Tuesday, October 11, 1977

Yankee Flight Home Unusually Calm

Ron Guidry, looking more like a riverboat gambler than a pitcher sits with his wife and 9-month old daughter. Bucky Dent, the exhausted shortstop slept on his wife’s lap. Billy Martin sat in the first row by himself listening to a tape player filled with country music held to his left ear. Reggie Jackson sat in the last row.

When he was benched by Martin for the fifth and final game of the playoffs, he did not gnash his teeth or kick over a clubhouse stool or criticize the manager.
Instead he said Billy Martin is the manager, and what Billy Martin says, Reggie Jackson does. On the plane, Jackson says nothing different but his face belies his words. The hurt is easily read. Martin had humiliated him by sitting him down in the most important game of the Yankee season and Jackson can never forgive him. Jackson can only wonder if it will be repeated during the World Series.

Thurmon Munson hopes to be playing his last games for the Yankees (he died in August 1979 while flying his own plane home). Steinbrenner, the overzealous owner and the reason Munson wants to be traded to the Cleveland Indians (he lives in Canton OH with his wife and 2-year-old son) sits a few rows in front of the Munsons. He looks immaculate even though Elston Howard, Martin and Cliff Johnson poured champagne on him. “That’s for almost firing me,” Martin had said in the clubhouse in KC, laughing. “What do you mean, almost?” Steinbrenner replied, laughing.

ex NYT Chass 10/11/77

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