Steve Stone, Harry Carey, Ernie Banks discussed on Anything is Possible
Jack Fuller. This is anything is possible. And we're talking to the iconic coach. Richard Digger Phelps Digger. Welcome a real honor to have you. Thank Jack. I like your background with Wrigley Field. You, I think 20 straight years. You got to sing, Um, seventh inning stretch. What was that? Like, Well, 21 to be exact. What really happened was back in the early seventies, when Dan Devine was that Missouri is head football coach. He and what's the guy's name and saying, Thank me out to the ballgame. Very, very, very caring, Very great friends. So when I used to go up to the gods games, I do what do a couple innings with Steve Stone and Harry Carey? Well when he died Comes, asked me to be one of the people that come in every year through out the first pitch and sing the seventh inning stretch. Well, Ernie Banks and I, for like 17 years, did it So he passed away and then I still went up for four years until this past year. And I would go out on the field wearing Ernie Banks is Jersey banks 14 in the seventh inning. I get up and tell the Cubs fans all right today. We're not just gonna sing this for Harry Carey. We're also going to sing it for for Ernie Banks, and they would go crazy. Well lasted 21 years. I was the last one to do it every year since he had passed. And of course with no crowds this year didn't do it, so I'm on hold right now. You know, we had 100 was a tough century 108 years, but that was a magical season back in what 15? I think Really? Absolutely. Okay, Let's go back to your childhood growing up in New York. Tell us about your childhood and your mom and your dad, please. Well, when people say who are the two people in your life that influenced you the mouth? It was both my parents, My dad. On my mom and my dad was a funeral director in our house was on one street corner and go through the backyard and you would come into where the funeral home was in the middle of the next block. So I was about five years old. And what happened is the funeral home would only have one power for a funeral. So if there was a double header The living room in our house was used for the other. Wait. So what happened? I was about five years old. I came down the steps and I looked down on the steps and I see this guy. Dressed up in a city guy sleeping in this box and I go in the kitchen and get my Cheerios ready. And I say, Mom, how come that guy's sleeping in that box and not on the couch? And she said, Richard, There's something we need to talk about. And that's how it all started. But I was right. Rarely in that business. My whole life. My dad raised me and when I was 18 I went to college to get a degree and rider in New Jersey in business, and then we even bought another piece of property so we could open to funeral homes up in the Beacon area. IBM was baked in that area. They had built. A new factory system employed some 50,000 people, So we thought that was gonna be a good investment down the road. So when I graduate from Ryder and 63, I think, mom that son er and a guy named Time one about him was in his first year Coach and Beacon High school and they went undefeated. They'd have a state tournament, but they want a sexual So you asked me coach, the Summer League team, So we go up to the playground and we'd X unknown and warnings and night our coach and all of a sudden I said to Mom and Dad, I was supposed to go to seven school bombing at Syracuse that fall. And I said, Can I the leg and bombing school and go back to Ryder and get a master's degree to see if I can teach in coach and they said Richard, Go ahead, try so go back. The rider and Bob Greenwald was the head coach. And I played for him. My senior and a guy named Tom Petrov, who was the baseball coach. He was also system basketball coach. So they made me like the graduate assistant, Well, Little Rider College in February. 1964. They were gonna play mighty and why you are the famous coach of blue, Ross Santini and very Kramer and happy Harrison, who played for the Lakers. They were the talk of New York City in the old Madison Square Garden, and it was N y. U ST John's Manhattan Columbia, Fordham. Seton Hall. Well, little Ryder is gonna play in why you would not lost at home. University, hiding them rocks. They lost games on guard, but not at home. And since 1944. This is a 20 year home winning streak, and I grew up in scouting twice against Iona and Hofstra. And I'll come back and tell the coaches that we do this ABC an offense, ABC and defense, we can beat it. They said Digger you put in the game plan. Okay. From two days I put in a game playing with the guys I played with the year before we go up to and why you and we beat him. And that was the turning point to me where I just said I could do this. Then, of course, I taught Junior high school number four and trying New Jersey for a year. And then what? The same Gables High school in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, before I respect by dick harder. Who was that writer for you? When I was at ST James and Petrov said, Take digger with you. He'll get it done. So I go to Penn. With dick harder for four years, and we built pen in the Ivy League, but more importantly, a national power and then the Fordham job opens. I take that team that was 10 and 15. The same team we go 26 3. No name of garden and had Austin guard in front of 19,500. The first time the new guard was sold out. It was Alma Barra, Marquette and over time in the garden, and the next thing l noting job opens, But I wrote Eric are seeking a leather in 1965. He was head football coach and Notre Dame. And I was that same Gables and he's in Pennsylvania. I said there. I love what you're doing football. And someday I'm gonna lose Same thing in basketball. Notre Dame I wanna be head coach. Another name? Well, six years later, at the age of 29. Get the job and in 20 years, another name. Obviously that you start liking 74 was the highlight of knocking off seven number one.