Everyone who knew him seemed to think that Tony Gwynn was not only an exemplary baseball player but also an exemplary human being.
His only major flaw proved to be his downfall: an addiction to chewing tobacco.
And even there, he led crusades to prevent kids from taking up the habit.
And of course, he died way too young.
This might have been his only flaw.
But it was a beaut.
Today, I'm going to tell you a story that I know to be true.
About the less exemplary side of some other major league baseball players.
I got this one from the horse's mouth.
From someone who was very much on the scene when it happened.
Phil Foster, who played Laverne's father on "Laverne and Shirley" was the source.
1969 was the year of the Amazin' Mets.
The year that they came from nowhere to win the World Series, and create pandemonium in New York City, and in the baseball world in general.
Some promotional genius decided to take advantage of this by booking four members of the Mets, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, Ed Kranepool, and Ron Swoboda, all heroes of the series in one way or another, into a three week engagement as headliners at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.
What they were to do on stage was not quite certain.
Catch fly balls?
Anyway, this chore was left to Phil Foster, who, along with designing the act, would emcee it, and serve as chaperone, or perhaps wrangler, if needed.
It was needed.
After the second night of their appearance, Cleon Jones and Tommie Agee were enraged.
Along with sharing a room, they also had shared two hookers.
And their plaint to Phil was that said hookers had rolled them.
They had stolen their wallets.
AFTER they had already paid them for their services.
So they were each out roughly an extra three hundred dollars.
They demanded swift retribution.
Phil had to quickly educate them in the ways of the world, and inform them that said retribution would most-likely not be forthcoming.
Cleon and Tommie stewed their way to the bar, where they proceeded to get sloshed in preparation for that evening's performance.
Like that would make a difference.
But as it has been said in it's parlance, the show must go on.
So there it is, the third night of their engagement.
Phil is putting these non-performers through their paces onstage, before a packed house.
Cleon, looking out among the crowd, suddenly shouts "Tommie! Look!"
Cleon had spotted the two hookers sitting in the third row with this evening's Johns.
Cleon and Tommie, as of one mind, suddenly leap from the stage, bolting towards the hookers, both yelling versions of "Gimme back my wallet, and the money!"
The Johns were not in a chivalrous mood, and did not get involved.
Cleon and Tommie then proceeded to chase the hookers around the showroom, and both being pretty fleet afoot, grabbed the hookers and their purses, shook out the contents within, and retrieved their stolen property.
So after exacting their physical pounds of flesh from these women, they were now exacting additional metaphorical pounds of flesh from them.
All of this in front of a stunned audience, who just came to hear a few choruses of "Meet the Mets".
I suppose that sometimes swift retribution is possible.
But this is their legacy, and Tony Gwynn has his.
I think I'd prefer Tony's.
My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link: www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman
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- mark rothman
- Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."