National Pastime Radio: A bonanza!

April 17, 2012 · 2 comments

The airwaves sure have been busy over the past few days.

♦ Jim Abbott (Imperfect: An Improbable Life) was a guest on yesterday’s Leonard Lopate Show. I find it interesting that the subtitle does not include “Baseball,” as in “An Improbable Baseball Life.”

♦ John Grisham, author of Calico Joe  was a guest on Only a Game (interview here). The piece also features Bill Littlefield’s review of the book, which is surprisingly meh (example, “[S]ome of the baseball elements of Calico Joe struck me as carelessly executed, or perhaps insufficiently edited.”).

Photo by Richard Drew/AP

♦ But the piece de resistance is Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, which visited Boston for their most recent show. The guest on the “Not My Job” segment: Jim Bouton, author of Ball Four.

Here’s the transcript. At one point Bouton discusses pitching in Boston and when he started with the details, I just had to check it out, based on Moose Skowron’s visit to the show in 2009.

Here’s the eyebrow-raising section:

BOUTON: I loved pitching in Fenway Park. I thought it was a great experience.

SAGAL: You enjoyed it?

BOUTON: I loved it.

SAGAL: Did you enjoy infuriating the crowd?

BOUTON: Well, my best one was – I don’t know if you remember – when Dick Radatz, the monster, 6’8″ guy, a big guy, a great relief pitcher.


BOUTON: And he would come in to the ninth inning and he would strike out the side: Mantle, Maris and Tresh. And he would walk off the mound with his arms raised over his head. And he was the monster. And the crowd would roar. Well, on a Sunday I pitched and I pitched a shutout. And I decided that it would be a good idea to walk off the mound…

SAGAL: Sure.

BOUTON: With my arms over my head.

So thanks to the miracle of Baseball Reference we learn that, first of all, that Radatz was “only” 6’6″, which is a fairly minor flub. He pitched for Boston from 1962-mid 1966, so the game in question has to be within that time frame.

Bouton was with the Yankees from 1962-68, but did not have any shutouts from 1965-68. He had one in 1962, six in ’63, and four in ’64. It didn’t take long to determine that Bouton was spot on: On Sunday, June 23, 1963, he pitched an 8-0 shutout against the Sox in Fenway; he also tossed a 5-0 goose-egger on Aug. 27 — a Tuesday — at Yankee Stadium.

Later in the segment he complained about a couple of things he disliked in the modern game, including a batter showing up a pitcher on a home run trot. He said, ” In our day, you hit a home run, you put your head down and you ran around the bases. You went into the dugout and you shut up.” Which is why I find it a little hard to picture Radatz celebrating as Bouton described. But he was right about the shutout, so…

Wait Wait even opened on a baseball note and one of the questions in “Who’s Carl This Time,” featured a certain Major League manager who’s run afoul of the PC police. The episode ended with a return to have the panelists speculate on what said manager would do for an “encore,” but by that time, with host Peter Sagal rattling of the credits rapid-fire, I usually tune out.


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