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The Yankee D boys did double duty
Ron Fimrite
October 30, 1978
Bucky Dent and Brian Doyle were in the lineup for their gloves, but New York won the Series because of their bats
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October 30, 1978

The Yankee D Boys Did Double Duty

Bucky Dent and Brian Doyle were in the lineup for their gloves, but New York won the Series because of their bats

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His arrival was fortunate, because the regular second baseman, Willie Randolph, pulled a hamstring on Sept. 29 and was through for the year. All told, Doyle played in 39 games and had 10 hits, all of them singles, for a .192 average. But, at 24, he was at least in the bigs. Last year at Series time he was selling clothes at the Golden-Farley haberdashery in Bowling Green, Ky., near his home in Cave City.

"I feel like Cinderella," he said exultantly after the final victory. "I wanted to prove I could play this game. I'm a little guy—only 160 pounds—and I've had to scrape and try to outhustle everybody. I've always believed there is a spot in baseball for the little man."

That spot would seem to be the World Series, because as Stanley said in discussing the emergence of Dent and Doyle, "In the Series, pitchers tend to overlook the little guys. They're thinking about Munson and Jackson hitting home runs. They don't want to walk the little guys with the big ones coming up, so they give them good pitches." Dent and Doyle hit those good pitches, as so many other little guys have in World Series. In 1914 Brave Catcher Hank Gowdy, a .243 hitter during the season, hit .545 in the Series with a slugging percentage of 1.273. In 1927 Yankee Shortstop Mark Koenig, the least homicidal inmate of Murderers Row, hit .500 in the Series. Billy Martin, the once and perhaps future Yankee manager, batted .500 with 12 hits in '53. Yankee Bobby Richardson had a record 12 RBIs in 1960 and a record 13 hits in 1964. Chuck Hiller, a banjo hitter on a team of slugging Giants, hit the first Series grand slam by a National Leaguer in 1962. And Al Weis, a .215 batter during the season, was .455 for the Miracle Mets in 1969. Dent and Doyle join a distinguished company of Lilliputians.

Dent will certainly be back to plague Yankee foes next year. But whither Doyle? As his Dodger counterpart, Lopes, said, "I don't know that you'll see him next year." Certainly Randolph will play every day. Where does that leave a player of Doyle's modest attainments? Possibly the same place it leaves a number of Yankees—on the trading block.

Owner George Steinbrenner is obviously not one to stand pat. Adding Gossage to the bullpen this year strengthened the relief corps immensely. It also rendered old hero Sparky Lyle expendable. Centerfielders Rivers and Paul Blair also may well be playing elsewhere next spring. Blair can catch and throw but not hit. Rivers can hit and run but not throw. Texas' Juan Beniquez, the Yankees reportedly feel, can do all of those things; a deal for him is said to be already made. Is it also true that First Baseman Chris Chambliss, who was hurt in the Series, is trade bait? And does Munson still long to play in his native Ohio? Hunter has said he will pitch only one more year. Will this make Steinbrenner yearn for Dodger Pitcher Tommy John, who will be available in the free-agent draft? One Los Angeles newspaper even had Jackson going to the Angels.

Steinbrenner makes much of Yankee tradition, but he is a man of action, not sentiment. The Yankees, good as they are, will not stay intact. They are in a tough business in a tough town. As the thousands crushed in on city hall, Ron Swoboda, once a Series hero for the Mets but now a broadcaster, remarked on the differences between this Yankee celebration and the one that greeted the Mets of '69. "Our team appealed to the unreality in people," he said. "This team appealed to the reality. This is a city of scufflers. Everybody has had a kick in the butt somewhere along the way."

Even some heroes may get kicked.

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