How Scott Boras Became a Baseball Super-Agent

Scott Boras’s emergence as a super-agent over the past 25 years has deeply influenced the course of pro baseball. As an introduction to the man before he became (relatively) famous/infamous, here are excerpts from a couple of long profiles of Boras in the early ’90s. Since the off-season is the time when Boras and his peers are most influential, this is a good time to look at his early career. From the San Diego Union-Tribune of April 1, 1992:

Raised on a dairy farm in Elk Grove, approximately 30 miles from both Sacramento and Stockton, Boras said his dad thought of baseball as a privilege. Only after all the many chores were done was Scott allowed to play or watch a baseball game.

And, although looking more like a stockbroker, Boras still works farmer’s hours. Friends and foes alike say Boras is a tireless workaholic.

“Scott’s a brutal golfer,” said Maddux. “That’s because he works too much, puts in too many hours. We were on the golf course last October and he said, ‘I can’t believe I’ve actually taken two straight days off.’ He sounded guilty about it. I said, ‘C’mon, Scott, relax, willya?’ He couldn’t do it.”

Boras had to burn the candle at both ends at the University of Pacific. Signed by the Cardinals organization, he tried to forge a baseball career while earning a Ph.D. in pharmacology.

“I took my finals at spring training,” said Boras. “I had to have somebody monitor for me. My monitor was my manager, Jack Krol. I’m there taking my finals and he’s right there in the room with me, drinking a six-pack. It was pretty tough to concentrate with him burping.”

Ultimately, finals worked out better than spring training. A promising outfielder until his knees required two surgeries, Boras was moved to the infield, and it was a troublesome transition. He’d pay local coaches to hit him extra ground balls after practice, but in Boras’ case, practice did not make perfect.

“I averaged 32 errors a year,” Boras said. “Fortunately, I always hit .290, so they kept me around.”

For a while anyway. Boras was traded to the Cubs in 1977 and sent back for his fourth and final season in the minors.

“I was the player to be named later for Don Kessinger,” said Boras. “Apparently, the Cubs liked my bat and didn’t value defense.”

A third knee operation made a doctor out of Boras. Out of baseball, he applied his Ph.D. as a research chemist, but that lasted only four months. Ambition took hold again and he decided to seek a law degree.

“Few attorneys have medical degrees, so I thought I could be a successful malpractice attorney,” said Boras. “That, or the president of a drug company.”

Boras became the former, earning his law degree from UOP in 1981 and setting up a practice in Chicago. Two friends and former teammates who’d made the majors, Caudill and infielder Mike Fischlin, drew Boras back toward the game by asking him for legal guidance.

“I really didn’t have an agent I could trust,” said Caudill, a nine-year veteran, now retired and living in Seattle. “My first agent never had time for me, because he was too busy with the veterans. Scott and I had beach bungalows next to each other in St. Petersburg, and I knew even back then that he was honest and fair. There’s just something about him, a truth.”

There’s something about Caudill, too. Trust doesn’t come easy to him. The product of a broken marriage, Caudill said he came home one day and his signing bonus had mysteriously disappeared within his family.

“After that, it became imperative that I be able to trust someone,” Caudill said. “From Day One, I knew I could trust Scott.”

With his life. And with his wife. Caudill said Boras watched over his career, but also his personal life, providing support for Diana Caudill. She said that to this day Boras is probably her best friend.

“I’m not sure Bill and I would still be together if not for Scott,” she said. “When Bill was in baseball, that was his life. There’s not a place for women in this game. We weren’t even allowed to go into the bars the players went to. It was just real frustrating. I had no understanding of it. Scott was always there for me, though, willing to hear my side of it.”

Diana Caudill also recalled how frustrating it was to heed Boras’ advice to remain frugal. You may be making $200,000 a year, Boras told them at the time, but live like you’re only making $35,000.

“He wanted us taken care of,” said Caudill, “not just while I was playing, but for the rest of our lives.”

Now, while most of those who played ball with Caudill have had to find jobs to support their families, the Caudills are living off annuities that will pay off for the next 34 years.

Victory in a tragic Chicago malpractice case made it possible for Boras to become a full-fledged player rep. Representing the parents of a baby who developed cerebral palsy, Boras said he and another attorney proved misuse of medication by a doctor and nurse in the child’s delivery, along with fraudulent record-keeping. Matching the fetal heart rate with the mother’s heart rate and the amount of drugs injected during labor, Boras said, they deduced that the baby was denied sufficient oxygen in birth.

