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March 21, 2001|MIKE KUPPER

What: "Jocks and Socks"

Authors: Jim Ksicinski and Tom Flaherty

Publisher: Contemporary Books

Price: $21.95

If you have despaired of ever finding a book exclusively about what goes on in a major league clubhouse, despair no longer.

Ksicinski, who managed the visitors' clubhouse at the late Milwaukee County Stadium from 1966 through 1997, tells all he knows--well, maybe not all, but lots--about baseball players in the locker room through the pen of Flaherty, a retired Milwaukee Journal baseball writer.

There are no startling revelations--unless you consider it startling that Ksicinski once had to stash a naked stripper, hired as a birthday surprise by the Toronto Blue Jays, in the umpires' room so reporters wouldn't see her in the clubhouse--but Ksicinski shows us sides of players, managers and umpires we don't usually see, or even think about.

On one occasion, for instance, the Seattle Mariners were finishing a weekend series in Milwaukee and had another series starting in Chicago, 90 miles away.

That usually meant a bus ride, but Ken Griffey Jr. decided he didn't want to bother with the team bus.

"Get me a limo, Big Jim," he said.

Jay Buhner heard about it and asked Ksicinski to get a limo for him as well. Then Bobby Ayala asked for a limo and before Ksicinski knew what had hit him, nine Mariners had requested limos. And none wanted to share.

Milwaukee is not a limo town and that was a tall order for "the clubbie" but Ksicinski came up with the required transportation.

Oh, and if you're wondering whether former Baltimore Oriole manager Earl Weaver was as intense and feisty in private as he was in the dugout, he was, Ksicinski says, maybe even more intense and feisty. Billy Martin, on the other hand, for all of his pugnaciousness, had a warm, easygoing side that he showed often in the clubhouse.

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