Camden Courier Post - December 28, 1980

What if we could return the things we regret?


By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post


So it's back to the store for that shirt with the size 22 neck and the matching tie that glows in the dark. Returning gifts is as much a part of Christmas as canned snow, bows that won't stick and where the heck did all the extension cords go?


The sad part is there isn't a special exchange window out there – a place where you can take all past words, thoughts and deeds that you regret and say to the person in charge, "I can't find my sales slips, but here, I want you to take all of these back."


Step right up folks, the line forms at the rear:


BO BELINSKY: The case of former major league pitcher Bo Bellnsky is a good example. For years, he was needled in the press about being the great playboy of the Western World and how even marrying a Playmate of the Year couldn't stop his raucous style of living.


The problem is, now he can't give the image back to the people who gave it to him. Which is a shame because he is now working in baseball's drug and alcohol abuse program.


At the recent baseball winter meetings in Dallas, Bo made his presentation to a group of executives and managers, one of whom walked out muttering, "When I told him the same thing 15 years ago, he told me to go somewhere."


BILL GILES: The vice president of the Phillies, caught a lot of flak about Kite Man. And he'll surely hear his share of grumbles about the recent rise in ticket prices. But when Pete Rose turned into a human battering ram at the plate in Houston during the playoffs and when he caught that foul ball off the glove of catcher Bob Boone, no one thought to give him a pat on the back for being so instrumental in being the guy who got Rose to join the Phillies.


JOHN REAVES: The former quarterback for the Eagles used to be a pretty together guy. But, when he was taken into custody recently in Florida, he said his anti social behavior and problems with drugs were the direct result of the pressures he encountered while trying to play football in Philadelphia. It would be nice if we could take that back.


GARRY MADDOX: He got the kind of contract with the Phillies that even Santa Claus would love to receive. Yet, a lot of sarcastic things are said about the center-fielder's salary by people who fail to realize how many members of his family would still be facing hard times if not for that contract and Garry's generous nature.


JIM MURRAY: The West Philly kid who made good got more knives than pats on the back when he was first made general manager of the Eagles. His qualifications as a football executive haven't been questioned , since he helped bring Dick Vermeil to town. Since then, the people who work with Jimmmy say a day doesn't go by that he doesn't do someone a good turn. Like the former Eagle player who called just the other day. He was down and out. But within the hour he had the job he'd been trying to get for months.


DICK ALLEN: We couldn't find room enough under his Christmas tree to fit all the criticism he received during his stormy career with the Phillies. But maybe it's time some of that bitterness was exchanged for some sort of acknowledgement that his refusal to accept the status quo during the early 1960's gave the Phils the courage to defy segregation practices that were always a part of spring training. Because of that . showdown, Clearwater, Fla., was never the same and became a better place because of it


JIMMY GALLAGHER, LARRY SHENK: Two important people on the local sporting scene who the fans rarely hear about. They are the publicity directors for the Eagles and Phillies, respectively. How the two of them survived the "wars" that took place during the losing years is a tribute to their character. The fact that they are now considered MVPs in their trade is something to think about next time you see a athlete making an appearance for charity or doing a television spot for some other worthwhile effort.


DENNIS O'BRIEN: An Audubon attorney; who also serves as a sports agent, And you know what most fans would like to put in the stockings of agents. But all agents aren't the same. Some just happen to be as lucky as they are honest, Such was the case when Dennis negotiated the contract between Willie Montanez and Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner. Not wanting to play for the Braves, but obligated to at least meet with the owner, Willie told O'Brien to think of a diplomatic way out of the situation. O'Brien hit upon the idea of asking for a contract that was so high, Turner would have no alternative but to forget trying to sign Willie. You can guess the rest. O'Brien took a deep breath, spoke the numbers and waited for the explosion. But all he heard was a low whistle and Turner saying, "Well, OK." It makes you wonder what would have happened if Dennis had been able to take back the of fer and double it.


GREG LUZ1NSKI: He probably would love to turn in all the games he played for Danny Ozark while he was injured. All he got for his effort was a ton of bad batting habits he is still trying to shake and a complete breakdown of the fine status he once enjoyed as a member of the Phillies. Ozark got a bargain, but Bull is still making the payments.


HORACE FOGEL: Last but not least, belongs at the head of any exchange line. Who is Fogel? Why, he used to be a household word. That is, if you happened to have a household in 1910 that followed Horace's baseball team. His dream was to have people call his club the "Live Wires" and he pleaded with the local press to do so. They refused despite Horace's argument that the current name was too passive and denoted a peaceful group of athletes. The name? It was the Phillies.