The couple was awarded damages of $3.8 million, one-third of which was split between the two attorneys.

“If I was just interested in money,” said Boras. “I could’ve made more as a malpractice attorney.”

A list of Boras’s clients as of early 1992 included:

Jim Abbott P Angels; Patrick Lennon OF Mariners; Sandy Alomar Jr. C Indians; Mark Lewis SS Indians; Wilson Alvarez P White Sox; Derek Lilliquist P Indians; Jack Armstrong P Indians; Ben McDonald P Orioles; Steve Avery P Braves; Joe Oliver C Reds

Carlos Baerga 2B-3B Indians; Jeff Parrett P Athletics; Tim Belcher P Reds; Bip Roberts OF Reds; Jay Bell SS Pirates; Ivan Rodriguez C Rangers; Andy Benes P Padres; Kenny Rogers P Rangers; Jeff Blauser 2B Braves; Benito Santiago C Padres

Ryan Bowen P Astros; Kurt Stillwell 2B Padres; Kevin Brown P Rangers; Todd Van Poppel P Athletics; Cris Carpenter P Cardinals; Rick Wilkins C Cubs; Alex Fernandez P White Sox; Bernie Williams OF Yankees; Scott Hemond C Athletics

And the Sacramento Bee of April 1, 1993 wrote this about Boras:

It fell to [Donald H.] Wollett, sagely professor at the McGeorge School of Law [at the University of Pacific], to give Boras’ life some definition.

“If you’re a really good lawyer, you’ll know it for one reason,” Wollett told his bright-eyed ex-pupil. “You’ll know it because everyone will dislike you.”

We can only assume, more than 10 years later, that Scott Boras is very, very good.

At age 40, the calculating kid from Elk Grove finds himself as arguably the most powerful agent in baseball. In the 1990s, that makes him an indelible part of the game’s fabric, in the way a coffee stain becomes an indelible part of your favorite shirt or black widows become co-tenants in your dream house.

The game puts up with him because it has to, because Boras simply won’t go away, and because Boras happens to hold the remote that controls everybody from Greg Maddux to Jim Abbott to Sandy Alomar Jr.

But the game doesn’t have to like it. Indeed, if not for the respect and fear they must concede him, baseball’s shakers would surely loathe Boras right off the planet.

“Within baseball circles, I don’t think he’s a guy that anyone wants to find representing their player,” says Chicago Cubs general manager Larry Himes.

“This industry is run by talent,” Boras says. “You know what talent means, and you know that the organizations cannot afford to walk away from talent.

“It has to be exceptional talent. It can’t be just any talent. The key is knowing what is what.”

Boras knows.

He is believed to be the only agent out there with both a minor-league background and a law degree, and the combination has proven electric. Able to scout and identify premiere talent while it’s still green, able to negotiate with a lawyer’s skill on that talent’s behalf, he has hand-picked an all-star roster of clients and showered the group with precedent-setting contracts.

* Andy Benes, baseball’s top draft pick in 1988, a $235,000 signing bonus with San Diego.

* Ben McDonald, a $975,000 package upon his selection by Baltimore in 1989.

* Todd Van Poppel, signed by the A’s out of high school for $1.1 million in 1990.

* Brien Taylor, 18 years old, signed by the New York Yankees out of high school for $1.55 million in 1991.

* Greg Maddux, jumping from the Cubs to the Atlanta Braves this season for $28 million over five years – and spurning a $35 million, five-year offer from the Yankees to do it.

The owners warned him to stay away from their high amateur draft picks; he ignored them. They tried to restructure the amateur draft to undermine him last year; he fought it, and won.

More than once they’ve threatened to freeze him out, influence all players of any value to avoid him. Former Seattle Mariners owner George Argyros once looked him in the eye across a bargaining table and called him a “young punk.”

Boras just kept talking.

“Owners control their own destiny,” Boras says. “I have no control over it. My only function in this system is market definition. And the owners have exclusive control as to accepting that definition.”

