The Big Apple Looked Green From a Distance

In "The Complete Handbook of Baseball" of 1980, there was an article by Dick O'Connor of the Palo Alto Times in which a number of major leaguers were asked how they liked going to New York.

Said George Foster of the Cincinnati Reds: "The only way I like New York is when I'm flying over it."

Said Phil Niekro of the Atlanta Braves: "First thing I do is go to my room, bolt the door and then put a chair against it."

Foster now plays for the New York Mets. Niekro pitches for the New York Yankees.

Conversely, in the same article, Keith Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals said: "New York is a great place for girl-watching. Next to Los Angeles, it's the best."

Hernandez now plays for the Mets.

Trivia Time: What do infielder Toby Harrah of the Texas Rangers and catcher Mark Salas of the Minnesota Twins have in common? (Answer below.)

When the New York Times asked Bob Feller what he thought of Dwight Gooden, Feller allowed as how the kid is doing a sensational job, but when asked about Gooden's future, he had a rather warped reply.

"Everyone was screaming about Denny McLain and Mark Fidrych after a season or two," he said. "But they didn't hold up for long. Give Gooden time, a chance to louse up his life. If he shows discipline and doesn't do it, I'll offer him my congratulations."

After Bud Grant had returned to coach the Minnesota Vikings following a year's absence, a reporter asked what his thoughts were as he again drove to the training camp at Mankato, Minn.

Grant: "I was surprised to see a 7-Up sign on that big barn at the turn of the road. It used to be a Coca-Cola sign. Also, they didn't seem to be making as many repairs on the road."

Dept. of Irony: As the Yankees and Mets wage their bitter public-relations battle to win the hearts of New Yorkers, the book on Yankee immortal Mickey Mantle, titled "The Mick," has become the No. 1 seller among sports books in the city.

The book is published by Doubleday & Co. The president of the company is Nelson Doubleday, the owner of the Mets.

One-time Dodger adversary Enos Cabell, asked about Pedro Guerrero, told George Vecsey of the New York Times: "I didn't think Pete was that good a clutch hitter, but since I've been here, if you need a three-run dinger, he'll hit a three-run dinger. If he isn't the most valuable player in the league, it's fixed."

John Madden, on rookie receiver Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers: "Rice has everything. He's a steal. The 49ers get just what they need once again, a great offensive impact player."

Ron Meyer, former coach of the New England Patriots, told the Boston Herald: "Their front office is a fraternity of losers. People who don't know if it's puffed or stuffed and have never worn a jock are making football decisions. The coach is an afterthought. That's why Chuck Fairbanks left, why Ron Erhardt and Ron Meyer didn't win, and why Raymond Berry won't win."

Trivia Answer: Both last names are spelled the same backward.


Claudell Washington of the Atlanta Braves, on why he wasn't surprised that Eddie Haas was fired as manager: "This wasn't a Triple-A team, but he ran it like a Triple-A team. I tried to talk to him once. That didn't take long."

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