It has been a weird season for Bob Boone. "No", he said, "not weird. Bad."
Bob Boone batted .229 this year. He was benched against Montreal, run over by Enos Cabell in Houston, and relegated to ninth place in the batting order tonight, an honor, Manager Dallas Green said he won by default.
"It was the first time ever," Boone said, after going three for four with three RBI in his first World Series game. "Not even in Little League. In Little League, I was a star.
"I was really upset about that," he said, smiling. "I'll accept it tonight but he better make a change tomorrow."
Boone has been neither the center of attention nor the center of controversy during this controversial Phillie season. Tonight, he was engulfed by reporters, delighted at the prospect of having a loquacious Phillie, a Stanford graduate to boot, in their midst. If Boone kept his distance, it was not to protect the Astrodome. As the throng pressed closer, Boone shifted his weight to his right foot, carefully moving the left out of the way of the trampling hordes. It had been trampled enough.
"It's just a flesh wound," he said, modestly. "Cabell hit me real hard, and jumped into me, and it got hit again on another play later. It's swollen and colorful. It's wonderful for colorful TV."
He quickly declined the invitation to bare all for a television crew.
"At first, I thought it was broken," he said. "They took X-rays of it in Houston and the doctor came up to me at the party and told me they only got half the foot. But he said, that half the foot looks pretty good. I didn't want to go today (for further X-rays). . . but I had to go."
Boone got three hits on Sunday in Houston, in addition to getting hit by Cabell. When the Phillies clinched the division title in Montreal, it was Boone's RBI that sent the game into extra innings. "My stroke has finally come around," he said. "It just happened at the end. It's not a fluke. Dallas sat me down for a couple of days against Montreal (in Philadelphia), and I had a chance to get away from it all. I've been very relaxed since then."
Boone was not the only Phillie playing in pain or batting out of position. Bake McBride, who batted cleanup tonight, had a game-winning, three-run home run in the bottom of the third. McBride routinely plays with bad knees his feelings after hitting the home run, he said, "It was a home run. It went out of the ball park." McBride does not like to read the papers, either.
"The papers and the fans have made me stop reading," he said. He is amused at how fond Philadelphia has suddenly become of the Phillies; how the fans who were ready to villify him after the second game of the playoffs, for not scoring from second on Lonnie Smith's single to right, now wanted to bronze his words. "It makes me laugh," he said, his gold tooth glittering.
Will it last? he was asked. "Until next season," he replied.
McBride who hit .309 with 10 home runs and 87 RBI this season, allowed how "maybe now the fans realize what kink of ballplayer I am. I proved to them I am a .300 hitter."
Earlier this season, McBride said he would asked to be traded if Manager Dallas Green returned next year. Had he reevaluated the situation? "No comment," he said. And soon it was time for the showers.