Leverage is leverage, and from the start Boras always had an amazing aptitude for building kingdoms atop the tiniest toeholds. Even before he studied law, he shrewdly negotiated his own minor-league contracts after being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals out of the University of the Pacific.

“The way I negotiated my contract had nothing to do with what I had to offer them,” Boras says. “I negotiated it on the basis of what I was not earning practicing with my pharmacy degree. I said, “Hey, I’m giving up a lot of money to play professional baseball,’ which I was.

“So consequently they paid me very, very well, by (minor-league) standards. I mean, one year I made like $19,000.”

His real antagonism toward the game didn’t begin until 1983. By then he’d long since terminated his five-year stint in the minors, made a stop at McGeorge, and gone to work using his law and pharmacy degrees as a malpractice lawyer in Chicago.

Fischlin and Cubs pitcher Bill Caudill were his only baseball clients, mostly because both were former teammates – Fischlin at Elk Grove High School, Caudill in the Cubs’ farm system.

Then one day Boras approached Tim Belcher, the first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins, and Kurt Stillwell, the first-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds. He sold himself as the only lawyer/ex-player they would ever find in the agent business.

Both players bit and a war was born.

“The Twins called and said, “You don’t come in and represent drafted players. If you’re any kind of a real agent, you’ll represent players who are already in the big leagues,’ ” Boras says.

“And I just kind of went, “Oh, yeah?’ ”

Boras advised Belcher to turn down the Twins’ offer of a $110,000 signing bonus, and wait for them to sweeten the pot. The Twins were flabbergasted, and indignantly suggested to Belcher that Boras was giving him self-destructive career advice.

Belcher was coming off his junior season at tiny Mount Vernon Nazarene College in Sparta, Ohio. The Twins maintained that if he spurned their offer and re-entered the June draft after his senior season, clubs would pay him far less because his college eligibility would be up and he’d have no other options.

Boras knew better.

Since Mount Vernon was an NAIA school, it was not subject to the NCAA rule that disallowed players from re-entering the draft until they’d used up their college eligibility. Belcher wouldn’t have to wait until the following June; he could turn down the Twins and still be eligible for the winter draft, where the deep-pocket New York Yankees were waiting with the No. 1 pick.

The Yankees came through with a contract some $50,000 richer than what Minnesota offered. The Twins were left with a premiere no-show and, before long, vacancies in their scouting department.

The underlying market was suddenly exposed in all its fertility, and it was Boras who had the tools to harvest it. After getting Caudill a landmark contract with the Toronton Blue Jays in 1985, he quit malpractice law and began logging thousands of air miles on scouting expeditions, all in an effort to tap the can’t-miss draftees before they were drafted.

“I had general managers telling me, “Hey, work with us. Don’t represent these drafted kids. We’ll let you know who our prospects are in the minor leagues,’ ” Boras says.

“Well, I don’t need you to let me know who the prospects are. I can go out and watch them for myself.”

Two years ago, the Cubs liked what they saw from Maddux and offered him a four-year contract worth $7 million. Boras spent three days in a hotel room with Maddux, persuading him not to lock into a long-term deal because his marketability hadn’t peaked.

“It takes a great amount of guts on the part of the player to do that,” Boras says. “But that’s the magnitude of the decisions in our business. If Greg had signed that contract, he’d be guaranteed $7 million over four years. Right now he’s got one for $28 million. So that’s a $21 million decision.”


Published in: on December 4, 2010 at 10:33 pm  Comments (1)  
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Greg Maddux vs. Mike Maddux

On a Monday night in Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium on September 29, 1986, Greg Maddux, pitching for the Cubs, beat his brother Mike, 8-3, by pitching seven one-run innings to his brother’s three runs allowed over three innings. Mike, who was 25, said of his 20-year-old brother: “He threw a good game and deserved to win. But it’ll happen again. Next time I’ll get him.”

The last time brothers had pitched against each other was September 13, 1982, when Joe Niekro of Houston defeated brother Phil of Atlanta 5-4. But the Maddux matchup was apparently the first between brothers who both were rookies.

Mike explained: “Actually, we’ve never pitched against each other anywhere. I’m older than he is. So when he played in high school, I was already out. And in Little League, I was always in front of him. So this is the first. No better place than here, though.”

