September 19, 2003

Seasons in Hell

I recently finished "Seasons in Hell" by Mike Shropshire, who covered the Texas Rangers for a Fort Worth paper back during the 1973-1975 seasons. As you might ascertain from the title, they were pretty bad years for the Rangers, and Shropshire fills the book with quite a few funny stories. The whole book is worth it just for the quotes from 1973 manager Whitey Herzog:

On starting pitchers: "They didn't tell me that Mike Paul and Rich Hand were a couple of shitballers," Herzog offered cheerfully. "Or that Pete Broberg was a big cunt."

On his entire pitching staff: "It's like they're afraid they might get the clap or something if they throw strikes."

On his catcher: "If Rich Billings is the starting catcher again, we're in deep trouble." When that evaluation was passed along to Billings, he simply nodded and said, "Whitey, obviously, has seen me play."

On team defense: "Defensively, these guys are really substandard, but with our pitching, it really doesn't matter."

On Alex Johnson's poor clubhouse demeanor: "A guy like that can poison a ball club. But how do you poison this club?"

On young pitching prospect Lloyd Allen: "Lloyd hasn't yet learned how to work the hitters with varied pitch selection and changing speeds. But even if he could, it wouldn't do much good because when he throws the ball Lloyd has absolutely no idea where it's going."

Then there are quotes like this from different people on visiting Cleveland:

Anonymous Ranger pitcher: "I made the mistake of trying out a Mexican restaurant in Cleveland. The food wasn't so bad but a rat crawled up on my plate and started fucking my enchilada."

Dick Bosman on being traded to Cleveland: "There's a bright spot to this. When you're playing for Cleveland, at least you don't have to come in there on the road."

On a first-inning base hit in Cleveland: "There goes his perfect game," Harold McKinney said. "There is no such thing as a perfect game in Cleveland," Randy Galloway responded.

This book wasn't as good as Jim Bouton's famous "Ball Four", a knuckleballer's really funny account of 70's baseball, which is the best baseball book I've read out of the lot (authors such as Ron Luciano, David Wells, Joe Morgan and Kirby Puckett are on that list, so that may not be saying much). Bouton's book is typified by quotes like this: "When I came in, it was 4-0. When I left, it was 7-0. To be honest, I wasn't crying when the other guys got clobbered. You stand out less in a crowd."

Posted by Observer at September 19, 2003 03:59 PM

Comments on entries can only be made in pop-up windows while those entries are still on the main index page. Sorry for the inconvenience this causes, but this blocks about 99.99% of the spam the blog receives.

Less than 48 hours, MF.

Posted by: Doc on September 19, 2003 06:35 PM

Wow, you must really hate baseball.

In all seriousness, you should stop reading my blog for your own mental well-being.

Posted by: Observer on September 19, 2003 06:55 PM

"On team defense: "Defensively, these guys are really substandard, but with our pitching, it really doesn't matter."

That quote is SO awesome.

Posted by: Humbaba on September 19, 2003 07:01 PM

OMG, I was crying I was laughing so hard! I can totally see Herzog saying those things. And Cleveland's Mexican food quote isn't that far from the mark. I've been to Cleveland MANY times and for a city whose river caught fire and burned, it's not really that bad! :) Jacob's Field is nice though. A little oddly set up, but nice.

Posted by: Bav on September 22, 2003 10:10 AM

Hilarious book. The funniest was the part about Jim Bibby's "apparatus". I was in tears, it is so funny.

Posted by: on April 26, 2004 11:04 AM