When Ken Harrelson moved his act on to Cleveland, he was careful to include Wendell, the valet who had supervised his vast wardrobe in the Boston pad. In many ways, the Hawk has decided, Cleveland is even grander. On crowded days he is airlifted to work from the roof of the chic Winton Place apartments, where he makes his new home close by Art Model!, owner of the Browns, and Vernon Stouffer, the restaurant and frozen-foods man. At the ball park he has two lockers to accommodate the overflow of custom-made suits, many of which he designed himself. Never one to hide his light—or anything else—under a bushel, Hawk begins on page 59 the story of how he, of all people, arrived on the roof looking like that. Immodest, often vain, certainly controversial, but always interesting, it is incomplete in only one way: there is no mention of how he is hitting in Cleveland
WHAT CLASS! WHAT SPLENDOR! WHAT GALL!
You handsome sonofagun, don't you ever die!" I look in the mirror and say that anywhere from one to a dozen times a day, depending on how often I shave, change my clothes, comb my hair or just happen to see my reflection. It may sound a little conceited, but when I spot the ensemble, especially the nose that goes with it, I can't help myself.
For there's no doubt about it—the nose makes the man. Nosewise, the Hawk is the noblest Roman of them all. My nose is my bag, my trademark, my thing, my life. It makes me what I am today—not just a big-league ballplayer named Ken Harrelson (baseball is my worst sport anyhow), but a character people know as Hawk. There are at least two other Harrelsons in professional baseball. The world is full of Kens. But how many Hawks are there?
Which is why the word "Hawk" appears in some fashion on practically everything I own. You'll find it on my slacks, my sweaters, my shirts, my jackets, my underwear, my baseball gear, my stationery and my car. You can even find it tiled on the walls of the bathroom of my apartment in Brookline, the Boston suburb.
And all on account of my nose. I wouldn't be so proud of it if it had just happened to come with the rest of me, but I earned it the hard way. The nose I was born with was pretty straight. Then, when I was 7 or 8, it got broken the first time. I was in the on-deck circle waiting to hit in a baseball game in Woodruff, S.C., where I was born. The kid at bat hit the ball, slung his bat and caught me right across the face.
I want to tell you it just shattered my nose. And my clothes and everything around me were a bloody mess. Going home, I wondered what I was going to tell my mama. She took one look and cried, "What happened? You poor kid—what happened?" It never occurred to me to tell her the truth. So I said, "I got in a fight."
I have broken my nose several times since then, twice playing football and once in a fight, and I'm sort of ashamed of the last one. It was just a little break and it happened the year I got home to Savannah, where I went to high school, after my first season in organized baseball. I was pretty cocky—how many guys in Savannah get bonuses for signing baseball contracts?—and maybe I sometimes got on people's nerves.
Anyhow, I dropped into an oyster bar where a lot of the kids I went to high school with hung out, and a guy I didn't know very well came over and said, "You're Ken Harrelson, aren't you?"
"You know who I am," I said.