Blog #50 (Bobby Winkles)

By Richard J. Decker on April 17, 2013 7:00 AM

This week there is no legal section of the blog.

Now for the Opening Day memory:

Although Bobby Winkles is probably more known for pioneering the Arizona State University baseball program, which produced Reggie Jackson among others, and posting a 524-173 coaching record there from 1959-1971, he also managed two major league teams. He went from ASU to coaching the then California Angels in 1972, and was hired to manage the Angels for the 1973 season. He lasted until mid-1974, when he was fired and replaced by two Hall of Famers; first Whitey Herzog on an interim basis and then ultimately Dick Williams. He then coached for the Oakland A's for the remainder of the 1974 and 1975 seasons and the San Francisco Giants in 1976. In mid 1977, he was named manager of the A's where he lasted until game 40 of the 1978 season when he was fired with a 24-15 record. His replacement? Jack McKeon, the same person who he replaced when he took the job in 1977. This was at the end of the Charlie Finley A's ownership era, so anything went. Here is Bobby's Opening Day memory.

Winkles.jpg"The biggest Opening Day memory for me was 1973. I was a rookie manager coming out of Arizona State - the first college coach to ever become a manager in the major leagues. We were playing the Royals, I believe. I was managing the Angels and Nolan Ryan was pitching. We lived in San Clemente, and it just so happened that President Nixon had his home there - his other home away from the White House - and I invited him to come to the game, never thinking that he really would. I remember arriving at the ballpark two days before Opening Day and there was this guy in my office messing around with the telephone. I said, 'What's going on here? Can I help you?' And he said, 'I'm just checking out the phone systems - the President is coming to your Opener!' I just about fainted! But I was kinda glad Nolan was pitching!

Nolan struck out a bunch and won 3- 2 in front of a big crowd. And President Nixon gets up to leave Mr. Autry's box and people start screaming, 'Mr. President, Mr. President, where are you going?' And he said, 'I'm going down to talk to Nolan and Bobby!' And he just took off down the stairs, followed by the Secret Service, who were screaming, 'Mr. President, you can't just go down the stairs!' Next thing I know he was in the dugout and we're all talking baseball, and that was my first day in the big leagues!"

See you in two. Richie