Watching soaps, eating 99-cent ribs, hanging out in hotel bars, riding Greyhound all night and living the less-than-glamorous life of a minor league baseball player

Editor's note: In 1978, Columbus Monthly staffer Robert Tenenbaum spent a week getting an up-close glimpse of what life on the road is like for the Columbus Clippers. Fun fact: The following year, several of the players featured in this article—Dale Berra, Mike Easler, Doe Boyland—played on the World Series-wining team of the Pittsburgh Pirates, then the Clippers' major league affiliate. 

For starters, you have to figure the Columbus Clippers are reasonably glad to be going on the road. They've just dropped seven straight at home to begin the month of June—the longest losing streak in their brief history and the natives are getting restless.

“Some guy sitting out near our bullpen was on us pretty good the last couple of nights," says Mickey Scott, a former major league pitcher who is having his troubles and is considered to be on his way another notch down the minor league ladder.”

"You mean the home fans are turning on you?" the traveling writer asks no one in particular. 

"Do you blame them?" comes the reply from somewhere in the rear of the COTA bus parked outside Franklin County stadium.

It is 6:45 on a Monday morning, and the Clippers are heading out on a road trip that will take them to Pawtucket, R. I., and Syracuse, N. Y., for eight games in seven nights.

Only a little more than half of the traveling party gets on the bus at the stadium—the rest will get to the airport on their own—but the bus aisles and seats are strewn with suitcases and suit bags. Several copies of the Citizen-Journal are open to the sports page. A couple of the big tape players that are the traveling companions of professional athletes are already turned on. There is the predictable early-morning sleepy silence, punctuated by an occasional reference to a Sunday box score and some of the playful joking you'd expect among a diverse group of baseball players thrown together into a sort of gypsy band. 

At 6:50, the bus rolls out for Port Columbus. The presence of a woman driver causes some immediate, albeit minor, embarrassment. The first "shit" is followed by an apologetic "Sorry, lady," and the language quiets down for the remainder of the ride. 

Up front, manager Johnny Lipon and pitching coach Cot Deal are lamenting the Clippers' injury problem. Outfielder Tom Shopay is still recuperating from a tangle with the stadium wall in May; outfielder Alberto Lois and first baseman Doe Boyland are on the trip, but their injuries are still keeping them out of the lineup; pitcher Rod Scurry is hurt and stays behind; pitcher Monk Jones, who started the season with nine scoreless innings, is still a few days away from recovering from a sore arm. 

At the airport, trainer Barry Weinberg is arranging to get the luggage and equipment on the plane—and he's got the first bad news of the day. There's been a communications breakdown between the front office and the travel agency, and the Allegheny flight the Clippers thought left at 7:50 has been changed—it doesn't take off until 8:38. 

There is a rush for the coffee shop for breakfast. The non-eaters scrounge around the newsstand and discover there are no out-of-town papers available yet, and no copies of The Sporting News. Roger Nelson, whose 15-year career includes service with four big-league clubs, is complaining to no one in particular about the travel arrangements. There is a cluster of players surrounding one of the electronic game machines—shortstop Dale Berra, who doesn't seem to mind being called by his dad's nickname "Yogi," is furiously competing against the “Breakout" machine, with appropriate moral support from a band of his teammates.

Several small boys have recognized some of the Clippers, but they stand shyly at a distance and giggle. For kids, the mystique is still there. It's not the majors, but the players are obviously heroes and therefore unapproachable. 

Weinberg is trying to get the players and coaches rounded up to board the plane early and get seats together, but it's a lost cause. The team mingles with the other passengers waiting for the flight, which will make stops in Buffalo and New York City before getting to Providence a little after noon. The girl watchers—and they are legion—are looking for the more attractive young women in the crowd to sit next to. The card players edge their way to the front of the line, hoping to commandeer the front seats because Allegheny puts fold-out card tables there.

The plane takes off, and immediately the front seats are occupied by Nelson and his domino set, several ongoing backgammon games and a game of "partners hearts" that will occupy Scott, catcher-outfielder Steve Nicosia, Clippers broadcaster John Gordon and the visiting writer for the entire four-hour flight. Other players are spread throughout the plane reading, dozing, chatting.

Clay Carroll, who only a few years ago was the mainstay of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen and is trying to work his way back, finds himself sitting next to a young woman who is sketching everybody in sight on an artist's pad. "Lousy stuff," he says after she gets off the plane in New York. "You couldn't tell who anybody was."

