Thru Cub Eyes: Gary (Sarge) Matthews
With this weekís installment of first person recollections from those who played for the Cubs, we enter the era of 1984, an incredible season on many fronts. These compilations are from Carrie Muskatís anthology Banks to Sandberg to Grace. We salute you, Sarge for a job well done.
Dallas [Green] was the type, unlike a lot of managers and general managers today, who put the onus on the players, so if you made a mistake, he would blast you. If you didnít get the big hit, he would blast you. The players in my era when you did that, they would say, ìOh, Iím going to show you.î And weíd go out and do better. Now, if you sit them, they say ìOK, fine. Iím going to take a vacation. Iíll just collect my paycheck on the 1st and 15th. The pride factor, except for a handful of players, has left.
I can honestly say ñ and Iím sure a lot of the guys would say ñ that  was the most fun year of all time. We made it fun. Guys couldnít wait to get to the ballpark to be able to take batting practice.
I took a lot of pressure off say, even Sandberg, who would be up at the plate and heíd get a high inside fastball. I would be screaming at the pitcher from the dugout, and Ryno would have to step out of the batterís box because he was laughing. Ultimately what it does is break the pitcherís concentration because heís looking over at me seeing whoís screaming and yelling, and Iím staring right at him, and Sandberg, heís laughing, getting ready to go back out thereand hit. Consequently, he had not his best year, but probably his all-around best year as far as having fun and going out to the ballpark and winning a lot of ballgames.
Leadership is more or less God-given. Iíve always said the true athlete, whether he has better stats than anybody else on the team, your true best athlete on your team will make other players play better. For me, even in high school, coming up in Little League, it was the same thing. My Mom always told me that I wasnít the MVP even though I might have had the best stats. I was more the captain, more the glue that held everybody together.
Not being able to get to the World Series takes a little bit away from it, but again it was a great year, and it was a great year for baseball.