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HE'S AN ANGEL NOW
Peter Gammons
August 07, 1989
California manager Doug Rader has overcome his devilish reputation and raised his ball club to heavenly heights
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August 07, 1989

He's An Angel Now

California manager Doug Rader has overcome his devilish reputation and raised his ball club to heavenly heights

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Two weeks ago in Baltimore, Rader tore into the umpires when third base ump Jim Joyce ruled that a fly ball hit down the leftfield line by the Orioles' Mike Devereaux was fair, a two-run homer that decided the game. Rader was ejected for arguing, and afterward, tense and his face bright red, he answered questions only in short, angry bursts. The following day Rader went to home plate and handed Ken Kaiser not only the Angel lineup card but also an Oriole lineup card—with four names left blank. "This is where you guys fit in," Rader said. Kaiser ejected him again.

Rader's volcanic anger isn't confined to the ballpark. He recently took his family to see Batman, and as the Raders stood in line, a group of kids standing behind them were swearing continually. Rader asked the kids to stop, noting that he was with his family. The foul language continued, and Rader suddenly wheeled on them with fire in his eyes. "If you don't stop," he seethed, "I'll break something that's very important to you." They stopped.

Rader is sitting in his office on a recent afternoon. The subject once again is the past: Rader is talking about his father, who died in 1965. "I had decided to sign a pro contract after my sophomore year at Illinois Wesleyan, and the Astros offered me $30,000, then took me for a try-out in Cocoa Beach," he says. "When I got home, my father told me that the Cardinals had called and said they would double the offer; and after that the Braves had called and said they'd double the Cardinals' offer. 'What did you tell the Houston people?' my father asked me. I told him that I'd said I would sign with them. 'Then you're a Houston Astro, son. That's the way things are done.' "

And so it was that Doug Rader became a Houston Astro. But he still believes that he is of another place and time and that in another life, he was either a Tahitian warlord or a Caribbean pirate. Donnelly thinks Rader was a Christian missionary. "He could be almost anything," says McCaskill. It all depends on the light.

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