Greg (2-4) went 7 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits. He walked none and struck out seven. His earned run average dropped from 6.17 to 5.52. He left in the eighth with two outs and a runner on first as manager Gene Michael brought in Scott Sanderson to quell a Philadelphia uprising.

Mike (3-7) gave up six hits in 3-plus innings. He walked one, struck out one and hit a batter. His ERA went up to 5.42.

Mike on hitting against his brother: “The last time I faced him, I think, was in the back yard playing Wiffle Ball. I think we both hit about .700 in the back yard.” Greg: “I look forward to any game, but this one was a little more fun. I had a lot more pride in this one–winter’s bragging rights. I had played Whiffle Ball in the backyard with him before, but that’s it.”

Mike: “Because he’s my brother I wanted to pitch well. When I came out of the game, I wasn’t pleased. I wanted to have another crack at him. But I’ll tell my brother he pitched a good game when we go out tonight. There was no nervousness at all. To us, it was just Cubs versus the Phillies. It will happen again and next time I’ll get him.

“My parents called up before the game. Being from Vegas, they asked if I was a good bet. I told them I didn’t know but I’d rather be lucky than good when it comes to betting. But tonight he was a better bet than I was, the way things turned out.

“This is not the first thing he’s beaten me. I think our record is about .500 in Whiffle Ball in the backyard.”

Greg: “Mike has his theories of pitching and I have mine. I’ll listen to what he has to say but we’re kind of different pitchers, you know. I think he throws more curveballs and I throw more change-ups. Our fastballs are about the same. He probably throws his harder than I throw mine.”

“I just wanted to have fun. I was just hoping he wouldn’t get a hit off me.”

“I took it like any other game. I wanted to win the game but I would have liked to have seen Mike do better. I mean, who wouldn’t? But I’m just glad I won the game. That’s what’s important. I’m not going to say anything to Mike, I mean, it was just a game he lost. No big deal.

“Tonight we’re going to go out and have a bite to eat somewhere. I bought in Chicago so he’ll buy in Philly.”

Mike, with the closing words: “Next time I’ll get him.”

[For his career, Greg went 1 for 6 against Mike in seven plate appearances, with one single. In the 1986 game, he bunted for a sacrifice against Mike. Mike went 1 for 3 against Greg, his one hit, a single, coming on July 29, 1988. See a picture of Mike below:


Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 3:36 am  Comments (1)  
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Greg Maddux’s First Big League Win

Greg Maddux picked up his first major league win on September 7, 1986: an 11-3 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. Here is the game summary, source unknown:

At 20, Greg Maddux (1-1) became the youngest Cub pitcher to win a game and the youngest to throw a complete game since Ken Holtzman in 1966, when he was a 20-year-old. Maddux scattered 11 hits in his first big-league start. He walked three and struck out four. Maddux also collected his first big-league hit in the fifth inning and added a line single in the seventh.

Maddux, the youngest Cub since Mel Hall came up in 1981, also became the youngest pitcher to win a game in the National League this season. “I’m kind of awe-struck now,” Maddux said. “Some of the guys I saw in the clubhouse when I first walked in I watched when I was 10 years old. I remember watching Gary Matthews play at Dodger Stadium when I was about 6 years old. That’s kind of nice.”

“I don’t think it’s fair to expect Greg to lead the league in strikeouts,” said Jim Colborn, his pitching coach at Triple A Iowa. “He’s not a strikeout pitcher and he probably won’t ever win 25 or 30 games in the big leagues. But he should have a good big-league career.

“He’s a good competitor and he’s fun to watch, especially knowing that he’s just finished his paper route a couple of years ago. He’s one of my favorite pitchers.”

You can read more about Maddux in ’86 here, here, and here.

Published in: on April 29, 2009 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jamie Moyer and Greg Maddux in Iowa in 1986

I don’t know how many people noticed last September 27 when Jamie Moyer and Greg Maddux, by posting wins over the Senators and Giants, respectively, reached a combined 601 wins for their two careers.

At the close of 2008, Moyer had 246 wins, and Maddux had 355.  Cubs fans probably remember that the two pitchers were teammates starting out their careers with the Cubs in 1986. Unfortunately for the Cubs, all but about 150 of those wins were for other teams.

Still, in June of ’86, they were both with the Iowa Cubs, the AAA farm team in Des Moines. I don’t think two prospects in the same organization at the same time have ever come close to the 600 plus wins Maddux and Moyer have achieved.

