Larry Parrish loves to see Ron Guidry and the New York Yankees come into Arlington Stadium, even if it is Billy Martin’s fourth managerial debut with the Yankees.
Parrish drilled three consecutive homers, two of them off Guidry, and knocked in six runs to spoil Martin’s comeback and give the Texas Rangers a 7-5 victory over the Yankees Monday night. It was the Yankees’ fourth straight loss.
Parrish has touched Guidry for four homers in two years and has 12 career homers against the Yankees, most for him against any team.
He also is only the fifth player to hit three or more homers in a game in both leagues. Parrish homered three times in a game three times at Montreal. Babe Ruth, Johnny Mize, Claudell Washington and Dave Kingman also accomplished the feat.
Parrish’s two-out, two-run homer off reliever John Montefusco, making his first appearance of the season, in the eighth inning proved to be the game-winner.
Parrish said: “I don’t know how to explain it. It was just one of those nights. Every time I swung at the ball I hit the center. I wish it was that easy every night.
“You can go up in batting practice sometimes and not hit three out. It was just one of those freak things.”
The victory stopped a five-game Texas losing streak.
“I didn’t want to leave Ron in there because Parrish has always hit him real good,” Martin said. “I decided to bring in John, and he just hung a curveball. That’s the human part of pitching. Guidry was real tired, and that’s why I yanked him.”
Meanwhile, owner George Steinbrenner is washing his hands of the firing of Yogi Berra. The deed, he claimed, was brought on by his players. His act of execution was merely a formality to his players’ lack of execution.
“The reason Yogi was relieved of his duties is because of the way the team played on the field,” Steinbrenner said before Monday night’s game. “There’s no way to disguise the fact that the team is 6-10 and fighting Cleveland for last place instead of Detroit for first place. Today’s players have changed because of long-term, guaranteed contracts. If they don’t like their life in baseball, let them try to be firemen and cab drivers in New York City and put their life on the line.
“The bottom line is the players are responsible for what happened on the field. It’s a case of soft jobs and fat contracts. Players’ motivation has changed. They don’t seem motivated to perform.”
Steinbrenner issued his statements through a club spokesman. The owner was not in Chicago when he fired Berra Sunday and was not with the club here Monday. He is expected to spend this week in Kentucky, where a horse he shares ownership in, Eternal Prince, is preparing for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
His comments regarding the effect of long-term contracts are interesting, because Steinbrenner has been one of the greatest factors in the promulgation of such deals.
“Our players are going to start to perform on the field or their agents will be notified they have complete authority to place them elsewhere,” Steinbrenner said.
He was not moved by the reaction to the firing by his players, who were upset to see Berra go. “I couldn’t care less what the players think. It seems baseball is the farthest thing from their minds. It’s almost humorous the way Yogi’s firing has been responded to. They shouldn’t be happy when they’re in last place, 4 1/2 games back and slipping. That had to change, and that’s the reason for the change.”