There is a brief flurry of nonsense when Nelson spots Gary Hargis sleeping with his mouth open. He gently places a piece of cotton in Hargis' mouth. It awakens the young infielder, who spits it out, examines it, shrugs and goes back to sleep.

On the approach to LaGuardia, the plane circles for 20 minutes—"Looks like the controllers are having another labor problem,” the pilot announces—and the sightseers are having a field day.

"Hey, I can see Patterson," New Jerseyite Berra yells at former New Jerseyite Nicosia. "Where's the Empire State Building?" someone asks. Berra spots Yankee Stadium ... and the gleam in his eye is unmistakable. There's the same kind of reaction to a glimpse of Shea Stadium on the takeoff for Providence. The last leg of the plane trip is uneventful. In the Providence airport, the players mill around while Weinberg gets the equipment loaded on the chartered bus. A half-hour later, the trainer is handing out room keys at the Hearthstone Inn in Seekonk, Mass.—nominally a suburb of Pawtucket. "Bus leaves at 5:15 for the park," Lipon hollers.

***

Baseball players will tell you there's not much to do on the road. International League players will tell you there's even less to do in Pawtucket, primarily because the team stays in an out-of-the-way motel whose biggest attraction during the day is a K-Mart a couple of hundred yards down the road and a soft ice cream stand next door.

So eating becomes an event. Clippers players get $10 a day in meal money—compared with $27 a day in the major leagues—and the grousing today is because trainer Weinberg has been instructed to hand out only the first three days' worth.

“Lipon says it's because he thinks some of the guys can't handle their money," Nicosia explains, “but everybody knows it's because they're gonna make some moves this week and they don't want to give a guy a week's worth of money and then have to ask for it back when he gets sent down."

The motel dining room is filled with players. Lunch is the big meal of the day; the routine is eat a big meal, take a nap, go to the park, and fill up on pizza or hot dogs served in the clubhouse following the game. That saves money.

The excitement at today's meal is that Carroll and Weinberg have discovered a gold mine in the fine print at the bottom of the menu. Barbecued ribs—a good six inches long and two inches thick—go for 99 cents for two. Both men have ordered double portions, and they have an audience. Players gather in amazement to watch the bargain meal.

Within a half-hour, there is not a player to be seen. Everyone heads for their motel room to sleep or watch soap operas. Weinberg and Gordon have ridden the bus to the Pawtucket stadium to unload equipment, label lockers and prepare for the team's arrival at 5:30.

At 5:15, the bus loads, with a couple of last-minute arrivals bearing cones and milk shakes from the ice cream shop. Lipon glances around to make sure everyone is on board, then tells the driver, “Let's go, bussie." (Everyone gets the diminutive. Bus drivers are "bussie,” cab drivers are “cabbie," the clubhouse boy is "clubbie.") As the bus pulls up, Lipon gets the driver's name so he can leave a free ticket for him at the box office.

McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket (don't pronounce the "w", please) was built in the early 1940s and it shows its age. The team almost went out of business two years ago, and it was rescued by a retired textile factory owner named Ben Mondor with help from a local banker. Last year the Red Sox were International League champs, and this year they're drawing better and their future looks reasonably bright.

In the clubhouse, the Clippers are dressing in front of small wooden cubicles identified by pieces of tape with each player's name and number scrawled on them. The mood is upbeat. The Clippers have played better on the road than at home and they are hopeful of breaking their losing streak. Al Holland, who will pitch tonight, dresses quickly and then sits on a stool preparing himself. Monk Jones repairs to the training room—which doubles as a small kitchen and the manager's and coach's dressing room—and Weinberg works on Jones' sore arm.

Lipon pitches batting practice and Gordon chats with Pawtucket manager Joe Morgan, who was the Columbus Jets' manager in 1970, their last year in town, Gordon says he likes the stadium—“cozy," he calls it. Morgan says the infield is no good—"I don't know what material they used, but it's lousy," he says.

At 7:30, on this warm late spring evening, Clippers third baseman Kim Allen steps in against Red Sox ace Joel Finch. Allen strikes out, but Billy Baldwin walks and Mike Easler slams a Finch fastball over the centerfield fence and the Clippers lead 2-0.

