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NADA SURF
05-15-2008, 03:34 PM
For what it’s worth, I did a feature on former Cubs’ pitcher Buddy Schultz, who was having a charity golf outing involving many famous athletes that lived or happened to be in the Phoenix area. I chose Steve Stone to interview (since Bob Uecker didn’t do interviews. I was going to bring up his Johnny Carson days where he was the best of them all).

I got Stone to talk about Bill Veeck, Earl Weaver and the ’77 team a bit and here’s some of what he said:

“Until the day he died, Bill Veeck was one of my heroes. Being the maverick he was, he wasn’t particularly well-received from an ownership standpoint. But he was one of the most well read and most intelligent of baseball people that I’ve ever been around.

“He had one thing that some owners are missing and that is you have to make the (ballpark) experience fun (for the fan). Like (Los Angeles Angels’ owner) Artie Moreno. One of the things he did was sit in the stands and talk with fans. The Angels have started to draw well during the Moreno years because the fans, I think, felt they had a voice.”

"It was bill that got Harry to start singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

"He was a one-of a kind guy and I’m not sure we’ll ever see the likes of him again.”

On the ’77 team...
“We had a real interesting group of guys. We were in first place for 4 months but we ran out of gas.
(Veeck) told me that if he had enough money he’d go out and buy a shortstop.”

(Bannister made 42 errors at shortstop.)

“We had a wonderful offense. We just couldn’t catch the ball very well, but it was exciting. Jorge Orta is still looking to turn his first double-play."

Stone led the team in victories.

“I think it was a team with more characters than any team I’d ever been on. Everybody had a strange story.We were a flawed team. Maybe that’s one of the things that made it so interesting. The fans loved us. We drew real well. Bill Veeck and Roland Hemond are wonderful people.

On Earl Weaver...

“I think that a lot of people that played for Earl finally realized after they were gone that he was really a genius,”. (Teammate) Terry Crowley came in and said, ’Don’t let the little guy affect you. Here in Baltimore we take the game way in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings. If you keep us close, you’ll win more games than you ever did in your life.’”

On something he's always wanted...

"I dog named Larry."

Stone is about as down-to-earth and courteous as anyone I've chatted with. He certainly loves to talk.

I was disappointed that Stone enjoyed the Baltimore Orioles more than the '77 Sox, but that's understandable when you win...

I was also a bit surprised in what Veeck told him about going out and buying a shortstop since he had a pretty good one in Bucky Dent going into the year. The Dent trade, however, was brilliant as he acquired Oscar Gamble (31 homers in '77) and Lamarr Hoyt.

ondafarm
05-15-2008, 03:41 PM
I consider the Dent deal a real downside to Veeck. Hoyt obviously had talent but he could have been had for somebody else. Dent for Gamble was all about showmanship. A solid defensive shortstop doesn't look flashy, he just wins you games. Gamble was valuable for one year and then departed as a free-agent. Sure Veeck knew he'd hit homers and he knew how to use him, that was one of Gamble's best years IIRC, but a one year rental? Stone would have won a lot more games if he'd had Dent at shortstop.

NADA SURF
05-15-2008, 04:01 PM
I consider the Dent deal a real downside to Veeck. Hoyt obviously had talent but he could have been had for somebody else. Dent for Gamble was all about showmanship. A solid defensive shortstop doesn't look flashy, he just wins you games. Gamble was valuable for one year and then departed as a free-agent. Sure Veeck knew he'd hit homers and he knew how to use him, that was one of Gamble's best years IIRC, but a one year rental? Stone would have won a lot more games if he'd had Dent at shortstop.
I liked Dent as much as anybody and emulated him at the plate my high school years...
But that deal with the Yankees was a great trade for the Sox...
Gamble's '77 season was worth it alone. They didn't come up with the cash to keep him.

ondafarm
05-15-2008, 04:34 PM
I liked Dent as much as anybody and emulated him at the plate my high school years...
But that deal with the Yankees was a great trade for the Sox...
Gamble's '77 season was worth it alone. They didn't come up with the cash to keep him.

77 had to be worth it alone, because that was all the Sox got from Gamble.

WhiteSox5187
05-15-2008, 04:42 PM
77 had to be worth it alone, because that was all the Sox got from Gamble.
Actually they got this pitcher named Lamar Hoyt who wound up leading the Sox to the playoffs in '83. The move was made out of finicial necessity, but it wound up paying off in the present (Gamble was a huge component of the '77 Southside Hitmen) and in the future with Cy Young Award winner Lamar Hoyt...pretty good trade by Hemond.

