The SPRINGFIELD (IL) STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER today has a baseball yarn for the ages spun by 1983 American League Rookie of the Year Ron Kittle about his former White Sox manager Tony “I know how to f—ing manage” LaRussa.
Pull up a chair.
“My first dealing with Tony, and I don’t even know if he’ll remember that . . . he was (the White Sox’s) Double-A or Triple-A manager and I was in Class A (in spring training) and the catcher got hurt so I was in my catcher’s gear . . . my team had already left; they were at home . . . and it was Double-A vs. Triple-A. So Tony’s at third base (coaching) and the catcher gets hurt, I fill in for him, man at first and third.
“And he goes, ‘We’re not going to steal on you.’ The first thing he said. So I’m thinking, ‘I know what he’s going to do.’
“So the first pitch, they steal on it. The runner takes off and I throw a bullet right at the runner at second base. He ducks, my second baseman catches it, tags him, throws to home and Bobby Molinaro was the guy coming in from third base. And I buried him at home plate. I could have broken his legs. Two hundred and 45 pounds of steel just knocked him down, and it was a double play.
“So Tony’s still at third base and I took the ball and I rifled it and I hit him right in the chest. I go, ‘You won’t steal again, either.’ That’s all I said. And that was our first meeting.”
Albert, you listening?