Holland gives the runs back in the bottom of the first when he gives up a triple, a double and a single. The Clippers get a run in the third on two walks and a Berra single; the Sox tie it in the fifth on two doubles; and nothing happens for the next four innings. Carroll replaces Holland in the seventh; Nelson comes in in the ninth. Finch stays in for the Sox and in the 10th, after getting Berra and first baseman Mike Fiore on strikes, he gives up singles to Nicosia and Gary Hargis and, after throwing 182 pitches, is replaced by John La Rose, who strikes out Ron Mitchell to end the threat.

In the bottom of the 11th, Nelson gives up a double to Sam Bowen and then Gary Hancock ends it with a home run over the right field fence. The Clippers have lost eight in a row; the trip back to the motel is quiet.

In the motel bar, Lipon, Deal and Carroll are sipping beer; a few players wander in and leave almost as quickly. By 12:15, the Clippers are in bed, except for a straggler or two who turn in when the bar closes at 12:45.

***

If you're an early riser, you can't survive on the road. On this morning, even John Gordon, who claims never to sleep in, gets up, makes his calls to WBNS and the Dispatch and goes back to sleep. At noon, Odell Jones, who will pitch the second game of a doubleheader that night, wanders into the lobby. Within a half-hour, most of the team is headed for the dining room for lunch.

This is rib day. Nicosia has ordered a double serving, and he and Berra are debating whether he should eat the fourth rib or take it up to the room for a midnight snack after the game. He eats it. 

Based on who sits where in the dining room, the Clippers don't appear to be a terribly cliquish club. The black players room together for the most part and sometimes eat together, but black and white players mix easily and there is an absence of any obvious racial tension.

There are some natural groupings. Berra and Nicosia are close; both are young (21 and 22 respectively), talented and destined to make it in the majors. The gregarious Nelson and the quiet Fiore, despite being personality opposites, also seem close; Fiore played 254 games in the majors between 1968 and 1972, but he's been in Triple-A ball for the past six years and he's not going back up. (In fact, although no one suspects it, a week after this road trip ends he will be given his release by the Clippers.) Nelson has been in the minors since 1975, except for three games with Kansas City in 1976, and he's not very likely to go back, either. Carroll has only been with the team a week, and while he's not close to anyone in particular, he has accepted his new teammates and they've accepted him.

***

The bus to the park leaves early—4:15 because of the doubleheader—but already Monk Jones and Dave Pagan, who will pitch the first game, have arrived in a cab with Weinberg and Gordon.

Centerfielder Ron Mitchell, who is mired in a terrible batting slump, now has sore ribs to contend with; he was hit by a pitch the night before (and as soon as he got to first was hit in the neck when the pitcher tried to pick him off first).

Hargis, one of 1977's original Clippers, is puzzling over the losing streak. "We had a worse team than this last year," he says, "and we never lost this many in a row.”

Cot Deal, whose pitching staff is absolutely decimated by injuries, is hoping for complete games from Pagan and Odell Jones. "The bullpen is just getting worn out," he says. Deal is a rarity—a minor league full-time pitching coach whose credentials are impressive. He served as pitching coach with six major league teams. He also is no stranger to Columbus. He pitched for the Redbirds in 1949 and 1950. In '49 he won 25 games, and in 50 he pitched all 20 innings against Louisville in what is the longest minor league game on record.

An hour before game time, a tall, well-built, tanned, 50-ish man emerges from the Red Sox office and strolls out to the field. It is Ted Williams, considered by many to be the game's all-time greatest hitter, and he is visiting in his capacity as a special instructor for the parent Boston club.

Lipon, who played for a couple of years with Williams in Boston, comes over for a chat. Williams is interested in Dale Berra's progress, but he also wants to know about Doe Boyland, who he has seen hit.' Deal is dispatched to bring Boyland over, and the 25-year-old first baseman, who is in only his third year of pro ball, gets a free batting lesson from a Hall of Famer. Boyland listens intently, saying next to nothing but soaking it all in.

“Williams is amazing," Lipon says later. "He works for the Red Sox but if he sees a kid he thinks has potential, he wants to help him out no matter who he plays for."

At 6 p.m., when game one gets underway, no one is willing to bet the doubleheader will be played. The skies are dark and getting darker, and a chill wind is blowing in from center field. Gordon gets a call in the press box from WBNS disc jockey Bob O'Brien, calling to make sure the line is all set for tonight's broadcast. O'Brien reports that AccuWeather says it will rain in Pawtucket between 6:30 and 9:30. (There is something eerie about a weather service in State College, Pa., telling a radio station in Columbus, Ohio, what the weather will be in Pawtucket, R.I., within the next three hours.)