NADA SURF
05-15-2008, 04:46 PM
Actually they got this pitcher named Lamar Hoyt who wound up leading the Sox to the playoffs in '83. The move was made out of finicial necessity, but it wound up paying off in the present (Gamble was a huge component of the '77 Southside Hitmen) and in the future with Cy Young Award winner Lamar Hoyt...pretty good trade by Hemond.Hoyt was the big prize of that deal. He later brought Ozzie in a deal and we still get to enjoy Ozzie today even though he should have had Anderson in CF in the ninth to save Floyd's no-hitter.

ondafarm
05-15-2008, 05:30 PM
Of all the defenisve positions SS is the most important. Having Dent would have turned a poor infield into a decent one. Adding Gamble for a single year was exciting but ultimately a waste. Hoyt could have been had for a lesser player, which was my point. He was a throw-in in the deal. Hemond played it smart, but trading for a guy you can't keep beyond one year is dumb.

NADA SURF
05-15-2008, 05:36 PM
Of all the defenisve positions SS is the most important. Having Dent would have turned a poor infield into a decent one. Adding Gamble for a single year was exciting but ultimately a waste. Hoyt could have been had for a lesser player, which was my point. He was a throw-in in the deal. Hemond played it smart, but trading for a guy you can't keep beyond one year is dumb.After talking with Hemond specifically on this deal, Gamble was the throw-in as Veeck wanted someone to put out on the field everyday to appease the fans who loved Dent...
Hoyt was someone he wanted badly but he first tried to get Ron Guidry...
Veeck hated Dent for some reason and thought he was a mediocre SS.

ondafarm
05-15-2008, 05:48 PM
Hoyt didn't pitch at all in the bigs until Sept 1979 and wasn't a starter until 1982. Considering you are talking about a deal before the 1977 season, that seems like long lead time. Not that I doubt Hemond's vision, but the deal was perceived as Gamble for Dent.

comet2k
05-15-2008, 05:50 PM
Instead of arguing the value of that trade, let me say thanks for sharing what Stone had to say. I love the comment about Orta.

whitesox901
05-15-2008, 06:14 PM
I Like all the stuff he talked about Veeck, makes me wanna whip out the ol' Veeck as in Wreck!

Bucky F. Dent
05-15-2008, 07:10 PM
I consider the Dent deal a real downside to Veeck. Hoyt obviously had talent but he could have been had for somebody else. Dent for Gamble was all about showmanship. A solid defensive shortstop doesn't look flashy, he just wins you games. Gamble was valuable for one year and then departed as a free-agent. Sure Veeck knew he'd hit homers and he knew how to use him, that was one of Gamble's best years IIRC, but a one year rental? Stone would have won a lot more games if he'd had Dent at shortstop.


I'm as big a Dent fan as anyone, but yeah the year of the Hitmen made the deal worth it.

NADA, I'd be interested to know why Veeck hated Dent.

kba
05-15-2008, 08:02 PM
I consider the Dent deal a real downside to Veeck. Hoyt obviously had talent but he could have been had for somebody else. Dent for Gamble was all about showmanship. A solid defensive shortstop doesn't look flashy, he just wins you games. Gamble was valuable for one year and then departed as a free-agent. Sure Veeck knew he'd hit homers and he knew how to use him, that was one of Gamble's best years IIRC, but a one year rental? Stone would have won a lot more games if he'd had Dent at shortstop.

In the afterword of "Veeck as in Wreck," Ed Linn says Veeck unloaded Dent because of a desperate need to raise cash. Originally, Veeck agreed to sell Dent to the Yankees for $400,000. Gamble was just a throw-in designed to help Veeck save face with the fans. (In 1976, Gamble had hit .232 with 17 home runs, so the Yankees were eager to dump him.)

Commissioner Bowie Kuhn vetoed the deal, because too much money was changing hands. So the Yankees lowered the cash to $275,000 and added two minor league pitchers - Hoyt and Bob Polinsky. Of course, it ended up being one of the more significant trades in the history of both franchises.

Lip Man 1
05-15-2008, 08:23 PM
Veeck was quoted directly as saying that "he'd trade even up, Dent for any other starting shortstop in the American League."

Dent wanted more money heading into the 1977 season and Bill felt he either wasn't worth it or didn't have any to give so he shipped him out a mere few hours before the team broke camp in Sarasota to head north.

There are a few of the 1977 team members interviews here at WSI if anyone is interested. They include Soderholm, Lemon, Johnson and Wood.

Lip

ondafarm
05-15-2008, 10:09 PM
I'm as big a Dent fan as anyone . . .