A June 13, 1986 game story in the Omaha World-Herald began like this: “The Iowa Cubs’ M&M boys-Jamie Moyer and Greg Maddux-are two young pitchers with sweet futures.”

The writer, Steve Pivovar, couldn’t have known how right he was. Moyer, 23, gave up four hits to the Kansas City farm team on a Wednesday, then Maddux, 20, had a no-hitter through 6 2/3rd innings in Omaha on Thursday to get his first AAA win. Omaha Manager John Boles said: “Maddux is the best pitcher I’ve seen all year. He had more life on his fastball tonight than anybody we’ve seen all year. If he stays healthy, I’d like to have his future. He threw some fastballs that just exploded. And his movement. It’s one thing to throw in the upper 80s and the 90s. But he had good life on the ball . . . he was nasty out there.”

Omaha pitching coach Frank Funk said: “He looked like he’s been pitching for 20 years.”

Iowa Manager Larry Cox added: “They’re two of our top prospects. They both have pretty good arms and, for as young as they are, they both know how to pitch.

“We have a couple more good kids down in Double-A-Drew Hall and Jackie Davidson. But these two are in a class by themselves. These guys and the guys in Double-A probably have the same stuff. But these two know how to pitch.

“Both he and Jamie are battlers. They great competitors, and they have great intensity when they’re out there on the mound.”

You can read more about Greg Maddux in ’86 here, here, and here. Also, more than 20 years later, following the death of Harry Kalas, Moyer offered his own thoughts on the Phillies announcer.

Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 6:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Scenes from Before the 1988 Old Timers Game

Leo Durocher, nearly 83 and preparing to manage the N.L. All-Stars at the Old Timers Game of 1988 [before the All-Star Game], was listening to the Cincinnati Reds’ team physician, in a pregame clubhouse meeting, telling the players not to exert themselves in the 90-degree heat.

Durocher, who was drinking milk, not alcohol, as he talked, said: “He was talking like a professor. He told us, ‘Drink Gatorade! Get plenty of water! Keep the fluids in your body!’
“Finally, I hit the table and I said, ‘Damn it, Doc! Take a hike! I never held a meeting this long for a World Series game.’
“And everyone broke up, laughing. And that ended the meeting.”

Durocher added: “I never held long team meetings. After we beat Cleveland three straight (in the 1954 World Series), we were dressing for the fourth game, and Alvin Dark said, ‘Are you ready, Leo?’ I said, ‘Whenever you are.’ And Dark said, ‘This is a lousy town. Let’s beat ’em and go home.’ We didn’t need no meeting.”

Billy Williams told a reporter: “You should have been on the team bus. Leo was sitting next to Jocko Conlan. They were chirping away. All in a good frame of mind.”

Duroocher showed off a black and blue bruise near his left elbow and said: “When Jocko talks to you, he’s in the habit of grabbing you. Since my quadruple bypass, my doctor told me if I hit anything I’ll get a bruise. I bruise easily. And Jocko has trouble hearing. I kept telling him, ‘Jocko, I’m sitting alongside of you. It’s me. I can hear.’ ” [Read more about Conlan here.]

Life had quieted down for Durocher. He explained: “No more cards. I don’t go to the club. I don’t monkey around.

“I hang around. Play golf. Take it easy. What the hell, I’m in no hurry to go anyplace. I’m older than dirt: 83 coming up, July 27.

“I talk to him (Dr. Michael DeBakey, a heart surgeon) all the time. He told me, ‘Stop walking four, five miles a day. Two miles is as good as five.’ He said, ‘Play nine holes of golf, and if you feel good, take the cart for the last nine. But whatever you do, don’t walk 18. Don’t walk up and down those hills.’ ”

He told of watching the ’88 Cubs “on television. Once. With that Maddux pitching. Good-looking pitcher. They’ve got a good-looking young club. Some of those guys can play.”

Pete Rose and Durocher talked in the Reds clubhouse.

Charlie Hustle said: “He’s the greatest. He gave an hour’s talk last year in Santa Maria (Calif.). I had goose bumps. And I had to follow him. They gave him a Cadillac.”

Durocher confirmed what Rose said and added that the Cadillac had a sticker price of $37,750.

