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Mike Downey

For All-Stars, the Skipper's Nod Helps

July 18, 1985|MIKE DOWNEY

MINNEAPOLIS — "Dick?"

"Yeah?"

"Sparky."

"Sparky who?"

"Whaddaya mean, Sparky who? How many Sparkies you know?"

"I give up. How many?"

"You don't ain't got to be no wise guy."

"Oh, Sparky Anderson! "

"Boy, you beat a guy in one lousy All-Star game and suddenly you're unbearable."

"Well, you got to gloat after the World Series, Georgie boy."

"Yeah, but we let you get out of town alive, didn't we?"

"This is true. What can I do you for?"

"I was just wonderin' if you got all your players in the game."

"Yep. Six of 'em. How about you?"

"Yep. All five."

"I was going to let that Garrelts kid pitch, but we were only five runs ahead."

"Yeah. Can't take no chances."

"I don't think it would have meant all that much to the kid to get to pitch in his first All-Star game, do you, Spark?"

"Naw."

"I doubt if he had more than 80 or 90 relatives watchin' the game on TV."

"Sure."

"I figured it was a hell of a lot safer to let Goose go in and pitch, because after all, he's been in a couple of dozen All-Star games now."

"I know exactly what you mean, Dick. I was gonna let that Howell kid from Oakland throw a couple of balls, but I still had a couple of my own guys to get in."

"What else could you do?"

"I mean, I wouldn't want nobody not speakin' to me."

"Naturally. Like, I was gonna use a couple of my Met pitchers, but then I figured, 'I already got Strawberry into the game. How many Mets I gotta throw in there?' "

"Don't worry, Dick. Nobody from New York don't give no damn about it."

"Who all'd you use, Sparky. I forget."

"Let's see: Morris, Petry, Hernandez, Whitaker, Trammell. How about you?"

"Hoyt, Gossage, Gwynn, Nettles, Garvey, Kennedy, Templeton--hey, that's seven! I thought I only used six!"

"Everybody makes mistakes."

"I know people are gonna say I got greedy, but after all, we are leading our division."

"No, you ain't."

"Oh."

"Well, doesn't matter. It was like you were sayin' the other day, Sparky, these are the guys who got us where we are. We owe it to 'em to do something nice for 'em."

"Right. They're gonna give us a paid vacation startin' Aug. 6, ain't they?"

"Right."

"My guys got me where I am today."

"Sparky, that's third place."

"Yeah, but I still should have made more of 'em All-Stars. I should have made Gibson an All-Star. I should have made Lemon an All-Star. I should have made Melvin an All-Star."

"Melvin who?"

"Melvin's my catcher. Parrish was supposed to be the All-Star catcher, but he got hurt. I probably should have used Melvin instead. Melvin's as good as Fisk."

"I know what you mean. People kept askin' me why I picked Kennedy to be my catcher when Carter got hurt. They said I should have started Pena. But if Kennedy couldn't play, I'd have probably brought Bochy. He's my other catcher. Nice kid."

"You know, Dick, this managin' the All-Star team is fun."

"I know. Maybe next year I'll bring 10 or 12 of my guys."

"You can't."

"How come?"

"Because Lasorda's gonna be bringin' 10 or 12 of his."

"Very funny. I'm gonna enjoy beatin' Bobby Cox next summer, boy."

"That'll be the day."

"And I'll tell you one more thing, Spark."

"What's that?"

"I don't care if that bleepin' Andujar is 25-3, he ain't pitchin'!"

"Right, Dick."

"Unless he's traded to the Padres, of course."

"Right, Dick."

"Then I'll use him all nine innings."

"Say good night, Dick."

"Good night, Dick."

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