OBSERVATIONS: When Darrel Chaney nearly lost his smile


UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, sweating as if I’ve just run a mile when I haven’t even left my chair to open the refrigerator.

—For most of his career Darrel Chaney was a utility player for the Cincinnati Reds. But manager Sparky Anderson called him one of the most valuable guys in his toolbox.

Why? Because Chaney could play any position in the infield and his glove was Gorilla Glue.

Chaney is an accomplished motivational speaker these days, but he is lucky he can speak through loosened teeth.

A story surfaced recently about a game in 1973. Chaney was on second base when Pete Rose singled. Chaney blitzed home in a swirl of dust. Umpire Andy Olsen spread his arms in the safe signal.

But his mask was still in his hand and Olsen hit Chaney in the mouth, opening two bleeding wounds.

Said Olsen, “At least everybody knew I was right on top of he play.” Chaney’s teeth knew it, too. “My teeth have never been the same and we didn’t have dental insurance then.”

What most people didn’t know about Chaney was that he was an All-American football player at Oliver P. Morton High School in Hammond, Ind. He had football scholarship offers from Big Ten schools but signed with Ball State University so he could play both football and baseball.

The Reds selected him in the second round of the 1966 draft and Chaney signed for a $6,000.

And he wishes he had worn his Ball State football helmet with a face guard when he slid home that day.

Yes, Sparky loved Chaney, even though several of the extra players on The Big Red Machine wore t-shirts that said ‘Turds’ on the front because they seldom played and they felt Sparky ignored them.

While Chaney didn’t hit a lot, it was totally unfair one day when a writer penned, “And then another funny thing happened. Darrel Chaney got a hit.” No, it wasn’t me. Chaney is still my friend.

—QUOTE: From former major league pitcher and broadcaster Larry Anderson: “Why does everybody stand and sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ when they all are already there?”

—Something MLB should be thinking about as it cranks up Spring Training 02. . .and shouldn’t it be Summer Training?

A large portion of big leaguers live in California, Florida and Texas in the off-season, where the Covid-19 virus has spiked dramatically.

Now all those players are going to gather together. And how about all those players from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela coming back into the country?

Just another of the many obstacles facing MLB as it tries to squeeze in a 60-game mini-season.

—QUOTE: From American poet Sharon Olds: “Baseball is reassuring because it makes me feels as if the world is not going to blow up.” (How apropos for what is going on these days.)

—From Mike Holbrook: “Double-stuffed Oreos should just be called Oreos. And regular Oreos should be called Diet Oreos.” (No truer words were ever spoken. I can destroy a bag of Oreos quicker than Billy Hamilton can score from second. And for dessert? An Oreo Blizzard at the local DQ.)

—Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Jeremiah Barswell put a new meaning into the words, “Go deep.”

Over the weekend, the Toledo resident was driving his orange Chevrolet Camaro near Put-In-Bay. . .and he put his car in the bay. Well, actually, he drove it into Lake Erie off an embankment. Yes, spirits was allegedly involved.

If you are looking to purchase a used Chevrolet Camaro, don’t buy an orange one.

QUOTE: From comedian W.C. Fields: “A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn’t even the courtesy to thank her.” (But Barswell drove himself into Lake Erie.)

—QUOTE: From President Abraham Lincoln: “Whatever you are, be a goo one.” (Are you listening, Baker Mayfield?)

—The often-fined New England Patriots were hit again, a $1.1 million fine because the team’s TV crew filmed the sidelines during a Bengals-Browns game in Cincinnati.

Obviously, they were filming a comedy, but a $1.1 million fines is no laughing matter. Only the play on he field was a laughable offense. For sure the director couldn’t shout, “Lights, camera, ACTION.” What action?

—I picked favorite Storm The Court to win the Ohio Derby at Thistledown. For most of the race he ran last until they sent out an Amber Alert and he waddled home third. The winner, Dean Martini (what a great name), was a 14 to 1 long shot.

Just two races ago Dean Martini was claimed for $50,000, He not only won $300,000, he grabbed 20 points toward earning a spot in the September 5th Kentucky Derby.

And to think he was just a race or two away from becoming a candidate to pull an Amish surrey.

—QUOTE: From comedian Henny Youngman: “I don’t mind when my horse is left at the gate, I don’t mind when my horse comes up to me in the stands and asks, ‘Which way do I go,’ but I do mind when the horse I bet on is at the $2 window betting on another horse in the same race.” (So that’s where Storm The Course was before the Ohio Derby.)

2 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: When Darrel Chaney nearly lost his smile”

  1. Remembering Chaney I am also recalling his fellow benchers Woody Woodward, Ty Cline and Angel Bravo. Similar to the Chaney hit to the chops I seem to recall a game at Dodger Stadium during which some clown dropped a bag of flour from a plane flying over Dodger Stadium. I think it nearly or did hit Woodward who was playing at shortstop ?

    When Davey Concepcion came up in 1970 Sparky would do later inning defensive change with Chaney or Woodward. Funny to think about that now in light of Davey’s now famous defensive skills !

  2. Usual incredible stuff. We all know 1000s of Pete, Johnny, Joe et al stories, but I love things like featuring Chaney. What was you opinion of Bill Plummer?

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