Today, I have the honor of listening to Rick Dempsey and Frank “Hondo” Howard. The two of them were very good players, Dempsey as a catcher and Hondo as a homerun hitter. The two of them had many great stories to tell, only a few of which are not R-rated. The rest is all baseball horseshit. (Horseshit is the baseball word for, well, for everything.)
Dempsey said Weaver made the Orioles winners. Weaver beat it into them every day, every way you can interpret that. Weaver managed with his brain, and “he never gave up. That’s how he played the game.” He went as far as to say Earl Weaver scared a couple of players out of the big leagues.
Hondo said, “He [Williams] was an amazing man.” Even though Ted had a big ego, he knew the game. Hondo believes that Williams was responsible for the Senator’s turnaround. He once brought in Hondo, asking him about his hitting approach. “He did tighten it [Howard’s strike zone] up.” Howard believe that William’s approach allowed him to become a better hitter. “You’re talking about a true American patriot, and Ted was one.”
When Hondo was traded, he viewed it as a chance to play more. He did not care about moving from first to last, he just wanted to play. Both of these men just loved the game. For them, it is not just about winning. They were still part-boy; the ball field was just another place to have fun. I hope they serve as exemplars for today’s players. If you are lucky enough to play in the major leagues, you had better enjoy it. Too many players today care too much about the money. I am not saying any players from this era cared for the money. Of course they did! They just loved baseball, and that is why they played baseball.
Frank Howard and Rick Dempsey are very smart and funny men. They had very nice baseball careers, and should be managers. Some of the greatest guys in baseball are sitting in front of me, and I hope they continue to stay in the sport.