He said he would watch Game 1 of the World Series on TV tonight. Unlike everybody else in town, Marty Pattin once was on the other side of the Fall Classic camera.
He pitched in the major leagues for 13 seasons over three decades. It wasn't until the final appearance of his career that Pattin experienced the thrill of competing on the game's ultimate stage.
The Phillies clinched the World Championship on that night in 1980 with a 4-1 victory in Game 6. Pitching for the Royals, Pattin didn't deserve any of the blame.
"That's the year they were worried about the crowd control and everything," Pattin remembered from his chair at Shenago Lounge on West Sixth Street. "They called me to warm up, and they got all these police dogs out there, and all these horses, and you're trying to move around, and you've got dogs growling at you when you went to warm up. I was scared to death and was glad to get out of the bullpen and go in to pitch."
Pattin, 63, remembered it as the sixth inning that he replaced Paul Splittorff. A check of the records shows it actually was the seventh.
"I retired to the golf course," said Pattin, an All-Star in 1971. He coached and taught after his playing days. "When the golf goes bad, I go fishing."
He said he lent a videotape of his World Series appearance and is trying to get it back, so far without any luck.
The tape shows that Pete Rose led off the seventh with a single off of George Brett's glove. Out goes Splittorff, in comes Pattin to face Mike Schmidt, Bake McBride and Greg Luzinski.
For the first out, catcher John Wathan threw out Rose attempting to steal. Pattin caught Schmidt looking at Strike 3 for the second out. McBride hit a grounder to the right side to Willie Aikens, whose throw to Pattin covering was wild high for an error. Luzinski, a mountain of a man whose physique stood out in the pre-steroid era, was called out on strikes to end the inning.
After the World Series, the Royals released Pattin. When he made it to the big leagues, Pattin told himself he never would return to the minors. He stayed true to himself and retired. So ended a career in which he went 114-109 with a 3.62 earned-run average.
Under today's rules, Pattin would have gone into his free-agent season having averaged 15 victories, 11 complete games, 2.75 shutouts and 2421â3 innings in the previous four seasons. That might earn him a few bucks today.
He pitched for the California Angels, Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, and for his final seven seasons, the Royals.
"The greatest thrill I ever had was facing Mickey Mantle in 1968," Pattin said. "The guy in front of him got a base hit, and I says, 'Oh crap, now I gotta face Mantle.' I'm out there shaking in my shoes, and I was just like, 'Wow, what am I going to do?' So I worked him to 3-and-2 and finally just said, 'Hey, it's either you or me, Mick,' and I reared back and threw a high fastball as hard as I could throw it. He swung and missed. I felt the wind from his bat, he swung so hard. I could have floated off the mound."
Someone from the Detroit Tigers or St. Louis Cardinals will have a similar feeling tonight when the final out of Game 1 of the 103rd World Series goes in the books.