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Lip Man 1
05-30-2005, 12:40 PM
He was colorful, he was controversial but he was nobody’s fool or stooge.

He’s Jimmy Piersall and he’s the subject of this month’s interview at White Sox Interactive.

Jimmy played seventeen years in the major leagues then went on to become part of one of the more legendary broadcasting duo’s in Chicago sports history when he and Harry Caray hooked up doing the White Sox in 1977.

Even now at the ‘young’ age of 75 Jimmy still speaks his mind on WSCR radio as a baseball analyst, and to his credit, didn’t duck any issues or questions about his days with the Sox for this interview.

Jimmy spoke about playing against the ‘Go-Go’ Sox of the 1950's, how it came to be that he joined Harry in the Sox broadcasting booth, his thoughts on his fellow broadcasters Caray, Lorn Brown, Joe McConnell and Mary Shane, his opinions of Sox owners Bill Veeck and Jerry Reinsdorf, an explanation of his incidents with Mike Veeck, Rob Gallas, Tony LaRussa and Mrs. Tony LaRussa, and some interesting comments about the state of the Sox both on the field and perhaps more importantly, off the field, in terms of their financial viability, from sources in the know.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

You can find the article on the main page of WSI.

Lip

SpammySosa
05-30-2005, 01:01 PM
I haven't read the complete interview,but got stuck on the following quote from Piersall:"Nellie Fox might have been one of the worst defensive second baseman I ever saw. It’s a good thing he had guys like Aparicio, Ron Hansen and ‘Chico’ Carrasquel around him.”
Was that supposed to be in teal? Everything I have read has led me to believe he held his own at 2nd base-including his Gold Glove awards.Is Piersall being sarcastic or is he suggesting that Aparicio,etc are the reasons for his defensive success?

Lip Man 1
05-30-2005, 01:06 PM
Spammy:

I think Jimmy felt, based on his expeirences that Nellie was not a good second baseman and that it was because of the outstanding shortstops the Sox had around him that he was as good as he was.

I don't think he was being sarcastic.

Lip

TornLabrum
05-30-2005, 01:13 PM
Lip, another great interview!

chisoxfan64
05-30-2005, 01:30 PM
Great job, I enjoyed reading it very much. Also enjoyed the clips at the end, some good memories.
Thanks.

SpammySosa
05-30-2005, 01:32 PM
Spammy:

I think Jimmy felt, based on his expeirences that Nellie was not a good second baseman and that it was because of the outstanding shortstops the Sox had around him that he was as good as he was.

I don't think he was being sarcastic.

Lip

Thanks for clarifying,Lip. Based on your observations(or anyone else that had the opportunity to see Fox),would you support or refute Piersall's opinion on this? I am not saying he is wrong,as I never got to see Fox play.I am just curious what other's views are since Jimmy brought it up.Have you heard this sentiment before-whether it was expressed by fans,players,etc?

dickallen15
05-30-2005, 01:37 PM
That was great. I always got a kick out of Jimmy. One of my favorite moments was when Harry said something and Jimmy said "Harry, you're crazy." Harry responded, "I'm crazy? You're crazy, and have the papers to prove it."

DrCrawdad
05-30-2005, 01:39 PM
He was colorful, he was controversial but he was nobody’s fool or stooge.

He’s Jimmy Piersall and he’s the subject of this month’s interview at White Sox Interactive...

Lip, Thanks for another great interview!

Too bad you're not here in the Chicago-area, 'cos if you were you'd deserve a presspass. Just think, a WSIer there in the clubhouse...

Oh, but it's no doubt more difficult to get a presspass from the Sox than it is from the current (high government position).

:)

http://images.art.com/images/products/regular/10103000/10103716.jpg
Run, Jimmy, Run!

TornLabrum
05-30-2005, 02:38 PM
Thanks for clarifying,Lip. Based on your observations(or anyone else that had the opportunity to see Fox),would you support or refute Piersall's opinion on this? I am not saying he is wrong,as I never got to see Fox play.I am just curious what other's views are since Jimmy brought it up.Have you heard this sentiment before-whether it was expressed by fans,players,etc?

I was a kid when I saw Fox, but I'd have to say from my memory that at least in this case Piersall is full of ****.

BigEdWalsh
05-30-2005, 02:43 PM
I was a kid when I saw Fox, but I'd have to say from my memory that at least in this case Piersall is full of ****.

Well, afterall he IS crazy.
Good interview though, I enjoyed it very much. Prying into a crazy man's head.

tebman
05-30-2005, 06:43 PM
I was a kid when I saw Fox, but I'd have to say from my memory that at least in this case Piersall is full of ****.

