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NO HOLES TO MEND IN THESE SOX
William Leggett
March 12, 1973
As they open spring training under a mellow Sarasota sun Dick Allen is there, rich and ready. Bill Melton—The Back—is back in one piece, and fans on the South Side are asking: Is this The Year?
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March 12, 1973

No Holes To Mend In These Sox

As they open spring training under a mellow Sarasota sun Dick Allen is there, rich and ready. Bill Melton—The Back—is back in one piece, and fans on the South Side are asking: Is this The Year?

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"We really need the uniform," the television man suggested.

"No matter what I'm in," said Allen, "Me is Me."

But Allen put his wet trousers back on, got into a red windbreaker and went out and did the interview.

Off in the distance the pitchers were still working: wondrous knuckleballer Wilbur Wood (24-17), the rejuvenated Bart Johnson, newcomer Steve Stone, youthful reliever Terry Forster, who in 1972 had finished 45 games and set a team record with 29 saves. He had not given up a home run in 100 innings. Notably absent: Stan Bahnsen (21-16), who had not yet signed. Inseparable from Wood & Co. was a middle-aged man with a middling chaw in his cheek: Johnny Sain, pitching coach extraordinary. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Sain and Tanner promoted Forster in 1971, after he had put in but 54 innings of minor-league pitching. Forster logged only 50 major-league innings that year. "That plus Sain's coaching was worth 200 innings in the minors," said Chuck Tanner. All in all, it seemed staff enough for a pennant race.

At third base Melton was fielding balls hit by Coach Joe Lonnett. One hopped up and struck Melton on the shoulder. "Ah! Ah!" Melton shouted, "you got me."

"Ding-a-ling-a-ling," hollered Lonnett.

The Back is back, the Me is Me, and perhaps at last the bells will be ringing on Chicago's South Side.

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