WHAT A DICK

Tommy John

I’ve always been an American League fan, but I have to confess to the fact that I was rooting for the 1968 St. Louis Cardinals to beat the Detroit Tigers. Here’s why, my favorite pitcher on my favorite team was Tommy John of the Chicago White Sox. Imagine my horror when Dick McAuliffe of the Tigers charged the mound and tackled Tommy John when a 3-2 pitch sailed over McAuliffe’s head in 1968. I have let that incident go and am able to root for the Tigers this year.

Here’s what Tommy John had to say…
Everyone knows about my ligament transplant, but that wasn’t my first serious injury. In 1968, I was 10-5 with a 1.98 ERA and pitching against the Tigers in August. A 3-2 pitch slipped out of my hand and sailed over Dick McAuliffe’s head. I didn’t throw at him, but McAuliffe was yelling at me as he went to first, and he charged the mound.

My first thought was to tackle him. McAuliffe drove his knee into my left shoulder and separated it. Dr. Levinthal (the White Sox physician) wanted to operate, but I got a second opinion. The white Sox were quite upset about it, since no one did that in those days. They examined my shoulder in spring training in ’69 and said it was good and tight.

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