The Rookie

After five decades in the bush leagues, Wayne Hattaway talks his way to The Show.

Steve Liddle remembers the day Hattaway got tossed out of the Southern League.

"He used to get tossed out of games all the time," Liddle recalls. "He'd argue with umpires, and if a game went extra innings he'd go off on everybody. He'd be shouting, 'Speed this thing up! We don't get paid for extra innings!' The umps would tell him to put a lid on it, and he'd cuss 'em out and get tossed. But this one time he got kicked out of the entire league. He cussed out the owner of the Jacksonville team because he closed down the hotdog stand after the game and we couldn't get anything to eat."

"I know exactly how many games I've been tossed out of," Hattaway says. "Five. One time an ump claimed I'd spit on him--I was just getting over a cold--and he threw me out and suspended me for three games. That deal in the Southern League was a bum rap. Jimmy Bragan was the president of the league, and his brother ran the Jacksonville club. We always ate at the ballpark concession stand after the game--things weren't like they are now-and for 20 years they'd always left the stand open so we could get something to eat. Well, this time the guy says they'd already closed the concessions, so I 'motherfucked' him. They were just pissed because we'd whipped 'em in a doubleheader, so they shut the thing down just to spite us. They banned me from the dugout for the rest of the year."

Blyleven remembers Hattaway's disastrous interpretations of clubhouse cookery. "Wayne used to make soup every day, and I don't think there were more than four or five guys who would eat it," he says. "You never knew what was going to find its way into that soup. One time there was a hat in there. If you were ever missing a pair of shoes, the first place you'd look was in the bottom of Wayne's soup pot. He'd get pissed off in the instructional league when guys would come off the field without cleaning their spikes. They'd track dirt all over Wayne's clubhouse floor, and he'd yell and scream, and then you really didn't want to eat his soup."

Between 1973 and 1975, Twins minor league director George Brophy kept Hattaway moving, sending him to Lynchburg, Reno, and eventually to Orlando, Florida, where he remained until 1990. During his years running the minor league clubhouse in Orlando he was also working at the Twins rookie league camp in Melbourne, and there was always a period where the two seasons overlapped and Hattaway would drive back and forth between Orlando and Melbourne every day.

A lot of people in the Twins' current organization first made Hattaway's acquaintance during that long stint of double duty.

"Wayne would tape your ankles so tight you could barely walk," Scott Ullger remembers. "You'd see guys walking around like mummies, and you'd know Wayne had got his hands on them. He'd rub down a pitcher's arm and say, 'There ya go, Big Fella, you're ready for nine.' And the guy would go, 'Uh, Wayne, that's the wrong arm.'

"One time we had this guy, Captain Dynamite, come and climb in a box and blow himself up behind second base. He gets a big piece of the box blown into his back and is bleeding all over the place, so they call for Wayne and he comes running out with his first aid kit, gets one look at all that blood, and passes out."

Hattaway shrugs off the episode. "I'll admit it," he said. "I can't stand the sight of blood."

"By the Eighties Wayne was just the equipment manager," Steve Liddle says. "After the agents came into the game, Wayne was no longer the trainer, because of the potential for lawsuits."

Gardenhire had Hattaway as his equipment guy when he was the manager of the Orlando team from 1989 to '90.

"Wayne's a beauty," Gardenhire says. "He used to sit right behind me on the bus, smoking cigars and burning me in the back of the head. The one thing you don't want to get Wayne started on is Alabama. Every time we'd cross the Alabama state line--and I don't care what time of the morning it was--he'd start yelling and hollering, 'Alabama! Alabama, boys! Everybody up--you're in God's country now!' And everybody'd be screaming at him to shut up. His whole life is baseball and anything to do with Alabama--Alabama football, Alabama baseball, the Alabama state lottery. He lives and breathes and smokes Alabama."

Longtime Twins bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, who shares a Minneapolis apartment with Hattaway and rooms with him on the road, first met Wayne in 1978 in the instructional league.

"I remember this one Saturday," Stelmaszek recounts. "There was an Alabama football game on TV that Wayne wanted to watch, but this guy Buck Chamberlin, who was the head trainer there at the time, put a power play on Wayne and made him go on a road trip. Wayne got so pissed off that he harpooned the TV with a broomstick. By the time Wayne got back from the road trip Randy Bush had fished the TV set out of the dumpster and doctored it up with athletic tape and put it back on the stand. Wayne went ballistic and took the TV outside and impaled it on a fencepost."

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Minnesota Concert Tickets
Loading...