At 6:40 it starts to rain; at 6:43 it stops, and it doesn't start again. Pagan, who has had his difficulties this year (he's 2-4 with a 4.12 ERA) is pitching well, and the Clippers are hitting. In the second, Berra hits a solo homer. In the third, Baldwin and Easler single, Harry Saferight and Fiore walk, Nicosia powers a grand slam home run to right center, and the Clippers lead, 6-0. They add a run in the seventh on a Nicosia double and a Hargis single. Pagan goes the distance (IL doubleheader games are seven innings), scattering six hits, striking out six and walking only one. The bullpen rests; the losing skein stops at eight.

The nightcap is a disaster. The Sox get three runs in the first off Odell Jones. The Clippers get one back in the second on a Berra double and two wild pitches, but Pawtucket gets three in the third off Jones and four more in the fourth off Mickey Scott and win it, 10-1.

The players are cold and somewhat miserable. To keep warm, the bullpen crew had built a fire in a trash barrel. Asked what they were burning in it, Scott replies, "My left arm." He is despondent; he knows pitchers Rick Baldwin and Will McEna Baldwin and Will McEnaney are on their way to the Clippers, and he knows a pitcher must be cut to make room. “I suck,” he says, and you know he's thinking he will be the one to go.

Who tells players when they are cut? "Lipon," Gordon says, “and it's tough."

Nicosia has had a homer, a double and three singles for the night, but the one that stimulates chatter on the bus is a roller down the third base line that stayed fair by an inch while the third baseman and catcher waited for it to roll foul. “That's got my nomination for the all-time cheap hit," Gordon kids Nicosia.

The doubleheader takes its toll. Tonight there are virtually no players in the bar.

***

On Wednesday, Gordon is up early and at noon is calling Nicosia's room to roust him out to go to lunch at a mainly seafood restaurant a mile or so down the road. The line is busy; Nicosia is on the phone to his wife, Pam, who is five months pregnant and not feeling well. She is to see a doctor later in the day.

Over chicken teriyaki ("I had fish last time”) Nicosia is complaining about the Clippers' current struggle. “The problem is they keep making so damn many changes," he says. “You don't know from one day to the next who's here and who isn't.”

Most of the players are preparing for that night's trip to Syracuse – six, seven or eight hours (no one seems quite sure) by bus immediately after the game. "I'd still rather do that than get up at 6 a.m. to get on a plane that takes three and a half hours," Nelson says.

Several players accost Weinberg, who is in charge of travel arrangements while on the road. "Make sure they give us the biggest bus they've got," someone yells. "And make sure it has a john."

A couple of bottles of wine have been purchased and Nelson, Pagan and Monk Jones are over at the K-Mart stocking up on snacks and playing cards. On the bus to the park, someone tells Weinberg to make sure two cases of beer get on the Greyhound that night. “One," snaps Lipon. “Okay, one,” Weinberg replies.

***

Outside the Pawtucket clubhouse, Lipon—who if he could sing could have a career playing the manager in Damn Yankees—waxes philosophical. “Well, you're getting a good look at a team on a losing streak," he says. “What you're seeing are ball players who are angry and confused." What can you do about a losing spell? "Just ride it out," Lipon says. Just before batting practice, Lipon clears the clubhouse of civilians “just for a short meeting." Emerging through the runway, several players are asked what went on. “Nothing much," is the general reply. The meeting lasted less than five minutes.

The game is a classic pitchers' duel—unusual in the minors. Steve Hargan is pitching for the Clippers, and the former major leaguer allows only four hits through six innings; the Clippers manage only three hits through seven. In the bottom of the seventh, Hargan is victimized by some sloppy defense. An error by Easler at first, another by Kim Allen who is playing second tonight, two singles and an infield hit produce three runs.

In the ninth, Baldwin grounds out, then Easler and Nicosia slam back-to-back home runs and suddenly it's 3-2. But Berra and Saferight, who had looked at called third strikes in the seventh with two men on, do it again. The Clippers lose. In the press box, his broadcast wrapped up, Gordon shakes his head. "You'd almost rather Easler and Nicosia hadn't hit the homers," he says. Berra and Saferight, two of the club's better hitters, have struck out seven times in one game—Berra four times, Saferight three.