This is my candidate for biggest understatement of the season.

ondafarm
05-15-2008, 10:22 PM
In the afterword of "Veeck as in Wreck," Ed Linn says Veeck unloaded Dent because of a desperate need to raise cash. Originally, Veeck agreed to sell Dent to the Yankees for $400,000. Gamble was just a throw-in designed to help Veeck save face with the fans. (In 1976, Gamble had hit .232 with 17 home runs, so the Yankees were eager to dump him.)

Commissioner Bowie Kuhn vetoed the deal, because too much money was changing hands. So the Yankees lowered the cash to $275,000 and added two minor league pitchers - Hoyt and Bob Polinsky. Of course, it ended up being one of the more significant trades in the history of both franchises.

I should clarify.

I think this deal shows a couple of things.

First, Veeck was, or trusted (Hemond) a very smart baseball guy.
He knew that Gamble was being miss-used by the Yankees and that he could employ him better, which he did for the 1977 season. Gamble never hit more than 18 homers after that 1977 season.
I'll say that Hemond picked Hoyt & Polinsky off the Yankees and to be able to get one guy out of two, three years away from being a major leaguer is pretty good in my book.

But it also shows that Veeck was as much showman as winning baseball guy. A star shortstop wins more games for you than a 31 homer outfielder DH. As Stone himself said, we couldn't catch the ball. Dent would have stabilized the defense a lot. 1977 put a lot of people in the seats, but it didn't produce a champion team and we paid for it for years to come. Once Zisk and Gamble left, we didn't have a whimper until 1983 and that was after Richards had groomed a whole new crop of starting pitchers including Hoyt.

Is one glorious year worth five years of mediocrity? Ask me in 2010 when I'm still posting about dumping Guillen.

NADA SURF
05-15-2008, 10:31 PM
Instead of arguing the value of that trade, let me say thanks for sharing what Stone had to say. I love the comment about Orta.
That's funny...I about dropped the phone when he made that Orta comment. He was right though. Orta was one of about five regular DHs that played a position that year.

Bucky F. Dent
05-15-2008, 10:36 PM
This is my candidate for biggest understatement of the season.


Is it that obvious?

NADA SURF
05-15-2008, 10:37 PM
I'm as big a Dent fan as anyone, but yeah the year of the Hitmen made the deal worth it.

NADA, I'd be interested to know why Veeck hated Dent.Honestly, I have no idea why he didn't like Dent but I remember him referring to him as an average SS with not much range and not much of a bat...
There was something between the two and I don't know what it was...
I used to follow everything Dent did so I was pretty interested in this...
I even said I'd never go to another Sox game once they traded Dent, but I ended up driving from Waukegan to 65 Sox games in '77 alone. (Gas was cheaper then).

Bucky F. Dent
05-15-2008, 10:40 PM
Of course, it ended up being one of the more significant trades in the history of both franchises.


Three, actually, if you count what Bucky did to the Red Sox one fall afternoon.

NADA SURF
05-15-2008, 10:42 PM
Veeck was quoted directly as saying that "he'd trade even up, Dent for any other starting shortstop in the American League."

Dent wanted more money heading into the 1977 season and Bill felt he either wasn't worth it or didn't have any to give so he shipped him out a mere few hours before the team broke camp in Sarasota to head north.

There are a few of the 1977 team members interviews here at WSI if anyone is interested. They include Soderholm, Lemon, Johnson and Wood.

Lip
That quote from Veeck was the exact quote I was trying to think of!
Thanks...
Dent was a lot better than most SSs at that time.

kba
05-16-2008, 09:43 AM
I'll say that Hemond picked Hoyt & Polinsky off the Yankees and to be able to get one guy out of two, three years away from being a major leaguer is pretty good in my book.


Linn also writes that the White Sox minor league staff saw no potential in Hoyt and was about to release him after the 1977 season. Veeck intervened. By that time, Dent was a post-season hero, Gamble was about to become a free-agent, Polinsky had a sore arm, and Veeck knew he would take a beating from the press if he had nothing to show from the trade. As fate would have it, Hoyt turned things around in 1978 and was in the majors the next year.

ondafarm
05-16-2008, 09:55 AM
Linn also writes that the White Sox minor league staff saw no potential in Hoyt and was about to release him after the 1977 season. Veeck intervened. By that time, Dent was a post-season hero, Gamble was about to become a free-agent, Polinsky had a sore arm, and Veeck knew he would take a beating from the press if he had nothing to show from the trade. As fate would have it, Hoyt turned things around in 1978 and was in the majors the next year.

He was a September call up in 1979. He played the whole season in the minors.