January 2008

3 More Losses

The baseball world recently lost Johnny Podres who was one of the greatests in all respects.  However, we have also lost three more tremendous men that I want people to remember:

Don Cardwell

Don was a great competitor.  He wore his uniform with pride, and you knew that every time he stepped on the field he was going to try to do everything he could to beat you. 

He was the epitome of a ballplayer, and will be missed.

John McHale

John was a class guy.  He held just about every position that can be held in baseball.  He was a tremendous family man and a credit to the game of baseball.  Although he is gone, his legacy will remain as long as baseball is being played.

Steve Ridzik

Another former Major League player who always held himself to the highest degree of class, dignity and character.  He played many years for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Senators.

All three of these gentlemen will be missed.

Remembering Johnny Podres

Podres_lasorda Don Zimmer, Johnny Podres and I went to Coney Island on Easter Sunday.  There was a little kid there and he said, ?Hey mister, can you win me one of those dolls??

So Zimmer took three shots and won the kid a giant, stuffed poodle. 

And that?s when we started. 

We got poodle after poodle until the back seat of our car was completely full.

After we left Coney Island we went to the club house in Ebbets Field and some of the players wanted to buy the poodles for their kids.  We sold a whole bunch of them to the players.  They bought them all.

We were set to open the season with Pittsburgh and the Pirates came to Brooklyn.  Apparently they heard about the poodles and we were actually taking orders for them.  We were writing down how many stuffed poodles each guy wanted.

So we took their orders, so they could bring their children the stuffed animals.  We got down to the boardwalk and the first place we went the guy said, ?Hey, we know who you guys are.  In fact, everybody on this boardwalk knows who you guys are and you aren?t getting any stuffed poodles.  So forget about it, you guys aren?t allowed to throw.?

So the first time we got into business together it was a short lived partnership.

However, my partnership with Johnny was a long and enjoyable one.  We were teammates in Brooklyn, we were roommates in Brooklyn and we were friends. 

I can say, without a doubt, he was one of the greatest guys I ever had the pleasure of playing with.  He represented the Dodgers to the highest degree of class, dignity and character.  I’ve never, ever heard anybody say anything bad about Johnny Podres.  He was a great roomie, a great teammate, and a great friend.