Bob Roselli is Chicago's third-string catcher. He was catching batting practice while the White Sox hitters swung in game rotation before an exhibition game in Florida. Luis Aparicio took his five cuts. Nelson Fox followed. The third hitter was absent.
Roselli ripped off his mask, picked up a bat and stepped in. "Throw it," he shouted quickly. The pitcher threw, and Roselli cracked a line drive over third. "That's a hit," laughed Aparicio. "Maybe you should always hit with your gear on."
Third-string Catcher Roselli didn't have time to laugh. He was too busy taking those rare cuts.
Four impressive victories in the first month of the 1961 season put Early Wynn within a dozen wins of becoming a 300-game winner. But in a game against the Yankees in late May his right arm began aching. There were visits to doctors, long periods without pitching—and just four more wins before Wynn was sent home for good in early September.
"I've had gout for around eight, nine years," Wynn said as he sat in front of his locker. He wore an olive sweat jacket, and rivulets of water trickled down his forehead and converged at the bridge of his nose. "I get it in the arm, right around the elbow. My elbow becomes aggravated and swollen. In the spring, when I do a lot of running, I get it around the heels because the shoes rub there so much.
"I have to watch what I eat. Even some vegetables, like peas and beans, are out. Pork is definitely out and so is beef. Pizza, spaghetti, ketchup, highly seasoned foods, they're no good for me.
"Gout's been called a rich man's disease, but I always say that I have a lot of rich friends. I've eaten most of my meals out in the past 26 years since I got into baseball and that makes it hard to watch your diet. I'm not supposed to cat spareribs or anchovies, but I had both of them last night." He rubbed his stomach and smiled.