DL: How prevalent was doctoring the ball in your era? CD: It was big, very big. I played with Mike Krukow and he tried it — he didn’t cheat all year, but he tried it a couple of times. I remember him almost killing Manny Trillo with a fastball that he lost control of, because the ball just ran like crazy. Manny and Mike were good friends; they played together with the Cubs and Giants. From that day, he said, “I’m never going to do that again.” But, you know, you’ve got the Gaylord Perrys and guys that did stuff — wetting the ball up. That’s why they have that rule. You can’t go to your mouth on the mound. Guys with spitballs, and with sandpaper… there were catchers that would scuff for their pitchers and throw it out there. DL: Did hitters accept that? CD: It wasn’t accepted, but we knew it was there. It was sort of like 0-2 fastballs up and in, or if you tried to bunt on a guy, he’d knock you on your ass. Or, if you dig in the batter’s box, and you’re a young guy, all of a sudden you’re on your ass. It was part of the game. There were brawls and stuff, but it wasn’t because I got thrown up and in 0-2, or a guy hit me with a curveball. No, you got hit and you went to first. Nolan Ryan drilled me as a rookie, so I went to first. My way to get back at him? He didn’t have a good pickoff move, and I could run, so I stole second and third. Of course, I knew I was going to get drilled again next time up. You play the cat and mouse game. It’s who can intimidate whom. As far as the scuffed ball, I don’t know what ever happened to it. I don’t see it anymore. But you don’t need one now. They’ve got cutters now. Sinker away, cutter in. That’s the equalizer. It’s like the split-finger back in my era; it became the pitch of the ‘80s or ‘90s. Now the cutter is the pitch of the millennium.
Good job by David Laurila.