Magazine article Information Today

Website Chronicles One of Baseball's Biggest Flakes

Magazine article Information Today

Website Chronicles One of Baseball's Biggest Flakes

Article excerpt

For whatever reason, baseball is a game that seems to breed... flakes. (I'm not sure how else to say it.) The history of the game is filled with Characters with a capital "C," from Rube Waddell (who supposedly missed a game because he was chasing firetrucks) to Dizzy Dean (whose mangling of the King's English was matched only by his offbeat personality) to Yogi Berra (whose legendary malapropisms have made him the master of the baseball flakes).

Your Field Correspondent's generation (aka, the infamous Disco Era) has its own champion flake: John Milton Rivers, better known as Mickey.

The legend of Mick the Quick is chronicled at MickeyRivers.com, a fan site from Shawn Smith (who also hails from the generation of polyester shirts and platform shoes). Smith's homage to Rivers has been around for a while, but then, so have the stories of the wiry outfielder.

Smith says his obsession with Rivers could be "considered some kind of sickness, or maybe it qualifies me to be regarded as clinically insane." It's no wonder when the subject has delivered some of the finer following lines in baseball's long history of goofiness:

* When speaking about Yankees manager Billy Martin and owner George Steinbrenner, he said: "Me and George and Billy are two of a kind."

* On teammate Cliff Johnson: "He is so ugly he should have to wear an oxygen mask."

* On playing the outfield: "The first thing you do when you get out to center field is put up your finger and check the wind-chill factor."

* On the game: "Pitching is 80 percent of the game and the other half is hitting and fielding."

In addition to the extensive selection of one-liners, the site also features Smith's impressive collection of Rivers memorabilia (and if he spent the kind of money on this stuff that we suspect he did, then he probably should be labeled clinically nuts).

There are photos of dozens of Rivers baseball cards as well as game-worn jerseys from several of Rivers' big-league teams. There's also something called the "Fleet Feet Award," a bronze shoe that Rivers won in 1977, which we hope was not for playing while wearing a bronzed shoe.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Smith also has a gallery of photos, including one of Rivers in a U.S. Army uniform (we can only imagine Rivers' drill sergeant, the first time one of those Mickisms fell out of his mouth). …

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