I was a kid too (but a very attentive kid! :cool: )

What made Fox good was that he had terrific baseball smarts. He wasn't a great athlete and his range wasn't that wide, but he knew how to play each batter. Sure, Aparicio made him better, but that's a two-way street -- Fox knew how to set himself up when he played with Aparicio to get the best out of both of them. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and knew when to make a throw and to what base. That sounds pretty obvious, but not everybody can do that as consistently as Fox did.

He was a winner. They don't hand out MVP awards for having a nice smile.

Lip Man 1
05-30-2005, 07:00 PM
Sorry...I had to do this....

The lunatic is in my head... -- Pink Floyd..

Lip

RichFitztightly
05-30-2005, 07:46 PM
That was great. I always got a kick out of Jimmy. One of my favorite moments was when Harry said something and Jimmy said "Harry, you're crazy." Harry responded, "I'm crazy? You're crazy, and have the papers to prove it."

This is a quote my dad has repeated to me a bunch of times. Though he is one to bungle a quote, he's always told it like this:

Harry, "Jimmy you're crazy."
Jimmy, "I'm not crazy, I am completely sane, and I have the papers proving it... do you?"
Harry, "No Jimmy, I guess not."

jehosaphat
05-30-2005, 08:17 PM
I enjoyed the interview, thoroughly! Piersall and Carey were the reasons I was first drawn to the Sox. They made the game fun.

Piersall was a great analyst because he always taught me something about the game - I learned things about baseball listening to him. Although he certainly had his blind spots, he was always genuine. The older I get, the more I've come to appreciate honesty and honest people. Also, he respected the intelligence of his listeners. I'll take Piersall anyday over the throngs of slick talking, cliche yapping bozos that comprise the majority of analysts on TV and radio today. Piersall was, and continues to be, an American original.

TornLabrum
05-30-2005, 08:36 PM
I enjoyed the interview, thoroughly! Piersall and Carey were the reasons I was first drawn to the Sox. They made the game fun.

Piersall was a great analyst because he always taught me something about the game - I learned things about baseball listening to him. Although he certainly had his blind spots, he was always genuine. The older I get, the more I've come to appreciate honesty and honest people. Also, he respected the intelligence of his listeners. I'll take Piersall anyday over the throngs of slick talking, cliche yapping bozos that comprise the majority of analysts on TV and radio today. Piersall was, and continues to be, an American original.

What? You mean you don't enjoy incites by guys like Bob Brenly when they say things like, "You know, the team that scores the most is going to win today"?

jehosaphat
05-30-2005, 08:57 PM
What? You mean you don't enjoy incites by guys like Bob Brenly when they say things like, "You know, the team that scores the most is going to win today"?

Yep. Right up there with "The (Any team) need to get some quality innings from (whoever is the starting picture)"

Brian26
05-30-2005, 09:05 PM
Lip-

Did Piersall keep the WMAQ post game gig through the entire '83 season? I remember listening to him and Nancy Turner late at night after the games on the radio. I remember specifically him making mention of the LaRussa confrontation at the Sportschannel studios (which was early '83)- and that mention must have been on one of the postgame WMAQ shows. Maybe he started doing the postgame on WMAQ after he was fired from Sportschannel?

TDog
05-30-2005, 10:31 PM
He was colorful, he was controversial but he was nobody’s fool or stooge.....

Lip

No, he was and is clearly his own fool.

Lip Man 1
05-30-2005, 10:39 PM
Brian:

Yes he got the radio gig after he was fired the second day of the 83 season from the pre and post game shows.

Lip

slavko
05-30-2005, 11:03 PM
A great interview with a shoot-from-the-hip character. Now we all can remember those parts of it which promote our favorites and disregard the rest of it.

Nellie_Fox
05-31-2005, 01:46 AM
Piersall thinks he was God's gift to defense. Nellie recognized his limitations: "What is the top requirement for a second baseman? A fine shortstop. I am fortunate in having the greatest shortstop in baseball, Luis Aparicio." However, I saw Nellie make some great defensive plays as well.

PaulDrake
05-31-2005, 11:50 AM
I like Jimmy, I really do. He was one of my favorite non White Sox players as a kid. The years when Harry and Jimmy were in the booth were the golden age of White Sox broadcasting. Contrast them with the current MTV generation, in love with themselves, blow dried, cliche loving sports broadcasters. It's pure torture to have to listen to most of them. Jimmy however, like most strong personalities has some major faults. He can go far beyond being honest and forthright and be downright cruel at times. Maybe it's because his father drove him incessantly as a kid (Karl Malden is his dad right?), or maybe a personal weakness or some combination of the two. Piersall was a gifted athlete and one of the best defensive outfielders ever. Nelson Fox was kind of a plodder, he did nothing in a spectacular manner. He was undersized, and worked hard to make the most of his modest natural skills. I don't think I ever saw another baseball player who looked like he really enjoyed playing the game like old Foxie did. He was not a poor second baseman, he was very good. He made up for limited range by almost always seeming to know where to play a particular hitter. He had sure hands and was especially good at snaring those dying quail pop ups behind him in the outfield grass. He was clutch, hitting .375 in that ill fated 59 WS. With Aparicio he made a great DP tandem. In my youth, only Bill Mazeroski when he was teamed with Gene Alley seemed better. Jimmy Piersall is a one of kind genuine American eccentric. He's wrong about Nellie Fox.

