I have a new favorite book and it’s Howie Rose’s Put It In The Book.
Howie’s book is just what you’d think it is, a mix of personal stories and Mets anecdotes (and some hockey). Like many great books it’s a personalized look at Mets history and I wish my book could have been a third as well written as Howie’s.
The fine folks at Triumph Books hooked me up with a review copy and also with a phone interview with Howie. We spoke for just under half an hour.
I asked Howie if he could “pull rank” on Josh Lewin. Say the Mets were about to win the World Series in the 13th inning and it was Josh’s turn to do play by play. Could Howie tap him out?
“I could never see myself doing something like this to Josh or anyone. I don’t believe in that.” You do your job and however events play out they play out.
I appreciate Howie’s style of play by play. He will lead the listener by changing his cadence. I know if a ball is going to drop just by the way he describes the play.
“It’s natural, organic. Me following the emotion of the moment. It’s because I have that doubt. There’s nothing that is pre-packaged.” “Dynamics with tension.”
I asked him about life in the uppers and shared that I used to love section 13 (“by” first base.) He said in the late 60’s “without adult supervision, we’d get there at noon.” You could get general admission for $1.30.
Howie reminded me that the entire upper deck at Shea, save for a few rows in the front, was general admission.
They would “high tail it to Row 1, section 1.” Howie carved his initials into the wooden seats (most of us, including me, only remember the plastic seats upstairs, but they were originally wooden.) If the wooden seats had still been there when Shea closed “I would have desperately wanted them.”
Where was Howie on June 15, 1977?
Howie was “at the infancy of my radio career with WHN hoping against hope.”
Howie believes John Sterling was the only person doing sports talk at the time, but remembers that Larry Brooks was filling in for John that night. Howie wasn’t quite sure if that’s accurate, but that’s what he recalled. Howie got the info of the trade from the radio.
So I asked about April 5, 1983 – the return of Seaver to the Mets. Was Howie there?
Yes. And he wants to ask Ralph (Kiner) if he did something on purpose. Ralph introduced the Opening Day lineup, but when he got to the 9th batter all he said was “Number 41” and the crowd went nuts. Ralph never said Seaver’s name. Was it on purpose?
Then Seaver walked in from right field. Howie thinks that is the only time Seaver did that – walking in along the right field stands rather than thru the tunnel. I (me, not Howie, well Howie does too) remember that moment vividly and will share my own recollection of that day tomorrow on the anniversary.
Seaver’s walk was “visually dramatic. emotionally dramatic.”
Yes it was. It’s my personal favorite moment at Shea.
Does Howie still have his Mercury Mets jersey?
“I still have it.” He was rummaging through some stuff this past winter and came across it. He wasn’t sure if he saved it because it would be worth something, or if he saved it for the “bonfire someday.” “I don’t have the heart to throw it away.”
I told him I bought one on eBay and he was curious how much they go for. I told him I imagine his would go for more than the usual $200 or so.
I shared that several of us are planning on wearing ours to a game but I doubt he’d join us. I was correct. I think he made Marge face.
He was given his on the air. Fran (Healy) asked “who’d ya get?” Howie unfolded it and saw the 21 and thight “oh, Cleon.”
Finally, I asked Howie if he would join us on twitter.
“There may not be enough money in the world.”
Howie wonders how people don’t have insomnia for being connected all the time. I told him I don’t know, he was talking to someone who stays up late writing about Howie Rose’s Mercury Mets jersey. Anyways, Howie won’t be joining us on twitter ever.
Here’s my chicken scratch notes I mentioned yesterday.