Woody Boyd was behind the bar that day when Dutch Kincaid swaggered into Cheers looking for the man he took deep 27 times. Kincaid, who did his arm-waving Dutch Windmill during every home run trot, barked at Woody, "I'm lookin' for a yellow-bellied, runny-nosed has-been!"
Woody replied, "I can't make one of those—I'm out of cassis."
Sam Malone's career ended in Cleveland, a tattered Red Sock washed up on the shores of Lake Erie. In his final game, Mayday made the only start of his big league career. I le was facing the Tribe's formidable Sid Monge on that chill April day in 1978. The crowd sensed that Malone's future might turn on this one game, like Andre Thornton turning on a fat slider, and as Mayday took the mound in the first, there was no movement in the stands at Municipal Stadium.
There was no movement on Malone's fastball, either. After giving up a double to Paul Dade and a walk to Larvell Blanks, Sam served up back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers to Thornton, Buddy Bell, Willie Horton and John Grubb. He then beaned Duane Kuiper. Zimmer removed Malone before a single out was recorded, which is why Sammy's ERA for 1978 is represented in The Baseball Encyclopedia by that dreaded sideways 8, the symbol for infinity.
Diane Chambers, a pretentious barmaid at Cheers and former fiancée of Malone's, once punctuated a recitation of the 17th-century poem The Bait with the words, "That's Donne."
To which Sam replied, "I certainly hope so."
That's the way it was with his baseball career: Done, and not a moment too soon. Out of baseball, he got onto the wagon. In fact, he saved the bottle cap from the last beer he ever drank, and it became a kind of lucky charm in Malone's baseball afterlife. Then he lent it to slumping Red Sox closer Rick Walker, who lost it in Kansas City, but...what the hey...by that time, Sammy had his life back on track.
By the way: When Malone lent that bottle cap to Walker one night at Cheers, Walker asked Coach for advice. Walker was told to relax, have fun, get himself a girlfriend. "In my day," Coach said, "there was always a lot of attractive young dames outside the stadium waiting for the ballplayers."
"They're still there, Coach," Walker noted.
"You kidding?" asked Coach. "Say hello to Rosie McGonaghal for me, will ya?"