From the first row of the upper deck in Yankee Stadium -- Section 31, Box 661A, Seat 6, to be exact -- she yelled: "George, George, Georgie Porgie, Cook The Goose." In her mind, Dorothy Haley Roche saw a three-run homer -- and she tried to will it. Reality was better, for the ball Georgie Porgie Brett smashed that ended more than a generation of frustration for Kansas City ended in her hands.
Brett decided one of his unscarred bats would be a fair trade, having immediately sensed that the woman who could pass for his mother was no phony, especially when she whispered: "What actually happened was the ball bounced off some hands and down between my husband's back and seat. While everybody else was madly looking around, I reached under my husband and grabbed it."
Mrs. Roche, perhaps the only devoted Royal fan in Keypoint, N. J., wanted more. She was firm, though not impolite, the trip from her cloud-level seat through the venomous Yankee fans and past the always-cynical guards to the K.C. clubhouse being almost heroic in its own way.
"Could I have another baseball?" she asked.
"Could I see mine first?" Brett replied.
Yes, he could -- and shortly a bargain was set: one George Brett bat and one George Brett autographed baseball for the treasure in Mrs. Roche's hands, and a kiss on the lips.
By this time, Brett was in a mental orbit few athletes ever reach. one who had, though, who arguably had soared even higher, greeted Brett when he ducked back inside the Royals' madhouse.
"You stink," said Reggie Jackson, smiling and poking Brett on the shoulder.
This was a unique experience: New York concession gestures to Kansas City. For Jackson and his teammates, this month will be known as Knocktober. The Yankee Ripper, George Steinbrenner, surely will erupt even louder shortly, although he was remarkably calm immediately after the three-game sweep.
In defeat, Jackson was gracious. He also was wearing a cherry-colored lip tattoo on his left cheek that clearly did not come from a Mrs. Roche type.
"Where'd you get that?" Brett wondered.
"From one of your girls," Reggie said. Then he added: "You used to be a .320 hitter. But there's some new guy. 390?"
"I'll tell you," Brett said. "I haven't broken too many bats this year."
A lucky Kansas City radio man suddenly was in the middle of a delicious live exclusive -- and Brett used the occasion to solicit an endorsement from Jackson for Charlie Lau, the former Royal batting coach now working with the Yankees, who had fallen into disfavor in Kansas City.
Jackson's praise for Lau was as enthusiastic as Ted Kennedy's for Jimmy Carter at the end of the Democratic Convention.Brett interrupted:
"The first two (playoff) games," he said, "I was almost totally off balance. (Ron) Guidry is a fast ball pitcher, but he threw me off-speed stuff. (Rudy) May is a curve and slider guy -- and he threw me fast balls.
"I'm thinking: 'lau's got me figured out.'
"Actually, facing Gossage (after Tommy John's junk) was really nice, 'cause I know exactly what to expect from him. no foolin' around from him. Nothin' but a lot of one speed: faaaaaaast."
Brett was turning some serious mental rpms himself. A half-hour earlier, champagne bottle in hand, high and climbing higher, he had walked from the press interview room down a long corridor and into the clubhouse -- the wrong clubhouse.
Turning quickly, he left and shouted: "More champagne. I bought the stuff, you know (with that homer)."
Having performed two extraordinary feats, the launching of the rocket that sank the Yankees and reducing Reggie Jackson to another overlooked ornament in the K. C. clubhouse, Brett tried to hit yet another difficult target -- his brother's behind.
They often are playfully naughty , George and older brother Ken. And while Ken, in his underwear, bent over and touched the floor, 15 feet away, George shook a full bottle of champagne, examined the trajectory from slightly below belt level and loosened the cork.
"When you're hot, you're hot," Brett yelled -- and the clubhouse exploded once again.
"This is just like a college locker room," somebody said.
"College?" Brett said. "I never been to college. I'm a high-school kid."
Dizzy, Brett bounced about the clubhouse, from television interviewer to his teammates' arms, saying: "Hey, what time do the bars in this town close? Maybe we can get Mr. (Ewing) Kauffman to buy one. Maybe I'll buy one. Yeah. The Jockey Club. I'll buy the Jockey Club."
Clint Hurdle, whose locker is next to Brett, inhaled the scene and said: "My wife went to Gucci's today. She went big to Gucci's. I told her she ought to wait 'till AFTER we won all this, but she said we'd win it in three."
He paused, laughed and said: "Look over there."
Over there, Zeke the equipment man had Brett in a fierce embrace. The full impact of what had happened was just beginning to hit Zeke. The other Royals were joking: "We're in the World Serious." Zeke was looking beyond, to the next Serious money.
"Now I can get rid of that '64 Chevy," he said. "George Brett done just bought me a new car."