For some players I have had a rather difficult time finding enough interesting material to share in this forum. Not this time. Our Friday feature player has many stories and few of them are brief. After the season I may include more from Mr. Sutcliffe. For now enjoy this excerpt from Carrie Muskatís fine compilation Banks to Sandberg to Grace. Next week look for an extended excerpt from Ryne Sandberg!
If Zim had hair, it wouldíve been red like mine. Heís like a father to me. Weíre both opinionated. What made us so close was our desire to win. Sometimes that desire got us in trouble. Managers arenít supposed to win games; theyíre not supposed to lose games for you. He won 25 games for us in í89, just the stuff he did.
The biggest story was right after the All-Star break. I pitched against the Dodgers and threw a complete game on Friday. I wasnít named to the team but that was because of Lasorda. I got a call to replace Mike Scott, who got hurt. The manager picks the pitchers but when someone gets hurt, itís the commissioner or league president, and they picked me. I said ìNo, Iím not going.î
He said ìEverybody knows you deserve to be there.î So I go and pitch an inning. It was at the All-Star game when I knew Iíd hurt myself again.
After that I threw four or five games and none were good. Zim calls me into the office, and he starts airing me out. He says ìI can call a better game than you.î
I said ìIf you think you can call a better game, you call it.î
He didnít talk to me for four days. He didnít say a word. All of a sudden weíre in Shea Stadium and Iím in the trainerís room getting a pregame rub. Zim said ìCome into my office when youíre done.î
He says ìI ainít calling pitches.î I said ìWait a minute. Four days ago, youíre the smartest son of a bitch on earth.î He says ìYou want me to call pitches? Iíll call them.î
Joe Girardi is catching. The first pitch of the game, Zim calls a change-up. I never throw a change-up on the first pitch – – not even the first inning. I threw it, and everything went perfect.
Three innings, nine up, nine down. We score a run in the fourth. In the fifth, they get a base hit, walk a guy, bunt single. Bases loaded, Darryl Strawberry, in his prime, at the plate.
Here comes Zim out to the mound and he gets out there, and Girardi pulls his mask up. Zim puts his hand over his mouth which means heís going to cuss. He put his hand over his mouth because he didnít want people to see that on TV.
He says, ìIíve got one thing to say ñ youíre on your own.î And he walks back to the dugout. Joe and I are laughing. I heard that Harry said on the air, ìSteve, I donít know what they are laughing about. This is a pretty tense situation.î Strawberry pops up and Kevin McReynolds hits into a double play.
Joe and I go back to the dugout and I said ìBoys, we donít know if weíre going to win or not, but weíre on our own.î