Fenway
05-31-2005, 12:16 PM
Have met Jimmy a few times and he left an impression.

Once in the early 80's I was at Wrigley wearing an old style Red Sox blue jacket with the 2 red socks on it. I was walking in the walkway behind the box seats and he was coming the other way glaring at me, his eyes the size of half dollars.

He grabbed me and yelled "If Tom Yawkey saw you wearing that jacket he would roll over in his grave." and then walked away. :?:

The other time that stands out was on the field at Fenway before an Old Timers game and I was watching him do a live interview. He was asked about Bart Giamatti and Pete Rose and he went into a tirade about the commish that was shocking even for Jimmy.



http://www.allposters.com/IMAGES/Ssport/PIERPHU008000.jpg

jackbrohamer
05-31-2005, 12:55 PM
Once in the early 80's I was at Wrigley wearing an old style Red Sox blue jacket with the 2 red socks on it. I was walking in the walkway behind the box seats and he was coming the other way glaring at me, his eyes the size of half dollars.
He grabbed me and yelled "If Tom Yawkey saw you wearing that jacket he would roll over in his grave." and then walked away. :?:

Why was that?

When I was in high school in 1979 he was signing autographs under the stands at Sox park, a lot of people standing around him were waiting for him to sign. A guy who looked like he was 14 patted him on the back --- in a nice way not in a way that appeared threatening at all --- and Jimmy shot him this frightening, murderous look and said "The last guy who did that wished he didn't!" It was creepy. But nobody else patted him on the back.

Sox Blue 69-70
05-31-2005, 12:56 PM
"...and Leyland is nothing but a little phony." :?:


I can't ever recall hearing anything like that said about Leyland by anyone else. I guess you cross this guy once, you're on his **** list for life.

Fenway
05-31-2005, 01:06 PM
Why was that?



You asking me to explain why Jimmy did what he did?

There are some old tapes of his WIND show floating around, just priceless stuff.

Brian26
05-31-2005, 01:34 PM
Brian:

Yes he got the radio gig after he was fired the second day of the 83 season from the pre and post game shows.

Lip

Ah- ok...that makes sense now. Also- back then, Piersall's postgame show wasn't really officially endorsed by the White Sox the way Dolgin's is today. I think Joe McConnell and Early Wynn would do the postgame scores and highlights and interviews....and after a ton of commercials, Piersall would finally come on afterwards with Nancy Turner.

Did Piersall last the entire '83 season? I don't remember if he responded to JR's comments after the division clincher.

jackbrohamer
05-31-2005, 03:19 PM
I guess you cross this guy once, you're on his **** list for life.

IMHO that explains a lot of what he says. I've always found him entertaining but he's frequently unfair

Hangar18
05-31-2005, 03:22 PM
Lip, Thanks for another great interview!

Too bad you're not here in the Chicago-area, 'cos if you were you'd deserve a presspass. Just think, a WSIer there in the clubhouse...

Oh, but it's no doubt more difficult to get a presspass from the Sox than it is from the current (high government position).

:)

http://images.art.com/images/products/regular/10103000/10103716.jpg
Run, Jimmy, Run!

WHere is this picture from? Piersall appears to be running to 3rd base!?

Nellie_Fox
05-31-2005, 03:24 PM
WHere is this picture from? Piersall appears to be running to 3rd base!?That's from when he ran backwards around the bases after hitting his 100th homerun. At least I think it was #100; it was a milestone homer of some sort.

tebman
05-31-2005, 03:52 PM
That's from when he ran backwards around the bases after hitting his 100th homerun. At least I think it was #100; it was a milestone homer of some sort.

I remember hearing Piersall talk about that home run. I seem to recall too that it was his career 100th and he commemorated it by running backwards -- that is, still from first to home, but trotting backwards.

He's a savvy guy. He got a lot of mileage out of his "crazy" act. He was actually treated with clumsy therapies for a "nervous breakdown" early in his career. If it were now, they'd probably have an appropriate medication for his condition, whether Prozac or something else. I was at a Sox game as a kid in the early 60s when Cleveland was in town and remember him clowning in "crazy" ways: shaking his fanny while at bat in response to pitches he didn't like, playing like a bull in a bullring when he was in center field, etc. He got away with a lot of stuff because he knew other players and umps didn't know how to approach him.

Veeck knew exactly what he was doing when he hired him to do color with Harry Caray in '77. Veeck knew a good show when he saw one.

