Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
GEEZER WEEK FEATURES MOUND MASTERS
Roger Clemens, 50, won a minor league game and nobody checked to see if his Metamucil was laced with HGH. Yes, it was minor league, A, but it wasn’t AARP. He turned minor league Sugarland into Rocketland but that may have not been the most exciting baseball event in Geezerland.
I’m kidding, right? No, because Bill Lee pitched and won a complete game for the San Rafael Pacifics. Roger “the Rocket” may have tossed 88 mph fast balls at the age of 50 but Bill “Spaceman” Lee, 65, became the oldest guy to win a pro-baseball game.
This was an historical week. Strike up the geezer band. I’ll lead. Neil Armstrong also left us but will always be our first moonwalker, and who better to help highlight a week when a pitcher named “Rocket” and another named “Spaceman” both made history.
How many remember the Spaceman, former Red Sox and Expos pitcher (14 years in the majors) who had some of the greatest quotes of any 70s era pitcher? That’s why I love this Medicare qualified gunslinger-for-hire with his “still-have-my-arm-for-hire” attitude. We get to trot out a few “Spaceman” quotes for everyone to enjoy. There was even a Bill Lee song sung by Warren Zevon called “Ballad of Bill Lee” based on one of his quotes:
“You’re supposed to sit on your ass and nod at stupid things
Man, that’s hard to do.
And if you don’t, they’ll screw you. And if you do, they’ll screw you, too.
When I’m standing in the middle of the diamond all alone
I always play to win when it comes to skin and bone
But sometimes I say things I shouldn’t; sometimes I say things I shouldn’t.”
For sure, like calling his manager, Don Zimmer, the designated gerbil. Yep, traded in a matter of hours.
When Bill Lee signs his autograph he writes a planet’s name next to his signature. He also said “They asked me about mandatory drug testing. I said I believed in drug testing long ago. All though the 60s I tested everything.”
Here’s another one: “I’m mad at Hank Aaron for deciding to play one more season. I threw him his last home run and I thought I’d be remembered forever. Now, I have to throw him another.”
And since I’m a new left-hander, I like this one: “You have two hemispheres in your brain – a left and a right side. The left half controls the right side of your body and the right controls the left half. It’s a fact. Therefore, left-handers are the only people in their right minds.”
This is how you get to be a 65-year old pitcher with a full head of gray hair and a noticeable bowlegged walk: come up with great quotes, write four books, make your own wooden bats, have your own line of wine. I think that’s enough right there to be in my 2012 Geezer Hall of Fame. And, Rocket, you did okay, too.