“Everything on it, from bumper to bumper. And in my color. Medium blue. And that wasn’t the half of it. They even paid the taxes. It only cost me $42 for the license plates. And the fellows said, ‘If you come back in 1939, we’ll give you another one.”

Ernie Banks said of meeting Durocher, his manager for the game: “Sure, I saw him. He said, ‘Nice to see you, how things going?’

“He’s my friend.”

The preceding was derived from a Jerome Holtzman article in the Chicago Tribune. A month earlier, the Dallas Morning News covered the June 25, 1988 Equitable Old Timers Game at Arlington Stadium. A few excerpts:

The players assembled for the Equitable Old Timers’ Game at Arlington Stadium on Saturday came for different reasons; some for money, some for camaraderie. They told stories. A couple complained about old timers throwing curves. Most were a little nostalgic, such as it is.

They came in all ages, sizes and degrees of talent. Bob Feller, 69, dressed next to Mark Fidrych, 33. Johnny Logan and Eddie Mathews, teammates on the 1957 world champion Milwaukee Braves, huddled in one corner, a bare-chested Mathews pointing to a bruise on his right bicep. Ten feet away, Walker was giving batting tips to Rangers manager Bobby Valentine.

Two elements go into the making of a successful Old Timers’ game , former Ranger Al Oliver said: No one gets hurt, and no one gets embarrassed.

Most say they have nothing to prove, but some know of players who did. Johnny Mize remembered seeing Ty Cobb in an Old Timers ‘ game once. The word on Cobb was that he would do anything to get on base.

Cobb told the catcher to back up from the plate because he hadn’t swung the bat in a while, and he didn’t want to hurt him with a wild swing. The catcher scooted back; Cobb put down a bunt.

“He was probably 70 years old and still trying to get on base,’ Mize said.

Mize has no such inclination. Like former Yankee teammate Joe DiMaggio, he goes to the games only for the reunions and to take a bow.

“I’ve had two knees replaced, and I had to see how it would feel if I hit the ball off the end of the bat,’ he said. “DiMaggio’s 74, and he’s a year younger than me. We’ve been in this game since 19-and-30. Fifty-eight years. There weren’t any agents then. No banks, either.’

Johnny Vander Meer, who 50 years ago gained fame by throwing no-hitters in consecutive starts, said the competitiveness lingers in some.

“A lot of pitchers still get that feeling inside,’ he said. “We wouldn’t give our wives a hit. They want to hit them out; we want to get them out. Everybody wants to look good, but when you get to be my age it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference.’

Bob Feller says his wife, Ann, wants him to bear down and strike out everyone. But he says he understands the show. He long has been part of it, going back to his barnstorming days in the late 1940s with Satchel Paige. Feller organized everything. Made sure everyone got paid. Worked as the traveling secretary.

He was a charter member of the Equitable Old Timers ‘ tour, which began in 1986. He plays in about a dozen games a year, along with such regulars on the circuit as Mize, Warren Spahn, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Joe Torre and Enos Slaughter.

Feller also performs exhibitions in minor league parks, sometimes as many as 60 a year. He will be in Tacoma, Wash., on Monday, Spokane, Wash., on Tuesday, Calgary, Alberta, on Wednesday and at another Equitable game next weekend in Toronto.

He remembers Willie Stargell facing him in a game in Washington right after Stargell retired in 1982. Two men were on, two out. Stargell took a strike and then hit a ball that “went 10 feet foul, but about 480 feet.’

“I come back with the overhand curve,’ Feller said. “He misses, gives me a dirty look, and we all go home.’

Fidrych looks the same as he did when he won 19 games as a rookie for the Detroit Tigers in 1976. His weight is holding at 175. The curls still spill out of his cap, pulled tight against his forehead. He still talks to the ball and pats the mound, his trademarks in five years before arm problems ended one of baseball ‘s most popular careers.

He owns a farm and a 10-wheel truck and hauls gravel in Massachussetts. But he makes two or three Old Timers ‘ games a year, just for fun.

“I like it,’ he said. “It’s good just to get out, to put the uniform on again, to see the ballparks. Just the feeling you have to put on the “uni.’ I have my life at home now, and it’s nice . . . ‘

His voice trailed off, and he looked toward a corner of the clubhouse.

“But it would nice to still be playing,’ he said, softly.