National League : Caray, Hamilton Still Voicing Their Differences


Dueling mikes: Baseball’s biggest egos aren’t necessarily all in the clubhouse.

Check out the broadcasting booth, where a nasty little feud between Harry Caray, the popular voice of the Chicago Cubs, and his one-time partner, Milo Hamilton, is given a national airing in the October issue of Inside Sports magazine.

Hamilton, who now is part of the Houston Astros’ broadcasting team, had been in line to succeed Jack Brickhouse in the Cubs’ No. 1 job. But that was before the Wrigley family sold the team to the Tribune Company, which successfully lured Caray from the city’s South Side, where he had built a tremendous following as broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox.


The two worked together for a season in 1982, then Hamilton switched primarily to the radio side for the next two seasons, until his contract was not renewed last November. Hamilton blames Caray for his ouster.

“He wanted me out and someone in who posed no threat to him,” Hamilton is quoted by Inside Sports columnist Bob Rubin.

Caray’s response: “Milo Hamilton’s ego just consumed him.”

Hamilton told Rubin he is happy working in Houston with Gene Elston, but even though it is months later, he unloaded again on Caray.

“I don’t have any respect for him or the way he goes about his business,” Hamilton said. “I don’t like what he does in the booth. I don’t like his singing--if it’s so great, why doesn’t anyone else do it? (Caray sings, ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ during the seventh-inning stretch.) I don’t like his effrontery in showing up his fellow workers.

“He’s a self-promoter. His line is how much he loves the game and the fans, but the bottom line is that he’s promoting Harry Caray.”

I guess we’ll talk some other time: When Chili Davis of the San Francisco Giants struck out with two runners on base in the ninth inning of a recent game against the Philadelphia Phillies, he broke his bat over his right thigh. Rob Deer of the Giants eventually followed with a game-winning home run, but reporters still gave Davis a wide berth in the clubhouse afterward.

The reason: Davis was standing in front of his cubicle, examining a new hunting rifle bought by teammate Frank Williams.

The Spaceman has landed: Former pitcher Bill Lee, whose autobiography is entitled, “The Wrong Stuff,” spent the summer pitching in Canada for the semi-pro Moncton (New Brunswick) Mets. He had a 6-1 record and a 0.59 earned-run average, and batted .298 with four home runs.

Asked what his future plans were, Lee said: “I might get into owning a team. I’d pitch, manage and play first base . . . and all of my players would be left-handed and have beards.”

The 4,192nd Pete Rose stat of the week: Rose has 1,025 hits in stadiums that no longer exist.

Still No. 2, and trying harder: First baseman Sid Bream, who was buried behind Greg Brock with the Dodgers, finally appeared to be getting his chance to be a big-league regular when the Dodgers traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates last week.

But according to Pittsburgh Manager Chuck Tanner, first base still belongs to incumbent Jason Thompson.

“(Bream) is a backup,” Tanner said. “Thompson’s my first baseman. No, he can’t be beaten out in spring training.”

Bream’s hope lies in the possibility that the Pirates may trade Thompson this winter. By unloading Bill Madlock, Al Holland, John Candelaria and George Hendrick, the Pirates have already trimmed their payroll by $3 million. Thompson, who signed a five-year contract that will pay him $800,000, excluding performance bonuses, would appear to be the next logical candidate to go.

Matter of priorities: Because of injuries and a staff that was overworked, Manager Bobby Wine of the Atlanta Braves was down to three pitchers for last Sunday’s game. He requested that a minor league pitcher be summoned but was turned down, the official explanation being that it was more important for Triple-A affiliate Richmond to make the playoffs.

Wine’s starter, Len Barker, didn’t get past the third inning, and Wine was forced to expose relief pitcher Jeff Dedmon to this beating: seven runs on six hits and six walks in 1 innings.

Said outfielder Dale Murphy, the last guy on the team you’d cast as critic: “Maybe I just don’t understand what’s going on up there (in the front office).”

Like playing in your living room: Giant pitcher Mike Krukow, surveying a Candlestick Park crowd of 1,632, the smallest since 1977, said: “We could have fed the crowd on three pizzas and two 12-packs, and we would have sent ‘em home drunk.”

Add crowd: “If we were giving away free phone calls, we wouldn’t have filled a phone booth,” Krukow said.

Last add crowd: “It makes you wonder,” Krukow said. “What if they gave a baseball game and nobody came?”

Sign of the times: Tommy Herr, the Cardinals’ player representative, said that more and more players are in favor of some form of drug testing.

“There’s a growing faction of players that are tired of protecting drug users,” Herr said. “There might be a confrontation, and it might come down to a change in our position on drug testing.”