#64 - (Chris Chambliss)

This week there is no legal section of the blog.
Now for the Opening Day memory:
The two things I most remember about first baseman Chris Chambliss are that he is the first player I physically met and talked to in a major league clubhouse about Opening Day and his walk off pennant winning home run against the Kansas City Royals in the 1976 playoffs that put the New York Yankees back in the World Series for the first time since 1964 when I was five. It was quite the big deal to me as you might imagine. Chris began his major league career with the Cleveland Indians in 1971 and was included in what with hindsight was a lopsided multi-player trade to the Yankees in 1974 which I remember fondly. Chris starred with the Yankees through 1979 where he was a World Champion twice in 1977 and 1978, an All Star in 1976 and a Gold Glove recipient in 1978. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in 1980 and he played for them in the National League until 1986. He returned to the Yankees for one at bat in 1988 in which he struck out. He finished his career with a respectable .279 average, 185 home runs and 972 RBIs. After retiring, he became a hitting coach for the Yankees and others. Chris and Willie Randolph are the only two men to have worn Yankee uniforms for all of the 6 Yankees World Championships immediately before their last in 2009 (1977 and 1978 as players and 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 as coaches). Here are his Opening Day memories.

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#63 - (Bud Harrelson)

This week there is no legal section of the blog.
Now for the Opening Day memory:
Bud Harrelson was one of my favorite New York Mets players. He was a slick and steady fielding shortstop for the Mets from 1965-1977 and an important cog on the 1969 Miracle Mets World Championship team. He was a switch but light hitter with only 7 career home runs and a very distinctive batting stance from both sides of the plate where he choked what seemed like almost halfway up the bat. It was one of my favorite batting stances to imitate growing up. He also was Tom Seaver’s roommate. Bud won a gold glove in 1971 and was an All Star in 1970 and 1971. I can remember like it was yesterday the fight at second base Bud had with Pete Rose in the NLCS in 1973 after Pete slid into him while he was covering second. After the Met fans at Shea pelted Pete with debris and Sparky Anderson pulled the Cincinnati Reds off the field, Seaver, Rusty Staub, Cleon Jones and Willie Mays had to go to the bleachers to beg the fans to stop so the game could continue. They did, the game resumed and the Mets beat the mighty Reds (the beginning of the Big Red Machine era) in that game and upset them in the NLCS before losing to the Oakland A’s in the World Series. Bud (unfortunately for me) was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies before the 1978 season (where he played with Pete Rose and former teammate Tug McGraw) and he concluded his playing career with the Texas Rangers in 1980. Thereafter, Bud coached for the Mets including in their 1986 World Championship season and managed the Mets for parts of 1990 and 1991. He currently is a co-owner of the Long Island Ducks minor league franchise. I recently read and enjoyed his book entitled “Turning Two.” Here is his Opening Day memory–a short one.

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#62 - (Brett Butler)

This week there is no legal section of the blog.
Now for the Opening Day memory:
Brett Butler was arguably one of the game’s best lead off hitters in the 1980′s and 1990′s. He was well travelled in his 17 year career, playing for the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and the Dodgers again where he concluded his career. He made the All Star team in his first year with the Dodgers in 1991. He finished his career with a very respectable .290 average, 2375 hits and 558 stolen bases. He was an outspoken critic of the replacement players who the owners brought in during the 1994-1995 labor stoppage. Since retirement, he has managed and coached. Here is his Opening Day memory.

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