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Peter Carry
May 05, 1969
"First Babe Ruth and now the Hawk," complained a Boston teeny-bopper's banner after the Red Sox traded mod slugger Ken Harrelson to Cleveland in a six-player deal. The reference was to the lamented 1920 deal with New York, but the fears it might have evoked were insufficient to keep Harrelson in Boston. The 27-year-old outfielder, who had abruptly retired when he figured the trade might mean a loss of more than $500,000 in nonbaseball bread, just as quickly unretired himself after talking things over with Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Dressed in cowboy boots, bell-bottoms and an ascot tie, the Hawk met last week for four hours with the Commissioner and then announced the expected: there is baseball to be played and money to be made even in Cleveland. There are fans to be won, too—and the league's RBI champ began by sweeping them off their feet. A rock band and 500 young rooters raucously welcomed him at the airport and the Hawk returned the greeting, saying, "I'm happier than a pig in mud to be here." That night his new boosters quickly forgave a first game fielding blunder when Harrelson slugged a triple in his first at bat as an Indian. The hit and a two-run homer in his second game helped put Cleveland ahead both times, but Harrelson could not do it all alone. With the Tribe's pitching, the best in the league a year ago, still mysteriously ineffective so far this season, his new team lost those games and by week's end had yet to win with him in the lineup. Still, optimistic Harrelson found something to cheer about after being told a Playboy Club would open soon in Cleveland. Said the Hawk: "I've been here just a few hours and already the town is opening up."
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May 05, 1969

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"First Babe Ruth and now the Hawk," complained a Boston teeny-bopper's banner after the Red Sox traded mod slugger Ken Harrelson to Cleveland in a six-player deal. The reference was to the lamented 1920 deal with New York, but the fears it might have evoked were insufficient to keep Harrelson in Boston. The 27-year-old outfielder, who had abruptly retired when he figured the trade might mean a loss of more than $500,000 in nonbaseball bread, just as quickly unretired himself after talking things over with Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Dressed in cowboy boots, bell-bottoms and an ascot tie, the Hawk met last week for four hours with the Commissioner and then announced the expected: there is baseball to be played and money to be made even in Cleveland. There are fans to be won, too—and the league's RBI champ began by sweeping them off their feet. A rock band and 500 young rooters raucously welcomed him at the airport and the Hawk returned the greeting, saying, "I'm happier than a pig in mud to be here." That night his new boosters quickly forgave a first game fielding blunder when Harrelson slugged a triple in his first at bat as an Indian. The hit and a two-run homer in his second game helped put Cleveland ahead both times, but Harrelson could not do it all alone. With the Tribe's pitching, the best in the league a year ago, still mysteriously ineffective so far this season, his new team lost those games and by week's end had yet to win with him in the lineup. Still, optimistic Harrelson found something to cheer about after being told a Playboy Club would open soon in Cleveland. Said the Hawk: "I've been here just a few hours and already the town is opening up."

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