"Lemme see the bruise," Herrmann was demanding, trying to look over my shoulder. I kept turning away from him so he couldn't see, dragging McCraw around in a little circle with me.
McCraw was grabbing my hand with his free hand, trying to pull it away. "C'mon, Ron," he was yelling, "that hurts, you're hurting me."
"I'm looking for the mark," I said, continuing to turn him around and squeezing his wrist as Herrmann tried to push his way in.
Finally, McCraw pulled away from me. There, on his wrist, was a welt just about the same size as my thumb. "There it is!" I pointed victoriously as I pushed McCraw toward first. "Go ahead, take your base."
"Where is it?" Herrmann demanded. "I don't see it."
McCraw started trotting toward first, shaking his wrist. "C'mon, let's go," I yelled in Herrmann's ear. "Play ball."
When Ted Williams was managing the Washington Senators he often came into the umpires' dressing room after games to talk about pitchers. Williams knows more about hitting than any man alive, but he also always knew who to talk to about pitching. He'd ask about specific pitches during the game—for example, was that a good pitch Mike Epstein struck out on in the third inning? We'd tell him as much as we remembered and make up the rest.
Once these conversations led to a potentially embarrassing moment. Every third word out of Williams' mouth was a swear word. These adjectives were an absolutely essential part of his baseball vocabulary. One night, in Washington, President Nixon used our locker room as his ball-park office because it was small, secure and had a separate entrance on the field right next to the President's box. They even installed a red phone in the room. You can imagine my temptation.
After the game Nixon paused to talk baseball with us. I was my usual delightful self and was in the middle of a wonderful story about me when Williams rapped on the door. The four umpires in the room became so quiet you could have heard a stolen baseball drop.
The Secret Service agents escorted Williams into the room. I knew exactly what was coming next and closed my eyes, although that didn't affect my hearing. "Hey," Williams said after being introduced to the President of the United States, "how the %$#:@$#!! are you?"