25 Years Ago in Bonac Sports 08.21.14

Local sports history

July 20, 1989

. . . The Achilles tendon tear jeopardized Howard Wood’s career. “There were only a few teams that had confidence in me,” he said, “that would take me without a tryout.” One of them was Metro Santa Caloma, a team in the first division — just under the division of honor, Spain’s premier league, in which he’ll play in the coming season.

Preparing for his comeback, he practiced very hard, Wood said, so hard in fact that he lost a considerable amount of weight and stamina. “The first two months I didn’t play well — I wasn’t in game shape. Then I got to the point where I’d lost so much weight so quickly that I could only play the first 15 minutes; then I’d be beat.”

“People who know me and read this paper are going to think I’m lying. I was working hard, but I had no appetite. I’d eat a sandwich for lunch, and nothing the rest of the day. I felt like I was on the verge of ‘mono.’ So they said, ‘Give this man milk shakes. Make him eat.’ I was in seventh heaven.”

The milk shake regime increased Wood’s weight to a trim 228 pounds, and his stamina returned. As the team’s “grandfather,” and one of its two American players, he played the full 40 minutes, coming out only if he got into foul trouble. He averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game, shot “about 80 percent” from the free throw line, and 63 percent from the floor.

. . . He and his wife, Maria, are planning to return to Spain around the end of the month. Meanwhile, he said, getting up to go, “I have to get to a Mets game. I haven’t been to one in 16 or 17 years.”

July 27, 1989

Along with 20,000 other fans, including a busload of admirers from Bridgehampton, where he grew up, and six lucky East Hamptoners, Carl Yastrzemski’s induction Sunday into professional baseball’s Hall of Fame was witnessed by a bevy of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The six East Hamptoners were John Geehreng and his sons, Justin, 13, and John Jr., 9; Hugh R. King, a Springs School teacher; Bill Hall, owner of the One-Stop store in Springs, and his 13-year-old son, Benjamin.

. . . Mr. King, who wore an “I Played Against Yaz in High School” T-shirt, and who spent the rent money on baseball cards, hats, and other baseball-related paraphernalia, was interviewed by three local television stations and two newspapers, and proved to be a walking, talking photo opportunity.

They asked whether Yaz remembered him. “I’m sure he remembers my back, and my number, number 9, which usually was turned to him as I chased fly balls he hit into Conklin’s potato field,” was the response.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing getting to see somebody you struck out against make it into the Hall of Fame,” Mr. King said.

Jean Smith, a first cousin of the inductee, said, “Carl got the biggest standing ovation.”

“He represents everything everybody else wants to be,” put in her 16-year-old daughter, Jeannine.

“I want to say,” Mr. Yastrzemski said during his induction speech, “that no man is an island and I know I couldn’t be here were it not for the sacrifices made by my father [who was in the audience], who gave up his own career in baseball to work and raise his children.”

“I’m often asked how I could stand up to the rigors of the pressure of baseball,” said Mr. Yastrzemski. “I say, ‘What pressure? Pressure is what faces millions of parents every day in bringing up their families, and giving them comfort and devotion and love.’ ”

“It was more like six kids than three adults and three kids,” said Mr. Hall, a Red Sox fan, who was the only one in the group not to win a place on the limited autograph line. John Geehreng Jr. pinch-hit for him, however, and emerged from the tent with Ted Williams’s autograph on a photo that Mr. Hall had brought along.

Two East Hampton High School teachers, Claude Beudert and Barry Mackin, and an East Hampton graduate, Tom Green, who now is a television sports announcer in Denver, Colo., began yesterday a trek during which they plan to see seven major league baseball games in four Midwestern cities — Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Cleveland — in five days.

Tim Fitzpatrick of Sag Harbor won Sunday’s mile race sponsored by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce in four minutes and 32 seconds. Close behind was Artie Fisher of Montauk in 4:34. The women’s winner in the field of 75 was Barbara Gubbins in 5:01.