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Leo Durocher
April 14, 1975
In which Durocher becomes the manager of the Dodgers, battles for and with his explosive boss and wins a famous pennant race
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April 14, 1975

Tales Of Leo And Larry

In which Durocher becomes the manager of the Dodgers, battles for and with his explosive boss and wins a famous pennant race

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The field was completely encircled by fans. They were three or four deep all the way down the foul lines, behind the catcher and in massed ranks behind the outfielders. You could forget all about chasing foul balls. No chance. Anything that went into the crowd in the outfield was an automatic double.

As a matter of fact, they completely took over the Cincinnati dugout, forcing the players to sit against the backstop. They knew better than to try to take over our dugout. I guess they'd heard about Joe Medwick.

I swear to Heaven it was a miracle that nobody got killed. The fans were standing so close to home plate that you couldn't swing without coming within a couple of feet of somebody's head. Early in the game, a curving line drive hit one spectator flush in the face. He was carted away, and nobody else moved an inch.

As one inning was about to start, I looked around and saw Medwick standing on the line a few feet behind third base arguing with a gorgeous blonde. Paul Dean was already in his motion, and since you couldn't hear anything from here to there, I had to go running in and scale my glove past his ear.

The best was yet to come. In the eighth we were leading 2-1. The first Cincinnati batter went out, the next man walked and up toward the plate strode Babe Herman. Before he got there, the blonde—who had moved to within a few feet of the plate by that time—stepped out of the crowd and plucked the bat from his hand. She took her stance in the batter's box, high heels and all, and motioned for Paul to pitch to her. You can look it up. Best-looking strike zone I ever saw. She had been telling Medwick all evening that even she could hit better than he could, and now she was going to prove it.

God knows what would have happened if Diz had been pitching. He'd probably have said she was digging in on him and knocked her down. Poor Paul didn't know what to do. Twice in a row he went into a big exaggerated windup and then stepped off the rubber and looked in toward the plate umpire, Bill Stewart. What could Stewart do? Judge Landis was there in his box, and even he had been afraid to do anything. We were playing the game only because:

1. MacPhail wasn't going to give all that money back.

2. If we didn't play it, they'd have torn the park down.

With nobody making a move, Paul Dean bent forward as if he were throwing the ball to a little kid and flipped it up to the plate underhand.

And she hit it. She hit a little twisting ground ball down between first base and the pitcher's mound and set out—lickety split, clickety click—for first base. Paul Dean, game to the end, fielded the ball and threw her out.

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