‘81, ’94 Yankees Both Winners but Worlds Apart in Personality
Those who followed the 1981 New York Yankees, the last Yankee World Series team (they lost to the Dodgers), can’t help but notice potential similarities with this year’s first-place Yankee club.
First, writes the New York Times’ Jack Curry, Gene Michael was the manager at the beginning of the 1981 season, and he is the general manager now. And second, the 1981 Yankees won the pennant in a season shortened by a strike.
But current Minnesota Twin and famous ex-Yankee Dave Winfield, pointing to the huge characters of the old squad--Reggie Jackson, Lou Piniella, Rich Gossage and plenty of others--sees little comparison.
“Personality-wise, it’s not even close,” Winfield told Curry. “You shouldn’t even try to draw a comparison to what there was in ’81 and now. But if you’re talking about winning, there it is. Other than that, you can’t compare things.
“Bullpen? Forget about it. Media attraction as a team? No comparison.”
Trivia time: Former Dallas Cowboy running back Tony Dorsett gained 12,739 yards in his 12-year career and was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. How many times did Dorsett win the league rushing title?
Bobbing for answers: Since ESPN began featuring bobbing-head dolls in commercials for baseball telecasts this year, sales of the nine-inch statues have risen dramatically, according to a report in USA Today Baseball Weekly.
“The commercials definitely had an impact on demand and we haven’t been able to meet it,” said Eddie Miller, vice president of Twins Enterprise Inc., manufacturer of the dolls.
Widen & Kennedy, the agency that filmed the commercials, said the smiling dolls wearing team uniforms are perfect selling points.
“Bobbing-head dolls represent an instant symbol that baseball fans can identify with,” said Larry Frye, a creative director at Widen & Kennedy. “Besides, we were looking for actors who wouldn’t talk back.”
Running with the Pack: Steve McMichael, longtime star defensive tackle with the hated Chicago Bears, has had little trouble adjusting to life with the Green Bay Packers in his first training camp there.
McMichael checked out the Packer Hall of Fame when he got to Green Bay and bought a special piece of Packer gear, which he is saving to wear for the Packers’ Oct. 31 game at Soldier Field against the Bears.
“I’ve got my Packer-style foam cheesehead in the truck,” McMichael said. “And if the defense is introduced Halloween night, I might wear it out.”
Strike update: This home run-record note from Boston Globe columnist Peter Gammons: “If the strike lasts until Aug. 26, Matt Williams will still be ahead of Babe Ruth’s 1927 pace (when he hit 60 home runs in 154 games).”
Trivia answer: Dorsett never won a rushing title.
Quotebook: Chicago White Sox shortstop Ozzie Guillen on what he plans to do during the strike: “If I go home to Venezuela, I’ll be on my boat. I’ll probably read the papers one day and see the strike is over and the Sox have been playing for three days.”