one last chance," I mumbled to Kenny Kaaiohelo, my old college pal, who had
just driven 10 hours and 500 miles from Edmond, Okla. with his two sons, Jason
and Jared, to see the sixth game of the 1982 World Series in St. Louis.
that?" Kenny asked, flashing his Hawaiian smile, trying to remain chipper
and upbeat about my not being able to come up with the tickets I'd
I glanced at the
Goodyear blimp hanging above Busch Stadium. Even its drone as it fought the
strong winds seemed to be a growl directed at me.
Jason, 12, and
Jared, 10, apparently unconcerned about our lack of tickets, talked excitedly
as we walked past NBC equipment trucks, souvenir vendors and calm Clydesdales,
which would later steal the show by pulling Gussie Busch into the stadium on a
beer wagon. Rabid fans were already streaming from the parking lots chanting,
waving pennants, buzzing in anticipation of a Redbird comeback against the
Brewers, who led the Series three games to two. Although tickets were hard to
find, I had been able to get them for two of the home playoff games with the
Atlanta Braves as well as both of the Series games already played in St. Louis.
But now things looked bleak.
said halfheartedly, not very hopeful about my last shot, "I met George
Hendrick the other night."
" Hendrick," Kenny snapped, "you mean the George Hendrick, the
My one brief
meeting with Silent George had occurred in a rather unusual way. On the night
of the first National League playoff game in St. Louis against the Braves, I
was working at the local Playboy Club as a standup comedian. The crowd was
sparse, and like everyone else in St. Louis, the members of my audience seemed
to be pooped from the long day of rain and game delays and, finally,
cancellation. But, despite the lack of enthusiasm in the nightclub, Hendrick
and his two companions apparently enjoyed the show, and later they invited me
to join them at their table, where we talked about baseball and comedy and
laughed about the horrors of performing either athletically or comically in
front of hostile crowds.
"I thought he
wouldn't talk to the press," Kenny said.
"I'm not the
press, I'm a fan," I replied. "And he said if I got to a Series game to
give him a call in the locker room, and he'd have me down to meet some of the
"Will he have