Cardinals, Baseball, American Legion discussed on Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network
All in the book is called bring in the right hander and since you were a lefty I was a little bit puzzled by the title and then I opened up the book and read the First Paragraph in the first chapter and you talk about how your brother who was a right hander introduced you to the game of baseball is that's why it's called bringing the right hander well. That's a pretty good gas. Ask but no that's not it at all it was when I was writing a book run that I took a look at the numbers the games that I had pitched it then I started figuring how how many complete games that I have how many games did I finish as a relief pitcher and it dawned on me doing the math that three out of four times that I went out there somebody had to come in after me and when to manager made the pitching change between innings the last thing that I heard him say to the home plate umpire was bringing the right hander and that was my call for exit and I went back to the dugout was a lot better than my second choice. which was it's a cold day? Dan Hell which refers to the fact that someone told me about my chances of actually getting this book published. I like the brother story a little bit better. I think that makes it more family oriented. I would go with that then. Tell me a little bit about growing up back in the Midwest because you played on the school yards of the ball fields of overland Missouri well. It was a different kind of existence than what I'm sure kids have today everything it seems today is so organized back then we we went outside to play and like a lot of other kids of men and women who are now under sixty s we went out in the morning. Stop back for lunch and made sure we were home before for dinner and there were no play dates we met at a school yard. We met at an open lot and we played our games and made the rules accordingly. If one team needed an extra player than we sent somebody over to the other team the whole idea was to play and that's exactly what we did did your brother factor in to any great degree as far as your love for baseball Jerry probably to a certain degree because he introduced me to it and when he got home from mm school and I got home from school we played what we could in the backyard. Dad didn't get home until a little bit later so yeah he was there he was first. He was foremost my younger. Brother didn't come along until a couple years later but once I discovered baseball dad then got me glove that was for a left handed thrower as opposed to my as opposed to my brother who was a right hander and it just grew from there when Jim my older brother went to High School of course he had his high school friends but but I kept the traditional live backyards and school yards which were close by and all of the kids in the neighborhood and some other neighborhoods were able to put things together other and we played all summer long in all my father was in the Air Force and he was based at Shenuda field and ran tool annoy now that's out in the middle of the cornfields builds and I'm sure to some degree. It was probably a little bit like what you know you played baseball because the Midwest is really family oriented and everything and I remember an American Legion game. I was playing playing when a thunderstorm rolled in over the planes and lightning across the sky and the last thing I remembered standing on the mound was watching the backstop glow. Was it like that for you or those games James when you play during the summer with the other kids and everything something like that did it had that or about a Jerry not necessarily because we weren't out near the cornfields Elsom we were actually in the suburbs and even though there were some open lots there were there were houses. It was a subdivision and of course we didn't have the romance that you would have with the cornfields and and plane Sunday ball agree to that but we were on the ground floor of Little League League when it started I think it was in the early fifties and gradually because of the number of kids that were coming into the Saint Louis Area McDonald aircraft was building airplanes at that time for the government and so there were a lot of families that were coming in from the south some from the east some from the West and they all kind of congregated aggregated in the area where we were so there was a need for sports and baseball it seemed to explode at that time and a couple of real estate agent Scott together put together a six field complex and that was front and Center on the baseball activity in the community and the surrounding areas. When did you think that this could be a job for you that you could make it to the major leagues well? It was never a job to me was more of a love but I knew that I could play okay and I knew that I could be successful. I was bigger than the other kids I could throw harder but just how good I was you. Don't know that until actually you grow and you play against other kids but I could hold my own not only with kids my age but with a couple of with kids that were a couple years older when I reached fourteen after my freshman year in high school I tried out for the local American Legion team and much to my surprise. I made the team and the reason why was the coach told maces aces. I've had a lot of kids come through here