The manager of the Boise (Idaho) Buckskins of baseball's Northwest League says he has been in constant communication with God lately.
Gerry Craft fired a pitcher last week after reading the Bible. He said God spoke directly to him on the matter, advising him to release Doug Kramer, 24, who has been described as a talented pitcher in that rookie league.
The Buckskins are owned by Lanny Moss.
She and the manager, Craft, have built the team on a foundation of Christianity, the manager said. An eight-game losing streak early in the season was a Job-like test of their forebearance, Craft said.
Moreover, the manager said, it was nothing out of the ordinary for God to tell him to get rid of the pitcher Kramer. The manager said he never made any decisions on his starting lineup, pitching changes or pinch hitters without first conferring with God.
You may have read about Gerry Craft in the newspapers.
But you did not read about the time God spoke to Earl Weaver, the manager of the Baltimore Orioles.
Earl, you awake down there?" A dramatic, distinctive voice boomed in Weaver's ear at Yankee Stadium. The manager stirred on the dugout bench.
"Awright, you guys," Weaver said, "cut the Cosell imitations. We got a game going on."
"Earl, this is not Howard Cosell," the voice said. "I made Cosell in my image."
"You sell toupees?"
"This is God speaking, Earl. I've come to help you with strategy tonight."
"Right," Weaver said. "You're God. And I'm Abner Doubleday."
"Abner's right here if you'd like to speak with him, too," God said.
"Only in New York," Weaver said, peering toward the sky.
About then, lightning struck Weaver's wallet.
"Earl, sorry about that," God said. "Do you believe now? Or should I pinch Jim Palmr's ulnar nerve again?"
"No, no, not that," Weaver said. "It's just that I thought You'd be too busy overseas - the Middle East, Africa, Wimbledon - to bother with the Orioles and Yankees."
"We play a lot of slow-pitch softball up here, Earl. We have some wonderful games.
The Babe hit one out of the universe the other day. So I like to keep a hand in with you fellows."
"Do You have any suggestions?"
"Miller Huggins thinks you should be playing Rich Dauer at second base," God said. "But Joe McCarthy is for Billy Smith. We kicked it around for a couple hours. Finally, Casey Stengel said it best, as ol' Case always does. 'Why don't we just send 'em Rogers Horbsby?' Casey said."
"How about Ty Cobb?" Weaver said.
"I'm sorry, Earl, but as I told Casey we can't get started on something like that" God said. "You can't believe the requests our baseball division gets. If we gave you Horns- by, we'd have to send Honus Wagner to the Yankees. Good heavens, the things the Yankees ask for!"
"They're got everything already," Weaver said.
"George Steinbrenner wants Me to be his manager. Sent a message through our Rome office. Said if I signed a long-term contract, he'd make Me rich and get Me a chair at P.J. Clarke's."
"I can see Your problem."
"And Washington, your neighbors, they are asking for an entire franchise. It's tough keeping everybody happy, Earl."
"I'd settle for one run here in the ninth," the manager said. "We need a win in the worst way and I'd do just about anything to get it."
"Anything?" God said.
And Weaver wished he hadn't said it.
"Look, Earl, in the ninth inning, I want you to send up Terry Crowley to hit for Rick Dempsey. A lefty hitter against the right-hander Rich Gossage. When Crowley singles . . ."
"Dadgun it, God, Crowley hasn't had a hit off Gossage in . . ."
"When Crowley singles," God went on, "you pinch run with Carlos Lopez. Gossage doesn't have the good move to first, so you send Lopez."
"With Rich Gossage pitching for the Yankees? It's a tie game. And You want Lopez to steal second with nobody out? Come on. You've been spending all Your time up there with those old Yankees. What does Wee Willie Keeler think?"
About then, a groan came from the other end of the Baltimore dugout. Weaver saw Jim Palmer clutch at his right shoulder.
"Awright, awright," the manager said . "I'm sorry again. But stealing with nobody out in the top of the ninth of a tie game - that is unusual."
"The Lord helps those who help themselves," God said. "With Lopez on second, Mark Belanger will drive him in with a single. In the last of the ninth, you'll bring in Tippy Martinez to protect the lead."
"I said I'd do anything for a run," Weaver said. "What do You want? A Reggie: bar?"
"Do you knows Brooks Robinson?"
"Do you think, possibly, maybe, I could get his autograph?"