(every week at OOB I’ll rant in list fashion. Last week it was “Things In Sports That Make Me Want To Plunge Knitting Needles Into My Eyes”)
Things I Wish I Had Said
1. “In high school I took some science, some English, some hub caps, and some wheel covers.” Gates Brown, the Tigers’ pinch-hitter extraordinaire, has been credited with this gem, which for whatever reason is one of my favorite baseball quotes of all time — and it’s not even really about baseball. Brown got his nickname for having spent some time in prison.
2. “Half of our team is gutless. And the other half is brainless.” No, it’s not a Lions fan. It’s former Tampa Bay coach John McKay, who was caught saying this on the sidelines thanks to an NFL Films microphone.
3. “I was in New York City and an empty cab pulled up, and Bowie Kuhn got out.” A hilarious put-down of baseball commissioner Kuhn from Oakland A’s owner Charlie O. Finley.
4. “Koufax would be a great pitcher, if the plate was high and outside.” Either from a scouting report or a reporter — not sure which — back in the 1950s, when Sandy Koufax’s wildness cast aspersions on his potential as a big league pitcher. He rectified those problems, as you know.
5. “I’ve seen situations where you have an offensive coordinator who’s the head coach of the offense, a defensive coordinator who’s the head coach of the defense, and a head coach who’s in charge of nothing.” Former NFL head coach Chuck Knox, about some dysfunctional team hierarchies.
6. “They shouldn’t hit me. I’m the father of six or seven children.” Giants second baseman Tito Fuentes, later a Tiger, after being beaned.
7. “If the basketball court was made of grass, Wilt would wear out a patch one-foot square.” The late Butch van Breda Kolff, on coaching the mostly immobile Wilt Chamberlain in the late-1960s with the Lakers. VBK later coached the Pistons.
8. “What I’d like to know is, if I’m chasing a guy, how the hell am I going to hit him from the front?” Gordie Howe, lamenting new NHL rules prohibiting hitting from behind.
9. “The left wing lock? All I know is, when I played, when my team had the puck I was on offense, and when my team didn’t have the puck, I was on defense. Period.” Former Red Wing Ted Lindsay, spoken to me, during a roundtable discussion comparing hockey from the Original Six days to today, last September.
10. “The best thing about playing for the Cleveland Indians is that you don’t have to take any road trips to Cleveland.” Not sure which Indian said this, but it was uttered sometime in the 1980s. Thought this might help ease the pain of the Indians and Cavs taking it to Detroit teams this year.
OK, that’s all for this week. Talk amongst yourselves. And remember, they’re just things.