- Ralph Kiner, home run ace for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the days when that team could scarcely win a game, once told this story about the early days of his marriage to former tennis star Nancy Chaffee.
"When I married Nancy," Ralph said, "I vowed I'd beat her at tennis someday. After six months, she beat me 6-3. After a year, she beat me 6-4. After we were married a year and a half, I pushed her to 7-5. Then it happened! She had a bad day, and I had a good one, and I beat her 17-15."
At this point in the story, Kiner was asked if his wife had been sick on that day.
"Of course not!" he said. Then he added,
Well -- she was eight months pregnant."
- Joe Garagiola tells this story about a day he was catching for the St. Louis Cardinals at Wringley Field inChicago. One of the distinguishing features of Wrigley is the ivy that covers the outfield walls. Another is the unpredictable wind , which can create nightmares for even the best of pitchers. On this day, the wind was working very much in the batters' favour, and the Cubs' pitcher was taking a pounding.
Chicago manager Phil Cavaretta walked slowly to the mound, then took the ball from the pitcher.
"I hate to take you out," he said consolingly, "but the outfielders are getting poison ivy."
- Bronko Nagurski of the Chicago Bears was one of the biggest -- and strongest -- men ever to play professional football. On one play from the one-yard line , Nargurski plowed thru' the defensive line with so much power that he kept going thru' the end zone. With his head still down, he crashed into a mounted policeman, felling both the cop and his horse.
Not aware of what he'd done, Nagurski stood up and cleared his head. "That last man hit me awful hard," he said.
- Muhammed Ali held the heavy weight boxing title for a total of 13 years over a sixteen-year stretch. During his reign, he was known for the verbal jousting he subjected his opponents to before each bout.
Ali went to see the movie Rocky II, which, like its predecessor, featured a boxer modeled pretty closely on Ali. In one scene, this character jeers at Rocky and announces, "I'll destroy you. I am the master of disaster."
After watching the film, Ali said, " 'MASTER OF DISASTER.' WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT!"
- During the years when Casey Stengel was their manager, the New York Mets were the laughing stock of the National League. The player who best exemplified the team's hopelessness was Marv Throneberry, known to the Mets' adoring fans as "Marvellous Marv." Throneberry could be relied on to strike out in any key situation and to make an error just when the opposing team needed it most.
One day, the team held a birthday party for manager Casey Stengel, complete with an enormous birthday cake. Throneberry complained, "How come nobody gave me a cake on my birthday?"
"We would have," manager Casey said, "but we were afraid you'd drop it."
- Although Camille Henry was one of the smallest players in the National Hockey League, he had a reputation for facing down anyone else in the league, no matter what size. He once tangled with one of the fiercest fighters in hockey. In the middle of the tussle, Henry shouted, "Watch out or I'll bleed all over you!"
- Frankie Frisch had little regard for hecklers. One day, when he was managing the Pittsburgh Pirates, he became incensed by a man sitting right behind the Pirate dugout. The fan screamed at him throughout the afternoon, offering suggestions on how the game should be played.
When the game was over, Frisch went into the stands and asked the man for his name and business address. The fan was flattered. He gave Frisch the information, then asked why he wanted it.
Smiling, Frisch replied, "I'll be at your office bright and early tomorrow morning to tell you how to run your business."
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