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November 18, 1988 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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46

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1988

ew York — Although
there are no Jewish
major league baseball
managers this year, one man
close to the action is San
Francisco Giants pitching
coach Norm Sherry.
The former Los Angeles
Dodger catcher claims his job
is one of the most secure, in a
field noted for job insecurity.
"Bob Lurie, who owns the
team is Jewish, as is Al
Rosen, the president and
general manager. So they've
told Roger Craig (the
manager) he has to 'be
careful' with me."
The big money never came
his way but Sherry, now in his
39th year in professional
baseball, has many fine
memories of his playing and
managing career.
In 1959 he was voted $500
out of the Dodgers' individual
series shares of $10,000 for a
game-winning hit in one of
the two games he played
before being sent back to the
minors.
The next year he hit his
first major league home run
to make his brother, Larry,
the winning pitcher in their
first game playing together
(another brother, George, pit-
ched for Pittsburgh before
developing arm trouble).
Sherry also is credited with
turning Sandy Koufax from a
"thrower" into a "pitcher."
"Until 1961, Sandy always
had a great arm but didn't
throw strikes and didn't have
a regular turn in the pitching
rotation. That year, in spring
training, there were about 11
of us that went to Orlando for
`B' team game.
"Sandy walks the first guy
on four straight pitches. Same
with the second guy. Then he
started shaking off my signs.
I wanted him to throw curves.
He was getting mad and was
gonna throw as hard as he
could.
"Finally the bases were
loaded and I went out to the
mound and told him we didn't
have many players, we were
gonna be there a long time.
`Take something off. Don't
throw as hard as you can. Let
them hit it.'
"Well, he did, and it was
1-2-3 outs and the same in the
next inning. He threw harder
when he tried not to than he
did when he tried to throw as
hard as he could. And he's
always given me the credit for
the change."

San Francisco coach Norm Sherry.

Sherry believes a catcher
starts coaching as soon as he
starts playing because he's
constantly watching his pit-
cher, looking for changes in
the hurler's delivery that may
be making him less effective.
His successful minor league
managing career included a
pennant with Salt Lake City
in 1975. He was named
manager of the California
Angels in mid-season in 1976
and had an overall winning
record when he was replaced
about a year later.
He has no current desire to
return to managing, noting
he had open heart surgery at
the end of the '78 season. "I
don't think I could handle the
excitement, the responsibili-
ty. As a pitching coach, I'm
just worried about those
players, but the manager is
working mentally all the
time on everything, and then
he has to deal with the press,
too.
"I'm happy doing what I'm
doing .. .
"When you're finished as a
player, you have to forget
about how much you made as

a player because the minor
league coaching salaries are
so low. I didn't have that pro-
blem, because I never made
that much as a player."
His top salary as a player
was $15,000, but Sherry has
no regrets. He remembers
when he was in second or
third grade, and the teacher
asked each child what he or
she wanted to be when they
grew up. "I said 'a baseball
player' and that's what I
was."
Sherry believes it's easier
for a talented player to reach
the major leagues now than
when he played, when a
player could be optioned out
to the minors year after year.
"You have to be determin-
ed," he stressed. "I spent
eight years in the minors and
two in the army before I made
the majors. Now there are less
minor league teams and less
players signed.
"If you have some kind of
ability, you'll be in the majors
in two-three years, or your
team will lose you to a rival.
The major league contract
now is a minimum of $62,500.

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