Thursday, May 10, 2012

the last book I ever read (Seasons in Hell, excerpt two)

from Mike Shropshire's Seasons in Hell:

The Rangers could claim one asset. By virtue of their record from the season before, worst in the league, Texas received the top selection in the upcoming amateur draft. All of the scouts unanimously anointed a high school pitcher in Houston, a left-hander, as the best prospect in the country and perhaps the best of the previous ten years or the best since Bob Feller or even, according to some, as--aw, what the hell?--the best of all time.

Whitey Herzog, pragmatist and skeptic, had traveled to Austin to watch David Clyde pitch in the high school state championships and was now firing a twenty-one gun salute too. According to the manager, Clyde clearly "had the gun" and the only missing ingredient was "developing a change-up and getting the fine tuning that separates the big leaguers from, well, the guys we've got now.

"Start him off in an all-rookie league, where he'll get used to being away from home with some guys his own age, then pull him all the way to AA or even AAA next year . . . and I think the kid will be primed for the majors by the time he's twenty. And after that," Whitey said (he'd just watch Secretariat win the Belmont Stakes by thirty-one lengths on TV), "we can bottle his sperm." Herzog was fostering visions of a time when managing the Rangers might not be the grotesque experience he was forced to endure.

That was Whitey's timetable. Bob "You Can Fool Some of the People Some of the Time and That's Good Enough for Me" Short was hatching a different and more accelerated schedule for David Clyde's professional advancement. This was showbiz, after all, and while there were plenty of big butts in North Texas, not nearly enough were located in the box seats at Arlington Stadium.

In David Clyde, Short figured he was bless with the most promising overnight gate attraction since Jo-Jo the Lizard Boy hit the State Fair of Texas.

No comments:

Post a Comment