COOPERSTOWN - Friday was a good day for George Brett. He played golf with Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, had dinner with a bunch of other fellow Hall of Famers and marked the anniversary of the Pine Tar Game. The latter remains a happier occasion than you might think.
He sure had not seemed pleased when he charged out of the Royals dugout at Yankee Stadium, eyes bulging and veins popping, on July 24, 1983, after his home run was negated by a ruling that pine tar was beyond the legal high point of his bat-a ruling that was later overturned. Video clips of it popped up on Friday, as they usually do on July 24.
"It brings back a lot of good memories. It really does," he said during the Hall of Famers golf outing Saturday morning. "It wasn't like a ground ball went through my legs and I'm remembered for that. Prior to that, I was known as the guy with the hemorrhoids in the 1980 World Series. Every on-deck circle I went to from 1980 to July 24, 1983, I heard every hemorrhoid joke you could imagine. After July 25, I was the Pine Tar Guy. What would you rather be known as?"
Brett always enjoys his annual trip to Cooperstown for a weekend in which being a Hall of Famer feels like more than an individual honor. It is part of one of the most elite, exuberant fraternities anywhere.
"It's pretty special. I mean, look at the hat I'm wearing," Brett said, referring to the navy cap with "REG-GIE" stitched in white on the front and "44" on the back, in honor of Reggie Jackson.
"I hated Reggie when he played for Oakland, I hated Reggie when he played for Baltimore, I hated Reggie when he played for the Yankees, I hated Reggie when he played for the Angels," Brett said. "Now he's one of my best friends here. I saw this hat yesterday. I said `Where's my hat?' He said, `You wouldn't wear it.' I said, `Bull, I'll wear it tomorrow during the golf tournament and I'll wear it at home.'
"It's a really special group of guys. I didn't know Glavine, I didn't know Maddux. I never faced those guys either. I played golf with them yesterday. It was a lot of fun."