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Rader Is a Man Who Is Quick With a Quip

Times Staff Writer

Tom Lasorda, you have company. Seriously.

Doug Rader has landed in Anaheim, equipped with jests and jokes, quips and quotes.

Here are a few choice Raderisms culled from the years he spent playing with the Houston Astros and managing the Texas Rangers and triple-A Hawaii Islanders.

On his personality: “I usually don’t make a good first impression--or a good second impression. For that matter, I usually come across like a sack of manure.”

On camera:

Local TV reporter: “Doug, how do you think (Rick) Honeycutt will do for the team this year?”

Rader: “I don’t think he’ll do much for us, since he’ll be playing for the Dodgers.”

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On Mickey Rivers: “Mickey Rivers could lift weights all day every day, and his throws still wouldn’t bruise a baby’s lips.”

On missing Mickey Rivers after he was cut by the Rangers: “The one reason--and don’t misconstrue this--that Mickey was so special to this club was that our team was so bad, he took our minds off what was going on out there.”

On getting chewed out: Bill Madlock, who considered tobacco chewing a disgusting habit, said of Rader, then a teammate on the Rangers: “He used to make me sick on purpose. He used to spit on my shoes and used to spit all over third base.”

On bubble-gum chewing: Interviewed once by Jim Bouton, author of “Ball Four,” Rader advised Little Leaguers to eat bubble-gum cards because “they have lots of information on them.”

On getting work: After Rader was fired as manager of the Rangers and before he was hired as a coach by the Chicago White Sox, he was working in his hometown of Stuart, Fla., as a taxidermist and scuba-diving instructor.

On home, when asked if he was a hero in Stuart: “Are you kidding? For 5 years, do you know what they thought I did? They thought I was a garbage man. They thought I worked for the Tri-Cities Sanitation Dept. And I was playing.

“Then someone did a story on me and used my picture. A bunch of guys saw it and said, ‘Hey, you’re a ballplayer, huh?’ Then they thought about it and said, ‘But your real job is with Tri-Cities Sanitation, right?’ I said, ‘Yeah, right.’ ”

On umpires: “Logic? Umpires? If they had any logic, they wouldn’t be doing this for a living.”

On infielder Pete O’Brien: “Why shouldn’t he have a good attitude? He was raised in Pebble Beach. Wouldn’t you have a good attitude if your biggest decision every morning was whether to play Spyglass Hill or Cypress Point?”

On AstroTurf: “That Monsanto Co. should be shot for inventing that stuff. It can mess up a game . . . They painted the ceiling of the Astrodome. Then the ultraviolet rays couldn’t get in and the grass died. So they had to put AstroTurf in. I hated it then.”

On women: Morganna the Kissing Bandit made her first big strike at Dodger Stadium, chasing Wes Parker all over the field.

It figures that Rader had a role in it.

Rader, the Astro third baseman, grabbed Parker around the waist and held him until Morganna arrived.

Why did Rader do it?

“I hate to see a woman that frustrated,” he said.

On being passed over in favor of Dick Williams as San Diego Padres manager because of a lack of experience: “I don’t put a whole lot of credence in that experience thing. The Pilgrims didn’t have any experience when they first arrived here. Hell, if experience was that important, we’d have never had anybody walking on the moon. You’re either able to do something, or you’re not.”

On short-order cooks: Early in the 1974 season, Ray Kroc, the new owner of the Padres, got on the public-address system to apologize to fans for his team’s terrible showing against Rader’s Astros.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I suffer with you,” Kroc told the San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium crowd. “I’ve never seen such stupid ballplaying in my life.”

Later, in the Houston clubhouse, Rader defended the Padres: “Who does he think we are, short-order cooks or something?”

Kroc, the man who built the McDonald’s hamburger chain, reacted good-naturedly and said he would be host of a Short-Order Cook Night the next time Houston was in San Diego. Everyone wearing a chef’s hat was admitted free.

Rader wore a chef’s hat and apron and carried the lineup card to home plate in a frying pan, flipping it with a spatula.

“Boys,” he said to the umpires, “what’s your pleasure--rare, medium or well done?”

On health: Upon being offered coffee before a game in cold weather, Raider said: “I don’t do stimulants. I don’t take anything to alter the physiological condition of my body. It’s running too perfect on 82% body fat.”

On eating: The Boston Globe’s Peter Gammons wrote, “The Texas writers are astounded by Rader’s ability to eat. One night, he sat down to 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp, 1 1/2 pounds of stone crab and 5 lamb chops. The next night, after downing a full rack of ribs with all the onion rings, a loaf of bread, french fries and corn fixings, he decided he didn’t like the dessert menu and had another rack of ribs.

“Then the third night, while waiting to go to Joe’s Stone Crabs in Miami (a legendary glutton’s delight), he snacked on three club sandwiches to tide him over for the half-hour drive.”

Doug Rader, it’s time to do lunch with Tom Lasorda.


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