- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"I went down and he said, 'Al, I'll tell you what I came to see you about. I think we're going to trade you.' He said, 'The club's in trouble and we have to make a deal. The other clubs want either you or Mungo, and we can't trade Mungo because he's a drawing card.' He said, 'Al, I just want you to know I'll trade you to a good club.' I said, 'Thanks, Case. I appreciate that.'
"I was back in Tampa, later on, and a sportswriter called me up. He said, 'Al, did you hear about the trade?' I said, 'What trade?' He said, 'You've been traded to Boston.' I thought, Boston! A good club? That year they'd lost 115 games! It's still a modern National League record.
"Tony Cuccinello had been traded with me, so that spring we drove over to Clearwater one day, where the Dodgers were training, and we found Casey in the hotel. He said, 'Well, I suppose you want to talk about that trade.' I said, I am sort of curious.' He said, 'Al, we couldn't help it. We tried, but this was the best deal we could make and we had to make it.' I said, 'Case, I'm sure glad you said you were going to send me to a good team. I might have ended up in Keokuk.'
'And then five years later, he traded me again, from Boston to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh finished fourth that year, but in June when I was traded, they were still last. I still get on Casey about those trades."
A sportswriter walked in. Lopez looked up. "Feeling better today?" the writer asked.
"A whole lot better," Lopez agreed. He picked up the phone and dialed a number.
"Ed? What's the Yankee score now? Seven-four! Oh, that's the final. Good. Thank you." He put the phone down and smiled.
"A lot better," he said.