Chez
05-31-2005, 04:09 PM
I spent 90 minutes with Jimmy in the Charlotte airport about 10 years ago -- waiting out a delay to O'Hare. I found him to be funny, friendly and personable. I enjoyed reminiscing with him about some of the Sox players from the 70's. I also found him to be a bit too cavalier with his racial and ethnic slurs for African-American and Latin players and Jewish owners. Kind of shocking how frank he was with a total stranger.

StillMissOzzie
06-03-2005, 07:18 PM
What? You mean you don't enjoy incites by guys like Bob Brenly when they say things like, "You know, the team that scores the most is going to win today"?

Umm, I believe that insight is the word you're searching for, not "incite", TL, although Brenly is sorely lacking it.

Back to the thread at hand, that was an entertaining interview with Piersall, even if I did disagree with several of his expert opinions. For example: Sure, LaRussa has often found himself surrounded by great ballplayers, just about every winner has been. But, Tony has won with a couple of different styles of play, the ball-crushing (and juiced?) Bash Brothers as well as the jackrabbits of St Louis. Besides having the players, being a good manager involves dealing with both the massive egos of players as well as the morons in the media.
Second, I never saw Nellie Fox play, but Piersall sure has him coming up short, and from what I've read, that was just flat out wrong.

SMO
:gulp:

Edit: 12 time All-Star, 3 time Gold Glove, and 1959 AL MVP. And wasn't this back when players and coaches picked All-Stars and not the idiotic fans at large? C'mon, Jimmy...

TornLabrum
06-04-2005, 12:09 AM
Umm, I believe that insight is the word you're searching for, not "incite", TL, although Brenly is sorely lacking it.

Back to the thread at hand, that was an entertaining interview with Piersall, even if I did disagree with several of his expert opinions. For example: Sure, LaRussa has often found himself surrounded by great ballplayers, just about every winner has been. But, Tony has won with a couple of different styles of play, the ball-crushing (and juiced?) Bash Brothers as well as the jackrabbits of St Louis. Besides having the players, being a good manager involves dealing with both the massive egos of players as well as the morons in the media.
Second, I never saw Nellie Fox play, but Piersall sure has him coming up short, and from what I've read, that was just flat out wrong.

SMO
:gulp:

Edit: 12 time All-Star, 3 time Gold Glove, and 1959 AL MVP. And wasn't this back when players and coaches picked All-Stars and not the idiotic fans at large? C'mon, Jimmy...

Yeah, Pat incites nothing. Ronnie incites me to smashing my radio.

At least part of the time Fox was being selected to all of those All-Star squads, he was picked by the players.

BedfordChisox
06-04-2005, 10:32 AM
That is a great interview of Jimmy. It brought back a lot of good... and some not so good... memories.

I was interested in reading Jimmy's opinions of his fellow broadcasters with the Sox. What he said about Loren Brown didn't bother me at all. I didn't know he kissed a**, but he was a horrible announcer. If I had a nickel for every time Loren said "It's a home run if it stays fair... (dramatic pause)... it's a foul ball." I went to a game once and had a transistor radio with me during one of Loren's calls like that, and I swear the ball, which landed in the seats on the 3rd base side, would have been routine fly-out if the batter had straightened it out. My brother was in radio, and he met Loren once, and he asked him specifically about his tendency to do that, and Loren told him that it made it more exciting for the listener. My brother told him that when you do it five times per game, the listener catches on to the deception. Loren called my brother an expletive and walked off.

I was cringing though when I started to read Jimmy's comments on Joe McConnell -- mostly because I thought he'd rip into Joe too. However, I was pleasantly surprised to read his positive comments about Joe. Maybe my memory is addled by too much alcohol over the years, but I seem to recall that Jimmy stormed out of the broadcast booth one night (it might have been 1981) when he was broadcasting with Joe, saying "I can't take it anymore" as he walked out. Apparently, Joe's smoking bothered Jimmy. Does anyone else remember that?

Joe McConnell was a favorite announcer of mine. He made Bears games exciting on the radio when they was no other reason to be excited, and I enjoyed his work with the Sox. Is Joe still alive, and, if so, is he still broadcasting? I think I heard him doing an ESPN college basketball game several years ago, but that's it.
One of the other posters remembered Jimmy making some cavalier remarks with regards to race. My recollection on this subject is limited to his post-game call-in show on WMAQ, but if I recall correctly, it was usually the callers who would say something intentionally outrageous (e.g. "Hey Jimmy, do you think they should bring back the Negro Leagues?") just to get a reaction out of him... and they usually did.

Lip Man 1
06-04-2005, 11:59 AM
I know that Joe was doing Purdue University sports including hosting the TV coaches shows. I do not know if that was the past season or not but I know he was doing it for some years before that.

Lip