Whenever I come across a baseball quote that makes me smile, I jot it down and file it away. I've been filing them away, off and on, for the last 25 or 30 years. Some of the quotes included here are fairly well known, others are obscure.
1. "If you know how to cheat, start now."--Baltimore manager Earl Weaver, to pitcher Ross Grimsley on the mound.
2. "People think we make $3 million or $4 million a year. They don't realize that most of us only make $500,000."--Pete Incaviglia, Texas Rangers
3. "Boston now knows how Britain felt when it lost India."--Boston Globe sportswriter Ed Linn, on Ted Williams announcing his retirement from the Red Sox.
4. "You can sum up the game of baseball in one word: 'You never know.' "--Joaquin Andujar, St. Louis Cardinals
5. When Roger Clemens recorded his 3,000th strikeout in 1998, it was noted that his very first victim was Cleveland Indian manager Mike Hargrove. At the press conference, Hargrove told him, "I got you off on the right foot, didn't I?"
6. "The Yankees are only interested in one thing, and I have no idea what that is."--Yankee outfielder Luis Polonia
7. "I had never been to second base."--Philadelphia Phillies pitcher (1983-1990) Don Carman, after getting only his second major league hit (in approximately 80 career at-bats) and being promptly picked off second base.
8. Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams is the only pitcher in history (with a minimum of 500 innings pitched) to have given up more walks than hits. Commenting on their participation in a celebrity baseball game, teammate Andy Van Slyke said, "Patrick Ewing is 7-feet tall, and has a 6-foot strike zone. Mitch walked him."
9. "Aw, c'mon, how could he lose the ball in the sun? He's from Mexico."--Chicago Cub announcer Harry Caray, grousing about outfielder Jorge Orta misplaying a fly ball.
10. "Any pitcher who deliberately throws at a batter's head is a Communist."--Alvin Dark, manager, San Francisco Giants.
11. This exchange occurred between Cleveland Indians broadcaster Herb Score and his radio partner Nev Chandler. Chandler: "That base-hit makes Cecil Cooper 19 for 42 against Tribe pitching." Score: "I'm not good at math, but even I know that's over .500."
12. "I walk into the clubhouse today and it's like walking into the Mayo Clinic. We have four doctors, three therapists and five trainers. Back when I broke in, we had one trainer who carried a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and by the 7th inning he'd already drunk it."--Tommy Lasorda
13. On hearing that Reggie Jackson was reported to have an IQ of 165, Yankee teammate Mickey Rivers snidely replied, "Out of what--a thousand?"
14. With his team behind 11-2 in the late innings, a batter stepped out of box, and carefully studied the 3rd base coach. NBC announcer, Tony Kubek, drolly remarked, "He's getting the 'hit the ball hard' sign."
15. "Two hours is about as long as any American can wait for the close of a baseball game....or anything else for that matter."--Albert Spalding (1850-1915), professional baseball player, manager, co-founder of Spalding sporting goods.
16. When he was just starting out, Jim Leyland told his mom he might be forced to leave the organization because there was no spot for him: "Alex Grammas is third base coach, and Dick Tracewski is first base coach," he said, "and neither guy is going anywhere." His mom thought a moment, then politely asked, "Who's the second base coach?"
17. In 1992, the Phillies acquired Michael Crouwel, a Dutch catching prospect who played on Holland's national team. When asked what he thought about the city of Philadelphia, Crouwel said: "The only thing I know about it is that it's in New Jersey."
18. "He's got power enough to hit home-runs in any park, including Yellowstone."--Manager Sparky Anderson, on Willie Stargell
19. "You want proof that baseball players are smarter than football players? How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?"--Jim Bouton
20. "Don't call 'em dogs. Dogs are loyal and they run after balls."--1943 St. Louis Browns Manager Luke Sewell, responding to a sportswriter who suggested that his team had "played like dogs."
21. In a lengthy extra-inning game against the ChiSox (June 10, 1992), Angel pitcher Mark Langston was forced to hit. He wound up batting twice against Donn Pall, each time with two men on base, and each time striking out badly on a succession of nasty forkballs. After the game, Langston was interviewed. "I'd never seen a forkball before," he lamented. Added ChiSox announcer Ed Farmer: "He still hasn't."
22. "There's a thin line between genius and insanity, and in Larry's case it was so thin you could see him drifting back and forth across it."--Brooklyn Dodger Manager Leo Durocher, on team executive Larry MacPhail.
23. "I gave (pitcher) Mike Cuellar more chances than I gave my first wife."--Earl Weaver, Baltimore Orioles manager
24. "Last night I failed to mention something that bears repeating."--Seattle Mariner announcer Ron Fairly
25. "On this special Fathers Day, we'd like to wish all of you a very Happy Birthday."--New York Mets announcer Ralph Kiner
David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright and author ("It's Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor"), was a former labor union rep.