Podnuh, Here's a Book For You

To have watched Kirk Gibson homer off Dennis Eckersley on TV to win the first game of the 1988 world series was exciting. To have watched Gibson's home in person at Dodger Stadium was overwhelming. To have had a real part in Gibson's homer, that decided the rest of the series, was priceless.

Mel Didier was the scout that picked up on Eckersley's backdoor slider on 3-2 pitches and alerted Gibson in the pre-game scouting reports. Gibson had to hit it to be sure, but it's easier to hit when you know what's coming.

And for those who say the story was fabricated, listen to Gibson: "The backdoor slider story is authentic. During the scouting report Mel stood in front of me and said, 'Podnuh, as sure as I am standing here, on a 3-2 counts with two outs, a man on second and first base open, Eckersley is going to throw a backdoor slider.' "

The complete story and much more is included in Didier's new book, "Podnuh, Let Me Tell You a Story."

As a long time friend of Didier, let me tell you he is one of the real people left in baseball -- honest, outspoken and decisive while serving baseball as a manager, coach, scouting director or backwoods scout tracking down talent on dusty diamonds in Mexico or brightly lighted fields in the United States.

He served the Dodgers faithfully for many years as an employee and friend of Walter and Peter O'Malley, Fred Claire, Tommy Lasorda and Al Campanis.

He was directly responsible for finding Andre Dawson, Larry Parris, Steve Rogers, Dave Henderson, Ralph Garr an other for other organizations and personally recommended Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Scioscia and many other Dodgers.

He talked Dodger GM Al Campanis out of trading a couple young pitchers (who just happened to be Orel Hershiser and Dave Stewart) to Texas for catcher Jim Sundberg. He convinced Campanis to trade catcher Joe Ferguson to St. Louis for outfielder Reggie Smith. He out-voted a Dodger cross-checker who didn't like catcher Mike Scioscia and convinced the club to draft him in the first round. and this is just for starters.

The interesting stories of his remarkable life in baseball go on and on throughout the book that is hard to put down once you open it. If you buy one baseball book this winter, you can't go wrong buying this one.

You spent a bundle on Christmas presents for others; now do something for yourself. You can order the $24.95 book by calling 1-866-405-1300 or going on line at aero@aerocorporation.com. Or tell your favorite bookstore that the ISBM number is 0-9645832-6-7 and they can find it for you.

This is a guaranteed grand slam.