The San Francisco Chronicle recently reprinted a nearly fifty year old piece about Manny the Noodle and a supposed conspiracy to get the Dodgers into the World Series by slipping a mickey into a certain Giant’s outfielder’s oatmeal. A notable quote from the bookie incredulously asked “So baseball is different from everything else? Honest or something? Money wins every time, kid. You ride with the money or you’re dead.”
If only to enjoy more elite-level wordsmithing, we caught up with Manny, now fast approaching the century mark and enjoying his lime rickeys in Vero Beach. He had a few more revelations for us.
On San Diego: “Know this character living out in San Diega on a half pension, but he’s getting some lettuce on the side, see. Call him Gerry Golf Bag. Knows a clubbie and pumps him for knowledge before the game, that’s his gig.
So the Dodgers come to town this one time, and this cat is on a losing streak. This team is coming in hot, and they’ve got that big pitcher on the mound. The one they just got in the trade, you know. He’s a heavy favorite, but the clubbie’s got some dirt. Gerry wants it.
Gerry starts leaning on him. The clubbie’s playing the finger zinger with this zipper, so he knows something’s up. Gerry keeps it up, and it looks like the clubbie’s going to wig out.
Radar gun, the guy finally comes out with. Watch the radar gun. The man’s got it tweaked down low, and this pitcher’s not going to like it. The radar gun he says.
So what happens? Gerry puts a five spot down on the Friars. Big boy in blue keeps huffing his gas to get the radar number up. Can’t hit his spots. Keeps staring a hole in the radar. Here’s this hard guy, ace, can’t make the radar gun work for him. Shoulda seen it, Gerry says. Gerry wins his cash and pays off the bad men that are after him.
That’s one where the good guy won, see.”
On Toronto: “One summer it just got too hot down here. Plus, I heard about some tail I once chased. She said she was going to be in Toronto for a series. Only one thing to do.
So I head north for the weekend. Brought a bundle to make a bundle. Always do.
The White Sox are throwing up zeroes like Ronnie drops deviled eggs. Blowin up everyone. Easy action for this wet Noodle.
Or so I think. I drop a two-spot on the White Sox the first night and this kid goes crazy. This kid who hadn’t hit like a baker’s dozen of home runs, ever. This kid hits like two slams or something. Place is wild. My date gets all caught up. Talking to everyone around. Made me feel like a double loser.
So I had a little time on my hands. Date’s at the bar or something. Feeling dark, you see. And this kid comes up again, and I want to look anywhere but at him. Like maybe if I don’t look, he won’t hit another one.
And, dig this, I spotted this daddyo next to me in these white threads. He’s got some unreal way of showing he’s a fan. All arms, off-beat. Barely looking after the pitch and all.
Date comes back, but I’m on to something. Razzed. Can’t even hear her. It’s some sort of sign. One arm means… curveball? Now I’m rattled. I look around. Am I the only cat that’s on the come here? This kid is giving signs. A big thing.
I can’t sit still. Gotta act. I lose the date — sorry kiddo, but I’ll catch you on the flip — and run find my man. Right then and there I put a fiver on the home team for the next three home games. Easy cabbage, that. Those Jays cranked at home that year. Like a factory.
Sometimes you got to lose the dolly to make the bread.”