The players dress quickly, eat some pizza and look for choice seats on the Greyhound parked outside. Weinberg supervises the loading of equipment. Lipon says to the bus driver, “You take us straight through to Syracuse, right?" The driver replies that because the trip crosses Greyhound divisional borders, he'll have to stop in Albany to change drivers. For the first time on the trip, Lipon's temper flares. “No way," he shouts. The driver patiently explains that the next time, the Clippers should request the same driver all the way through and the stop will be eliminated. "Sorry, bussie, not your fault," Lipon says, calming down quickly.

The driver is explaining how delighted he is to have this charter. "I used to live around Pittsburgh," he says. “It's a real thrill for me to be taking a Pittsburgh farm club on this trip."

Forty-five minutes of winding around on two-lane New England highways is wearing on the players. "Hey bussie, where the hell are we?" someone calls from the back. A road sign points to Springfield, Mass., eliciting a monologue from Weinberg, who got his bachelor's degree and played baseball at Springfield College before going on for his master's in athletic training at Indiana.

By 11:30, the bus is on the Massachusetts Turnpike heading west. The beer is disappearing, the tape players are going at nearly full volume, a card game is taking place on a makeshift table in the rear of the bus. Lipon and Deal nibble on take-out Kentucky Fried Chicken; Gordon shares a lukewarm pizza with the writer. “Is it true you made this trip just to take an all-night bus ride?" Deal asks. That produces some reminiscing by Deal and Lipon about bus rides back when they played ball.

Shortly after midnight, Lipon motions to the music lovers to put the headsets on their tape players; the bus quiets down, but only a few players are asleep. The driver has promised he'll make Albany by 1:45. As he pulls off the freeway ramp into downtown Albany, a big lighted time-and-temperature sign reads 1:45.

Most of the team empties into the Albany Greyhound station for a quick snack and a comfort stop. It is a typical bus station—a new building done in brown brick and cream- colored tile and populated primarily by sleeping winos. Saferight takes a look around and says, “Look at these guys ... and I'm bitching because I struck out three times tonight.” But he's not happy with himself. “I'm O-for-Pawtucket," he moans.

Back on the bus, Weinberg is involved in a dispute with the new driver. He wants the driver to take the team to the Hotel Syracuse, then take him and Gordon to the ballpark to unload the equipment so the clubhouse boy can work on it all morning—mainly washing 23 dirty uniforms which have been stuffed into big canvas bags. The bus driver says once he gets to the hotel he's finished. Lipon chases Weinberg away; the driver gets out to make a phone call. When he returns, Lipon takes over the discussion. This time, the driver's tune has changed. He'll be happy to drop the team off first; then he'll take the bus to the park. And even though his garage is right at the stadium, he'll even drive Gordon and Weinberg back down town to the hotel.

"What the hell did you say to him?" Lipon asks Weinberg. "Nothing," Weinberg says incredulously. Then he adds, almost under his breath, "Maybe the bastard is anti-Semitic."

It is a two-hour hop to Syracuse, and this time nearly everyone sleeps. At 4:15, the bus stops at the Hotel Syracuse. Weinberg distributes room keys and everyone disappears in a matter of seconds. The trainer and the broadcaster hop back on the bus. They are met at the park by a security guard, unload the equipment into the clubhouse, get back on the bus, go back to the hotel and also vanish. The sun is creeping up in the eastern sky. 

***

At noon, not a player is yet in sight. But it's easy to see why the team prefers Syracuse to Pawtucket. The hotel is downtown, and Syracuse is bustling. There are a couple of big department stores, lots of downtown restaurants, something to do besides watching the soaps.

In the hotel coffee shop, Jimmy Crum, Marty Reid and WCMH-TV director Bob Souder are finishing lunch. They are in town to do tonight's game, and they've been chatting with Syracuse Chiefs general manager Tex Simone and Franklin County Commissioner Harold Cooper, who also serves as president of the International League and came over for the game from Rochester, where he attended a baseball meeting. They are two old baseball heads: Simone started as trainer in Syracuse and rose to general manager; Cooper was once a clubhouse boy in Columbus and became Jets' GM and now IL "czar."

Clay Carroll is the first player in sight; he is sipping coffee and reading the paper. Lipon has asked him to be starting pitcher tonight. He's been a reliever throughout his career, with only a rare start, but the pitching corps is so depleted he's agreed to do it.

