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The owner's son picked up the luncheon check. Teammates estimate that McDonald, with a ready roster of doting restaurateurs, can eat on $5 a week in Philadelphia.
"You don't mind if we make a few stops, do you?" said McDonald, returning to the convertible. He drove to the Eagles' offices for his allotment of Sunday game tickets, then to the Phillies factory where he checked the slick proof of his latest ad (McDonald peering from the middle of a pileup, eyes wide like Betty Boop, a smile on his face and a cigar in his smile).
At his haberdasher's, McDonald outlined the virtues of his new black mohair jacket, the one without a lapel and with one pearl white button. "I've got one like it in rust color I wear to the Latin Casino," he said. "It's great for twisting. A lot of times I do the twist instead of knee bends when we're warming up before a game. Did I tell you about the big brawl we had in Pittsburgh last year? All of a sudden I'm squared off with this big guy—Ernie Stautner, it was. So I break into a twist, and so does he. Boy that really broke 'em up."
At a bank building, McDonald squeezed the convertible between a car and a truck—"See what I mean about good judgment?"—and told his companion he was about to meet Pat Gallagher, the future Mrs. McDonald. "We're getting married," he said. "Nobody knows it yet except us and Sonny [Jurgensen, the Eagles' present quarterback]. He's standing up for me. Her folks are Catholic and they don't approve. They're great and like me fine, but I'm divorced."
He sat, studying the steering wheel. "Everything has worked out so well," he said. "The people in this town are wonderful. There's a man I know. Ike Fiel. Half his head was shot away in the war and now he can barely talk. Comes lo the games and they wheel him up on the sidelines. He wears my jersey with No. 25 and when I do something good he says, "That's my boy.' " Tears brimmed in McDonald's eyes. "Sometimes I can't understand my good fortune. 'Why me?' I ask myself. 'Why me?' It's bewildering."
That night at the ball game, when Musial came to bat, McDonald leaned to the edge of his seat. "Stanley!" he yelled. "Hey, Stan. Stanley! Whata ya say we go to the Latin Casino tonight!"
The next day he and Pat Gallagher drove to Audubon, Pa. and got married.
There are, by reasonable estimate, three Tommy McDonalds—the Player, the Wag and the Man. Each is an appealing fellow. None of them has an enemy.
McDonald the Player is a blend of sheer talent and sheer gall. "You've got to stamp on the little squirt in the huddle like he was a Japanese beetle," says a teammate. "All he yells is "Throw it to me, Sonny, throw it to me. I've got this guy beat.' If he had his way nobody else on the team would get a chance to catch the ball." McDonald is 5 feet 10, only 172 pounds but 150% confidence. "There are worlds of people with potential physical abilities greater than McDonald's," says Coach Bud Wilkinson of Oklahoma, for whom McDonald played three full seasons. ' "About his only real advantages are quickness and extraordinary determination."
""McDonald catches every ball that hits his hands, and some he shouldn't catch," says Van Brocklin. "He's not the fastest, but when he comes out of his fake he comes out running, without losing a step." Van Brocklin used to ignore McDonald's pleas for attention in the huddle until that propitious moment when suggestion and circumstance were equal. "'I used to have to shut him up; the other receivers were getting their noses out of joint. But he had a very high percentage of success on plays he brought back to the huddle."