but you definitely have a chance to play ball in the major leagues. I'm GONNA take you you're GONNA pitch. You'RE GONNA pitch a little bit here a little bit there but I'm GonNa bring you along and by the time you're a senior and it's your turn to get into the amateur draft. I'm GonNa make sure that you're drafted as high as you can. It was because of that kind of foresight and the same kind of approach with a high school coach that I was able to make my way kind of a fast ask jump through high school and to the second round draft choice by the cardinals back in one thousand nine hundred sixty seven so I guess there is some truth to the to the phrase it takes it takes a village to raise a ball player you on your first Major League game in nineteen sixty nine. Tell me about it. I signed with the cardinals in nineteen sixty st seven which Kinda surprised me because they were in the background of all of the teams scouts that I had talked to. I really didn't know who was going to draft me but the cardinals signals did they did so second round and I guess they saw the benefit of a local product that did have major league potential because it would help them. I'm further down the line. I didn't know just how beneficial that was to me simply because they had won the world series and they had a stock farm system but to my advantage was expansion because of that good farm system that the cardinals had San Diego Montreal took a lot of guys who were slated ahead ahead of me so that I was then in a year where I should have spent the entire year in Aa Ball. I spent it in tripling. The cardinals didn't play quite as well all in one thousand nine hundred sixty nine. They were still pretty good. They were twelve games over five hundred but that was the year the cubs and then the last part of the year belong to the mets who blew the cubs CBS away and pass them and ultimately became world champions but because the cardinals were looking to get younger I had a good season in AAA. I led the League and a couple of different categories including innings pitched in games one. I was one of the top prospects in the organization ended merited a call up in nineteen sixty sixty nine which was just a little bit over two years after I graduated from a local high school and that first game was against it was against Montreal all and a former cardinal farmhand Jerry Robertson pitched in the minor leagues. He was one of the guys that was ahead of me but he got his major league shot with Montreal and it was on a cold Saturday afternoon that the game was delayed a couple of times by rain but we managed to get it in and I was happy about that because I I got my first major league win. Who Was it took you underneath their wing because invariably we hear during that era of baseball that when a rookie came up there was always the veteran or veterans friends who would usher them along the way in the early going? I think it happened even before I got to the Big Leagues of course my high school coach he was instrumental dreux mental and teaching me the game fundamentals and I could say the same thing about the American Legion coach so I had two coaches in Saint Louis as an amateur that prepared me for Major League ball long before I was even ready George Kissel the longtime cardinal coach in the minor leagues spent a number of years. Here's with cardinals and just about every capacity and anybody that came through the cardinals organization in the fifties sixties seventies all had Georgia's imprint sprint on them and it made a huge difference so that by the time I got to the big leagues I was brought along probably as well as anybody based on a number of years of experience experience that I had and then once I got the big legs well there were a couple of hall of famers that were playing that I could watch emulate and ask questions and and as a result well it it kept me around. It got me up to the Big Leagues when I was twenty years old and kept me around until I was forty one. What was your reaction? When you were traded rated the first time that was a tough one because it was a salary holdout and I had dealt with the cardinals before at the minor league level and the way that we figured out the salary that I was going to get? I chose a number than I thought I was worth and then I doubled it in that's where I started. They started headed low and we met somewhere in the middle and I figured what experienced I have other than the fact that had negotiated a couple of contracts the minor league level level. I thought the cardinals had reverted to something like that. I got a six thousand dollar raise for half a season in AAA and half a season in the big lakes and I won fourteen games so after I won fourteen games my full first major league season I thought well six thousand dollars sounds about right to me eight four my for a salary for my second full year cardinals didn't see it that way they offered three. They stuck at three and I you gave him a price hoping to meet somewhere in the middle. We never had a discussion that produce that Jerry Rice is with US and again. I want you to check out his book. It's an interesting read about a game saying that he loved and he pitched in twenty two years of the major league level. It's called bring in the right hander. We continue with more of you and sports byline. Are you an active stock market investor. Will then you know these three.