Zimmer's old nemesis piles it on
By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer
October 12, 2003
BOSTON (AP) -- For ex-Red Sox pitcher Bill ``Spaceman'' Lee, watching Don Zimmer go after Pedro Martinez brought back memories of his own verbal sparring with the man he dubbed ``The Gerbil.''
``Maybe it knocked some sense into him,'' Lee said in a telephone interview Sunday with The Associated Press, adding that he was impressed by Martinez. ``It's pretty hard to grab a bowling ball by the ears.''
Lee pitched for the Red Sox from 1969-78, a period that overlapped with Zimmer's 1976-80 tenure as manager. The two simply did not get along, with Zimmer refusing to speak to Lee at the end of the 1978 season and passing him over for a key start against the Yankees down the stretch.
The teams finished tied at the end of the regular season, with New York grabbing the AL East title by winning a one-game playoff on Bucky Dent's notorious homer.
Lee's antics earned him the nickname ``Spaceman,'' and since his retirement he's done little to alter his reputation. He has written several offbeat books, and he also ran for President of the United States on the ``No Guns, No Butter'' platform, saying: ``Both can kill you.''
Zimmer is now with the Yankees, who are playing the Red Sox in the AL championship series. During a bench-clearing brawl in Game 3 on Saturday, the 72-year-old bench coach lunged at Martinez.
The pitcher sidestepped Zimmer, grabbed his head and threw him to the ground.
While most involved in the fight considered it a black eye for baseball and tried to put it behind them, Lee felt no such compunction.
``What amazes me is that he didn't bounce,'' Lee said. ``I would have been sure he was full of helium.''
Even so, Lee allowed himself a moment of sympathy when Zimmer was lying on the field after the tussle.
``He's a human being,'' Lee said. ``You don't want to see him get hurt.''
not a big deal, mostly background and unimportant stuff