•When he was eight, little Ronnie Guidry, whose mother didn't like him leaving the block, "decided it was time I played with other kids instead of by myself." So he told her he was going to grandma's house, but instead walked three blocks to a park, where some boys were playing baseball. The ball rolled his way, and he picked it up and threw it back. A man saw the incipient Guidry fastball—"He came running so fast I thought I had done something wrong," Guidry says—and signed Ronnie up for Little League. A star was born.
•In high school Guidry ran a 9.8 100, a 49-flat 440 and triple-jumped 45 feet. Playing Teener League touch football while in secondary school, he quarterbacked his team to two undefeated seasons. In his final game, for the city championship. Guidry passed and ran for every one of his team's seven touchdowns.
•Guidry is an avid user of the Nautilus machine in the gymnasium adjacent to the Yankee locker room. "I probably work out more than anybody else," he says. "I do a lot of arm curls, usually with about 75 to 100 pounds. Once Catfish Hunter and Don Gullett came in after me to work out, and the bar was set at about 75 pounds for curls. Catfish couldn't budge it. 'Goddam!' he said. 'Who's been working out on this?' "
•On a team with some fast runners, notably Mickey Rivers and Willie Randolph, Guidry is the fastest, a talent that is rarely put on display, since American League pitchers don't bat and, thus, never reach base. "I'm strongest in my legs." Guidry says. "A few times I pinch-ran, but as the season progressed they wouldn't let me do it anymore. I'd love to steal, but they never let me."
•"It's nice when someone tells me I'm a good pitcher," Guidry says, "but in some ways I value the compliment more when someone tells me that I'm a good fielder." Which people do. often. In fact, many players consider Guidry the best fielding pitcher in baseball. "I've always been quick," he says. In his eight pro seasons, he has been hit by a batted ball only once, on the knee, and that blow wasn't a serious one.
•Guidry's friends, particularly those who play Ping-Pong with him, talk about his quickness more than anything else. And if frogs could talk, they would attest to it, too. There is a technique to frog hunting, a popular bayou pastime for which Guidry has shown a considerable talent: you sneak up on a frog in your pirogue, shine a light in its eyes and grab it before it has time to spring away. A good frog doesn't need much time. If Guidry is the hunter, the frog hasn't got a prayer, or so say Guidry's frog-hunting buddies.
•Back home in Louisiana after the World Series, after the parades and celebrations and welcomings, after the American League Most Valuable Player award was announced—Boston slugger Jim Rice edged Guidry, a case of an apple winning over an orange—Guidry finally found time to do some of his favorite things. One of them is playing touch football in the park on Sunday afternoons. One day the game was played in a torrent that flooded the field with three inches of water in three hours. The rain might have daunted the other players' spirits had it not been for the fact that they were playing with a World Series hero who wasn't about to let circumstances as inconsequential as a downpour and ankle-deep mud ruin his game.
Guidry's team won 60-0. The score was actually 30-30, but when it had reached 30-0, Guidry switched sides and quarterbacked the other team to five touchdowns. As might be expected, Guidry not only can throw the bomb, but he has touch on his passes, too. He threw one perfect spiral after another, only half of which were dropped. When he wasn't throwing, he was running, quickly and all but untouchably. In the midst of one of his darting, graceful jaunts, one of the defenders, realizing there was slim chance he could nab Guidry, stopped on the field and muttered, "He's so good I'd rather just watch him run anyhow."
After the game Guidry approached those players he didn't already know to introduce himself formally and to thank them for the game. A few of them were local high school football players, and they couldn't believe what had happened to them that afternoon: not only did they get to see Guidry and to play football with him. but he also went out of his way to shake their hands.
"I think I'll switch from baseball to football," said Guidry, tugging at the waistband of his sodden sweat pants. "I could be a good defensive back."