Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dermody Didn't Throw Anything Away

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dermody Didn't Throw Anything Away

Article excerpt

The temptation of another offer only made Norm Dermody's decision that much harder.

He had to choose between his family and his dream. His wife and unborn child -- or baseball.

The Bergenfield native and Bergen Catholic graduate would leave the game in 1971 after four minor league seasons in the Dodgers organization, but not before Los Angeles and the San Francisco Giants tried to lure him back.

"It hurt. I still had that desire [to play]," the former reliever said.

But Dermody, 67, eventually would reach the big leagues -- just not the way he expected.

The Mets offered him a job in 1976 as one of their batting- practice pitchers. After doing it for three years, he worked for both New York teams in 1979. Then Dermody switched solely to the Yankees from 1980 to 2000.

The best of the best have taken him deep, driving his pitches into the right-field porch and Monument Park of old Yankee Stadium.

Don Mattingly. Bernie Williams. Paul O'Neill.

And it was a pleasure, giving him a ticket back into the game.

"It was hard leaving baseball. It was very hard," he said. "When I finished playing ball, a lot of the guys I played with -- [Steve] Garvey, [Bill] Sudakis, [Steve] Yeager, [Ron] Cey -- all these guys made it. And I'm just thinking, 'Boy, should I have stayed?' "

Dermody had risen quickly through the Dodgers system, reaching Class AA Albuquerque in his first professional season.

His roommate was Charlie Hough -- before he found a knuckleball and the majors. Years afterward, big-league road trips to New York allowed Hough to see his old teammate.

"It was always nice to see a guy you played with," Hough said.

Dermody's progress had stalled by his fourth season. His wife was expecting. And a teaching opportunity had arisen in Old Tappan.

So he walked away.

But Dermody eventually received his call-up, just not to get hitters out.

There were fringe benefits that made up for the $25 to $45 a day in pay. …

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