Because the hotel is downtown, and cabs are readily available, the players taxi out to McArthur Stadium. The club saves the cost of a charter. The Syracuse park is built much like old Jet Stadium, and the city has spent $1 million already and has budgeted another $2 million to fix it up. The Chiefs are the Toronto Blue Jays' first Triple-A affiliate, and since Toronto is not that far away there is a lot of Blue Jay paraphernalia being sold at the souvenir stands.

In the clubhouse—a single big, square room with no private lockers for the manager and a small training room marked "Body Shop" off to one side—the Clippers are dressing. Carroll's locker is over in a corner, and teammates wander up kidding him about his debut in the starting rotation.

"The last time I started was with St. Louis against Pittsburgh," he says. "I beat 'em." He looks a little like a kid with a new toy; he is enjoying the ribbing, and he knows that by doing what Lipon asks, and pitching well, he's that much closer to another shot at the big leagues.

Crum and Reid are down on the field gathering "color" and recruiting Hargan to serve as their expert commentator for the night. Souder is going over camera placement and details of timing with them. Lipon is chatting with Harold Cooper.

Just before game time, as the Channel 4 telecast starts, Nicosia emerges from the dugout and holds up a sign toward the camera. "Get well, Pam," it says, a message to his wife. A little later in the game, Al Holland has a sign of his own. "Happy Anniversary, Maycat," it says. He explains later that it is his and his wife's third anniversary. Weinberg is dressed tonight in crisp white pants and a snappy red shirt—“My TV outfit," he volunteers. "Like it?"

Maybe it's the presence of the TV cameras from home, but the Clippers are playing well. They get four runs in the third on a walk to Lois (playing his first game in a while), a Hargis sacrifice, a walk to Allen, a Baldwin single, a walk to Easler and singles by Nicosia and Berra. They add one in the fifth on another Easler home run—a towering shot to right—and two more in the sixth on a double by Mitchell, who came in when Lois re-injured his leg sliding into home, a Hargis single and a Baldwin double, his second of the night.

Carroll has said he will try to go five innings, and he does just that, throwing only 43 pitches, giving up four hits and two runs, striking out two and walking no one. Nelson comes in, scatters three hits over the last four innings and picks up a save. In the seventh, the Chiefs threaten; Scott warms up in the bullpen. He doesn't know it, but it is the last time he'll throw in a Clipper uniform for a while. The next morning, he is cut to make room for McEnaney. Nelson pitches his way out of a ninth inning jam and the Clippers win, 7-2. Wrapping up his broadcast, Gordon says"two crafty veterans” earned the win. Later, in the clubhouse, Lipon tells him, “You should have said, ‘The Geritol kids did it.’ " 

Nicosia, emerging from the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist, is complaining to Lipon that switching around from catcher to the outfield and back behind the plate is causing him problems. Lipon patiently explains that it's because of the injuries to the outfield corps; he asks Nicosia to bear with it for a while.

Nicosia, it turns out, is really worried about something else. His wife's doctor has told her she has pneumonia. "He gave her some medication, but it's really mild; he can't give her much more because she's pregnant. He told her to go home and go to bed. I'm really worried about her."

Most of the players dress quickly to catch the available taxis back downtown or to a couple of favorite Syracuse haunts. Lipon and Deal are left in the clubhouse; Gordon joins them and they catch a ride in the back of the clubhouse boy's customized van back to the hotel.

"You heard from McEnaney or Baldwin?” Gordon asks. “Baldwin is driving in with his family," Lipon replies. "McEnaney is supposed to check in tonight. I'm going to call him as soon as we get back to the hotel.” Deal adds, "He's been around long enough to know how to avoid that all-night bus trip." 

A couple of players are grabbing a snack in a restaurant across from the hotel. Nelson reports he has found McEnaney—"He's over at the hotel”—and that the former Cincinnati World Series hero wanted to know if he'd get a chance to pitch much in Columbus (he had worked eight innings all year for Pittsburgh).

"What did you tell him?" Nelson, is asked. “After I stopped laughing; I told him he'd better be ready to pitch every day, the way this squad is going." 

***

The writer is bailing out Friday morning. On the plane trip back, the TV-4 crew and Harold Cooper swap baseball stories. The Clippers stay on. They win again Friday, then drop Saturday and Sunday games. On Monday morning, after a three-hour plane ride, they are home.

***

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