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While growing up in Kearny, N.J., Stanley played sports and did very little else. "If it wasn't for sports, I wouldn't have made it through high school," he says. "I studied only to stay eligible." He was drafted by the Dodgers and was offered a $4,000 bonus but unaccountably decided to attend college. After one month at Newark State (now called Kean College of New Jersey), he realized that he still wasn't a student. "I called up Commissioner Kuhn and told him I wanted to change my mind. He told me, 'All right, I'll put you in the January draft.' The Red Sox picked me. I got $4,000. I think I worked a lot harder than if I'd gotten a lot of money. Some people get big bonuses and act like they've already made the big leagues."
Stanley is a solid citizen, who does volunteer work for the Jimmy Fund for children's cancer research and lives in Wenham, Mass. with his wife, Joan, and children Kristin, 3, Kyle, 2, and Kerri, eight months. "Three Ks," he says. "That's the only way I'm going to strike out the side."
Stanley can be a cutup around the clubhouse. During a rain delay in Kansas City last week, he organized a miniature golf tournament played with bats, baseballs and paper cups; imitated Gedman's unorthodox swing; and, after many requests from his teammates, did his takeoff on Bob Cousy's basketball announcing: "Wobet Weid to Moses Mawone—bwocked by Wawwy Biwd!"
Although Stanley insists he no longer throws a spitter, some of his teammates seem to suggest otherwise. "Don't call it an unnatural pitch," says Stanley's bullpen mate John Henry Johnson. "There's nothing unnatural on it at all."
"Just say it sinks naturally," says Hurst.
"You could say I'm known for throwing a spitter but not that I admit to throwing one," says Stanley. "Give me a lie detector test, ask me if I throw a spitter, and I'd pass. I don't use spit."
Whatever he uses, it's been working for a good long time.