Durocher's health and how he's been getting along with Kaye. What makes you
The soft voice
grew even more quiet. "I know a lot about the game. I can teach good. I'm
fine selling cars, but I was just thinking that maybe if Leo got the managing
job he might just happen to remember me."
The old Negro
all-star shortstop looked out a restaurant window into twilight. "My
children has grown fine," he said. "My wife's a lovely woman. I'm at
peace with myself. But I didn't just love playing that game. I loved being
around baseball. The big leagues is the greatest baseball in the world.
"I don't miss
nothing, and I don't resent nothing, 'cept bein' turned away at DiMaggio's. But
now at my age, if Leo got Seattle and hired me as one of his coaches, I could
help him and be back in the major leagues again.
"I'd pray for
that," Wilson said without sadness, " 'cept you just shouldn't ask the
Lord for too much."
THE COUNTRY OF
The president of
the Eastern League, a round-bellied, hearty, country-slick New Englander named
Paul Patrick McKernan, spends his winters teaching current events at Nessacus
Middle School, outside the valley town of Pittsfield, Mass. "I have a wife
and four children," McKernan said in the league office, which is the
sun-room of his house. "Whatever you hear about a great American baseball
boom, it doesn't apply here. The minors are a depressed area."
I have seen a
list of salaries paid to major league baseball players during the 1975 season.
These were not press-release exaggerations or newspaper guesses but figures
printed in a private analysis called "Salary vs. Performance." You can
find copies within a locked cabinet in any major league office.
There are few
surprises at the top. Excluding attendance bonuses and the variety of fringe
benefits that Catfish Hunter worked into his contract with the Yankees, Dick
Allen's salary led the majors. The Phillies paid him $250,000. Then came Henry
Aaron at $240,000. Johnny Bench at $190,000, Lou Brock at $185,000 and Willie
Stargell at $181,000. Although Aaron is the only lifetime .300 hitter in the
bunch, every man here has been a superstar. Every one of them has been able to
argue that he put customers in the park.
pitcher was Ferguson Jenkins ($175,000), who is not really that good anymore,
but the Texas Rangers were desperate when they signed him three seasons ago.
Then came Tom Seaver at $170,000, Luis Tiant and Gaylord Perry at $160,000 and
Steve Carlton and Don Sutton at $155,000. (On the advice of his tax people,
Hunter has limited his straight salary from the Yankees to $100,000. He will
get deferred income for many, many years.) They comprise a pitching staff most
managers could tolerate.