OBSERVATIONS: Rose, Baker Discovered Gibby’s Demeanor The Hard Way

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Sun Room, temporarily abandoning The Man Cave because, even with a heater, it is too darn cold and even my dogs won’t stay with me out there.

—GRUFF GIBBY: It was generally known that St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson didn’t talk to opponents and barely talked to his teammates. Rookies, though, didn’t know that as Pete Rose and Dusty Baker discovered.

When Rose was a rookie playing second base, Gibson hit a double. Rose ambled over and said, “Whatja hit, Gibby, a fastball?” No answer. So Pete said it louder. “Whatja hit, Gibby, a fastball?” No answer, just a scowl.

After the inning, Rose asked manager Fred Hutchinson, “Is Gibson dea? I asked him twice what he hit and he didn’t answer.” Hutch told Rose that Gibson didn’t talk to opponents.

Rose said he was standing at the batting cage the next night and Gibson walked by and said, “Hey, rookie, it was a slider.” Said Rose. “It took him 24 $^$#^& hours, but he talked to me.”

When Dusty Baker, the former Cincinnati Reds manager, was a rookie with the Atlanta Braves, he was eating in a restaurant with some teammates and their wives.

They spotted Gibson and Baker’s teammates urged him to go say hello because since he was away from the field it was OK.

Baker sauntered over and said, “Excuse me, Mr. Gibson.” Without looking up, Gibson said, “Why the #%$#@#% should I talk to you?” Then Gibson spotted Baker’s wife and said politely, “It’s very nice to meet you, Mrs. Baker.”

—QUOTE: Bob Gibson talking about St. Louis Cardinals teammate Stan Musial: “Stan Musial is the nicest man I ever met in baseball. And to be honest, I can’t relate to that. I never knew that nice and baseball went together.”

—STUFF ON STEPH: Among the pituitary pythons that grace NBA floors, Steph Curry is a mere garter snake at 6-foot-2. But his three-point shooting has the bite of a black mamba.

During his illustrious career with the Golden State Warriors he has made 3,554 three-pointers, about 16 miles worth. The NBA three-point line is 23 feet, 9 inches (Why the nine inches?), but most of Curry’s three-pointers are 30 feet or longer, some from downtown Mountain View.

During pre-game warm-ups, he shoots some from half-court and makes them. During games, opponents know to pick him up at half-court or he’ll bury one.

And don’t foul him. He makes free throws 91 per cent of the time, an all-time NBA record.

Perhaps the most amazing numbers associated with Curry. . .he is paid $51.9 million a year.

When he was 9-years-old, he was on a 10-and-under team, but sat the bench because he was too small. . .until the other team went into a zone defense.

“I could shoot and when the other team went into a zone, they’d say, ‘Put Steph in,’” said Curry. “I’d go in and hit two or three outside shots. The other team would go back into a man-to-man and the coach would say, ‘C’mon back to the bench, Steph.’”

—SOME RESPECT, PLEASE: CBSSports puts out college basketball rankings and last week it had St. John’s (12-4) at No. 20. I know Dayton’s Flyers beat St. John’s, 88-81, in the Charleston Classic. I was there. I saw it. I wrote about it. And I heard St. John’s coach Rick Pitino whining about it afterwards.

But was Dayton in the top 20 before its win over Duquesne Friday with its 12-2 record and the win over St.John’s? No.

Why not?

Somebody clued them in after the Flyers beat Duquesne. The Flyers popped up at No. 18, but why is Creighton above the Flyers at 13-4? And why is is Tennessee ahead of UD at 12-4 and how in the name of Nike can Alabama be No. 5 at 11-5?

Don’t they know that Nick Saban retired? Wasn’t he Alabama’s coach when he wasn’t leading the football team?

—DaRON IS DANDY: There is no doubt that UD’s DaRon Holmes II is a better person than he is a basketball player, and he is one of the nation’s best basketball players.

When he addresses the media, it is always, “Yes, sir” and “No sir” and “Thank you, sir.” His heart is as big as a hot air balloon.

While he was scoring 33 points and destroying Duquesne, the Duquene student section abused him verbally without interruption for 40 minutes.

After the game, a 72-62 UD win, Holmes went to the student section and began shaking hands and posing for pictures. Now that’s class,

And it is no different on the floor. He plays with total unselfishness. When he is double and triple-teamed, he finds an open teammate for an open shot. He is as loyal to his teammates as a toy collie.

Said UD coach Anthony Grant, “Sometimes I wish he would be more selfish.”

—BOOK IT ON UD: If you are a UD fan, or just a basketball fan, you are doing yourself an injustice if you haven’t read David Jablonski’s book, “The Epicenter of College Basketball.”

The book, a treatise on the history of UD Arena, is extremely well-written and the research Jablonski did is mind-boggling.

I covered UD basketball in the 1960s for the Dayton Daily News and the last 10 years for PressProsMagazine. I thought l knew UD Arena and UD basketball, but I learned something I didn’t know on every other page.

Jabonski, the current UD beat writer for the Dayton Daily News, told me recently he has only 400 books left. . .so act now or lose out.

—ELVIS TO THE RESCSUE: My beloved Cleveland Brownd were beheaded and besmirched, 45-14, by the Houston Texans in the first round of the NFL playoffs.

I didn’t see it. And I don’t plan to see it. Because I had a previous engagement, I DVRed it. But when I heard the score, the first thing I did when I got home was hit the delete button.

Instead of watching the game, I attended a Ryan Roth (Elvis Presley tribute singer) concert at the Milton Club. As always, it was outstanding, a performance 100 times better than Cleveland’s performance.

In addition it was a charity event for World A’Fair and Roth and his Comeback Special band raised $4,700.

—QUOTE: “. . . Like a bridge over troubled water. . .” Roth fantastically sang Elvis Presley’s version of Bridge Over Troubled Water during his Milton Club show and should have dedicated it to the Cleveland Browns, but he is a Cincinnati Bengals fan.

—ICE IT DOWN: Since it is so cold out, how about an icy question? Do you know who Connor Hellebuyck is? Me neither.

But a puck buddy told me he is the best goalie in the National Hockey League. He plays for the Winnipeg Jets and nobody can call them the Loseapeg Jets. They have the NHL’s second best record (28-10-4) and surprisingly (I’m told) lead the Central Division of the Western Conference.

During a recent four-game winning streak, Hellebucyk gave up only five goals, including 28 saves in a 5-0 shutout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. And he makes $7.5 million this year.

Where do I sign up? I was always adept with a first baseman’s glove. What? You have to skate? I can’t even roller skate, let along ice skate.

And the Jets are winning without their best forward (I’m told), left wing Kyle Connor. Since he has been injured the Jets are 11-1-2.

NON-PLAYLIST: Songs I’d never put on my playlist and when they come on the car radio the station is quickly changed:

Copacabana (Barry Manilow), These Boots Are Made For Walking (Nancy Sinatra), Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (Brian Hyland), Afternoon Delight (Starland Vocal Band), What’s New, Pussycat (Tom Jones), We Built This City (Starship), Lovin’ La Vita Loca (Ricky Martin).

Kharma Chameleon (Culture Club), Achy Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus), I Want Candy (The Strangeloves), Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (Wham!), Yakety Yak (The Coasters), Disco Duck (Rick Dees), Macarena (Los Del Rio), Bread And Butter (The New Beats, Smokin’ In The Boys Room (Brownsville Station).

And what are yours?

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