Walt's Best MLB Characters: favorite A's & Giants
*Vida BLUE; A's and Giants. I met Vida the day he reported to KC in April 1982 after being traded by SF. I remember standing on an empty field interviewing him and thinking "omg..this is Vida Blue". I was working in Ft Myers, Florida where the Royals had spring training...and we hooked up for some beverages that night at Raffles Bar. He told me stories about how A's owner Charlie Finley wanted him to legally change his name to "True Blue" and how Charlie's donkey would crap all over the infield during batting practice. Vida later moved to Sonora, CA and we kept in touch during my sports days at KCRA.
*Dennis ECKERSLEY A's. The classiest interview ever. I had to interview him right after the A's demoted him to the bullpen in Spring Training '88. He wasn't happy about it. He went on to become the most dominant ninth inning guy i've ever seen. His best "stand up guy" moment was in the World Series that same year, right after he gave up the iconic homer to Kirk Gibson. Eck didn't hide in the shower. He stood in front of his stall and calmly addressed us on how that was the "wrong pitch" to throw to a hobbled Gibson and how the loss was totally on him. He owned the moment, and it was a big one. Classy.
*Dave HENDERSON A's. He flashed that gap-toothed grin constantly on and off the field and engaged with fans in between pitches. It was like he was drinking in every moment he had as a player, knowing it wouldn't last. I've never seen a player who had more fun. "Hendu" had a solid MLB career as a player and he made all of us beleive he enjoyed every minute.
*Will CLARK GIANTS. Thrill was a tough interview because he like to use the word that rhymes with "duck" a lot. A total leader on the field and off. He wasn't easy to get on camera unless Kristine Hanson of KCRA did the interview. We understood.
*Rickey HENDERSON A's. Most interviews were a challenge with Rickey, becuase he was hard to understand and he referred to himself as Rickey in the third person. "Rickey will not play for that amount of money because Rickey is worth more" said Rickey. I think that's what he said. He was really from Mars.