"I was just happy I was able to show her this other side of me," says Harrelson. "It's not as if I have a schizophrenic disease, but I've always thought of the Hawk as another person. I used to kneel in the on-deck circle and say to myself, 'Awright, Kenny, get out of the Hawk's way and let him do his thing.' "
The Harrelsons have two kids, Krista, 10, and Casey, 8. Krista is an accomplished gymnast and, energized by her devotion to Mary Lou Retton, she runs around the house doing backflips, cartwheels and splits. "Tough as nails," says Harrelson with great pride.
Casey reminds Drysdale of "Leo Gorcey, the Dead End Kid." Harrelson took Casey on one epic road trip last year, which the White Sox are still talking about. In Detroit, Dad gave Casey $5 to get some ice cream, and when Harrelson asked for the rest of the money, Casey said, "But I did like you, Dad. I told him to keep the change." And in Cleveland, Harrelson gave the clubhouse man $50 to keep Casey busy during the three games in which Dad was in the booth. "The clubhouse guy says, 'Sure, Hawk, no problem.' At the end of the first night, he hands me the $50 and says, 'Hawk, it ain't enough.' " Casey's finest moment came in Boston when he and his father got all dolled up for dinner at a North End restaurant. When the meal was finished, Casey said, "Dad, let's do the Walk." The two of them exited doing the Hawk Walk—to a standing ovation.
"Kenny Harrelson is good for baseball. He's dynamic, he's charismatic, he's bold, and he can do anything he sets his mind to. I'm glad he's back in the arena."
So says a big guy, 6'8", 300-pound Frank Howard, now a coach with the Brewers and a former roommate of Harrelson's when they were with the Senators. A whole chapter of Hawk is devoted to their adventures. For years after they were separated, Howard would greet Harrelson with a squinting eye and say, "So you're The Fabulous Hawk, eh?"
While the White Sox hired Ken Harrelson, they are busy promoting The Fabulous Hawk. The ad campaign for season tickets is "The Hawk Wants You," with the cowboy-hatted Hawk pointing Uncle Sam-style. The club has reaped a public relations bonanza out of the hiring. But publicity is not what Harrelson is after. Running a ball club is a big game to him, and he is very good at games, everything from arm-wrestling to gin rummy. "What we have in baseball is a lot like duplicate bridge," he says. "We're all trying to get the most out of basically the same hand. One guy might make four spades, I might make a little slam." For a guy who doesn't even have a high school diploma, Harrelson is very smart.
He wasted no time when he became a White Sox VP. He jettisoned most of the minor league coaches and managers and half the scouts. He brought in some of his favorite people. Alvin Dark, his former manager in both K.C. and Cleveland, is his minor league director. He lured scout Ellis Clary away from the Twins organization, for which Clary had worked for 40 years. Harrelson has just signed on the Big D as his pitching consultant.
If Harrelson has a school of thought, it's probably, "I Know This Sounds Crazy, But It Just Might Work." The White Sox will have three pitching coaches on the major league level: Holdover Dave Duncan will handle the starters; the legendary Moe Drabowsky will tutor the relievers; and Drysdale will teach all of them chin-music appreciation. "Hell, we're going to have to bring in tackling dummies in spring training to stand up to our pitchers once Drysdale gets through with them," says Harrelson.
He wanted not only two full-time pitching coaches but also two full-time hitting coaches—one for the singles hitters and one for the power hitters. "Actually, we were planning one each for lefthanded singles hitters, lefthanded power hitters, righthanded singles hitters and righthanded power hitters," says manager Tony La Russa, who's been watching all these goings-on with a mixture of bemusement and admiration. For now, however, the White Sox will have only one hitting coach, Willie Horton.
Among the other people Harrelson has hired to coach are Dick Allen, Rico Petrocelli, Tom Haller, Bob Bailey, Dick Bosman, Chuck Hartenstein, Bob Bolin, Jose Cardenal, Buzz Capra, Doug Rader, Herman Franks and Jim Marshall. There are some dinosaurs (Herman Franks?) and certifiable loonies in there, but Harrelson swears by them.