incentives like the Liberty Bell or the profits from all the Philly cheesesteak establishments.
Rose loved Philadelphia players Larry Bowa, Greg Luzinski and Mike Schmidt. And he thought he could push them over the top.
How did it work out? Well, at age 38, Rose had 208 hits, 40 doubles, 20 stolen bases and led the NL with a .418 on-base average in 1979. And in 1980 he helped the Phillies win their first World Series in franchise history after losing its only other two chances in 1915 and 1950.
—QUOTE: From Pete Rose, The Hit King: “Every time I step up to the plate, I expect to get a hit. If I don’t expect to get a hit, I have no right to step into the batter’s box in the first place.” (His expectations were met 4,256 times.)
—SPIT AND SHINE: Gaylord Perry, The Great Expectorator, passed away this week, the pitcher known to cheat and admit it, but seldom get caught.
The man who wrote a book called, ‘Me & The Spitter,’ confessed that he tried applying everything to a baseball but salt, pepper and chocolate sauce.
A pitcher named Bob Shaw taught him how to deface a baseball and Perry said, “To me, it was like Thomas Edison discovering electricity.”
Although umpires constantly frisked him like a TSA agent, looking for foreign substances, he was only ejected once and that was when he pitched for Seattle.
He recounted the story to former Palm Beach Post writer Victor Lee, who was doing a piece on baseball cheaters. So he called Gaylord.
“He was warm, gracious and hilarious,” Lee told me. “Rene Lachemann was managing Seattle and they were in a tough spot. Rene visited the mound and told Gaylord, ‘Put a little extra something on the next pitch.’ He meant to throw it harder. One pitch later, Perry was ejected for applying an illegal substance. When he got to the dugout, Rene was livid and Perry said, ‘You told me to put something extra on it.’”
—QUOTE: From Gaylord Perry on pitching to Hall of Famer Rod Carew: “A greaseball is all I ever threw him and he still hit them. He’s the only player who consistently hit my greaseball. I guess he could pick out the dry side.”
—BUTLER ALMOST DID IT: During his 48 years as part of the University of Dayton football program, it is likely h retiring coach Rick Chamberlin had multiple chances to go elsewhere. But he didn’t.
Former Butler University broadcaster Brian Giffin related a story to me that came from his former broadcast partner and former Butler coach Ken Larose.
After Butler went 0-11 in 2005, they came after Chamberlin, UD’s defensive coordinator at the time, to be its head coach. Larose said he came close to accepting, but Larose figures UD’s coach at the time, Mike Kelly, talked him out of it.
Three years later, Chamberlin became UD’s head coach and 14 years later UD had 107 more victories.
—QUOTE: From UD football coach Rick Chamberlin at his retirement press conference: “The time was right for someone else to have the privilege of being the head football coach at the University Dayton and to learn how special it is to be a Flyer. And I truly mean that. It is a privilege to have this position at UD. It is very special to be a Flyer.” (Conversely, it was a special privilege for UD to have Rick Chamberlin as its football coach. Class oozes out of that man’s pores like Niagara Falls.)
—LET’S GO BOWL-ING: New Mexico State lost football games this season to Minnesota by 38-0, to Wisconsin by 66-7 and to Missouri by 45-14.
But due to the incredible number of insignificant and obscure bowls, the 5-and-6 Aggies were approved for a bowl appearance before they play their final game Saturday against Valparaiso.
Tell me, dear grid fans, where all these bowls will be played: Cube Bowl, Celebration Bowl, Lending Tree Bowl, Armed Forces Bowl, Gasparilla Bowl, Independence Bowl, Quick Lane Bowl, First Responder Bowl, Camellia Bowl, Guaranteed Rate Bowl, Cheez-It Bowl, Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
My score: 0 for 12.
—SPORTS DOCKET: What is going on these days in the sports world? Sports people are keeping the judicial system busy.
^University of Michigan starting defensive tackle Mazi Smith was charged with carrying a concealed weapon.
^University of Florida back-up quarterback Jalen Kitna is up on five charges of child pornography. (Yes, he is the son of former Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna.)
^Former major league and Cincinnati Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig is charged with lying to federal agents about sports betting with illegal gambling operations.
^Michigan State football player Khary Crump is facing felonious assault charges for his part in the tunnel incident after the MSU-Michigan game in Ann Arbor.
^Mickey Joseph, who coached Nebraska’s final seven games of the season on an interim basis, was arrested on a domestic violence charge.
^An arrest warrant has been in Florida for former NFL wide receiver and bad boy Antonio Brown for domestic battery.
Fortunately, there has been no news about any shenanigans from any sports writer.