- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"It's Al Simmons, Mr. Mack," he said. "Gee, it's good to see you again, Mr. Mack."
When Mack was introduced on the public address system, Al Simmons took his arm and helped him as he walked out into the bright sunlight. Halfway to home plate Mack stopped, turned to the crowd and waved his hard straw hat, holding it high.
He sat in the dugout during the game, talking to old Cy Young and to Casey Stengel. When white-haired Lefty Grove came into the dugout after the first inning he crooked his left arm at Mack and said, "Give me a rub-down, Connie." And the two old men, Mack and Young, delightedly kneaded Grove's arm for a moment or two.
Before the old-timers' game was over Mack's chauffeur came for him. Al Simmons helped the old man to his feet and said goodbye. "It certainly was good to see you again, Mr. Mack," he said.
Mack nodded and said goodbye. The chauffeur began to lead him along the dugout floor toward the steps, but Mack paused to shake hands with two or three players sitting on the bench. Joe DiMaggio saw Mack approaching and sat up straight. He took off his cap before he shook hands with the old man.
"Goodbye, Mr. Mack," he said.
He did not put his cap back on until the old man had gone.
SO YOU'RE A FOOTBALL PLAYER
You have to be ready for a hard time first. This is about the second week of practice...You're up at the crack of dawn, your muscles stiff and sore. You get an hour's skull practice first, with your group coach. If you're a lineman, you meet with the "men," known as the "lunkheads," or "those big, dumb oxen." You, in turn, refer to the backfield as "the boys," or the "artists."
Morning practice comes next, when your breakfast has digested. Your pants and pads are clammy and cold as you climb into them. Stiff-legged, you trot to the practice field. The first order of business is calisthenics. For psychological reasons they call them "conditioning exercises," but by any name you hate them. Then comes an hour and a half of hitting the sled, blocking dummies, three-on-one drills, tackling, work on assignments. Pound, pound, pound. At the other end of the field the "artists" just seem to be having fun, throwing the ball around....