My 15th Hall of Fame

 

LAD_09_PhillyHOF.jpgTonight Larry Bowa and I will be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.  I would like to congratulate Larry on this great honor, and I would like to thank all the people who made this possible.

I grew up in Norristown, PA, which is just outstide of Philadelphia.  I’ll never forget going to Shibe Park for the first time to watch an actual Major League game.  I found out that the nuns were going to take the local crossing gaurds to see a Phillies game so I became a crossing gaurd.

I stood out in the cold snow, sleet and hail to help kids cross the street.  Finally we go to the game and we saw the Phillies play the New York Giants.  The nuns took five of us.  I bought a program for 10c.  Can you imagine a program costing only ten cents? 

I also made up a book for autgraphs.  In the old Shibe Park there was a twenty foot stretch where the visiting team players would have to walk with the fans to get back to the clubhouse.  I asked one player for his autograph and he pushed me out of the way. 

I was heartbroken.  Major Leaguers were my heroes.

I looked up his number in the program and read his name: Buster Maynard.

Years later I was pitching in Sally League in South Carolina and the PA announcer said the next batter’s name: Buster Maynard.

That’s the rat who pushed me out of the way and wouldn’t give me an autograph!

He stepped into the box and with the first pitch I dumped him.  He got up, brushed himself off and got back in the box.  I dumped him again.  He yelled at me to stop throwing at him, and with the third pitch he went down again, but this time when he got up he came charging out after me.

I cleaned his plow in the free-for-all.

After the game was over someone came to our clubhouse asking for Tom Lasorda.  I wanted to know who it was and the person identified himself as Buster Maynard.  I told him that I cleaned his plow on the field and that I’d do it again.  But he didn’t want to fight.  He just wanted to know why I was throwing at him.

I told him the story, and he couldn’t believe it.  When I became the manager of the Dodgers I would tell my players the same story about old Buster with the moral being that if a kid asks for your autograph you better sign it because he may grow up and come back to get you.

3 Comments

Tommy, you are the best! I loved this story as I do all your stories.

Grats Mr. Lasorda. On a completely unrelated note … I don’t exactly know where to pitch this idea, but I figure this would be as good a place as any.
Why don’t the Dodgers have their a minor league team in Brooklyn? Wouldn’t it’d make much more sense to have it there instead of Albuquerque or anywhere else the Dodgers have farm teams?
A minor league team in Brooklyn would preserve team history more than anything and it would be an insane money maker. I’d be willing to bet that Brooklyn residents would rather go see a Dodger game than a Mets game any day of the week, even if it was minor league … and especially if they played in New Ebbets Field.
What do you think Mr. Lasorda?

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