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By Ed Moreth 

Retired MLB player signs autographs

 

August 29, 2019

Ed Moreth

BIG LEAGUE – Retired baseball player Dick Green signs his autograph on a baseball for Trennis McDonald of Plains. He also signed McDonald's baseball cap.

A retired professional baseball player took time out while visiting Plains friends to sign autographs at the Amundson Sports Complex Saturday morning.

Dick Green, who played 12 years for the Kansas City Athletics and the Oakland Athletics, signed autographs and told baseball stories to nearly 20 people for just over an hour at Field 3. Green was visiting with his friend, Denny Miller of the Miller-Burgess Ranch, and was asked to make himself available for autographs.

The 78-year-old Green said he doesn't miss baseball, but he likes getting with kids to talk about the sport. Only a handful of teenagers showed up and only 17-year-old Ervin Reyes of Plains brought a baseball for Green's signature. Audrey Brown, 16, who lives on the outskirts of Paradise, had him autograph her water bottle. Green autographed 15-year-old Trennis McDonald's River Dog's youth baseball cap.

Randy Garrison, one of the volunteers for the upkeep and maintenance of Amundson Sports Complex, drove to Gambles and bought the last two baseballs in the store for Green to sign for kids. McDonald used one. The other went to Thompson Falls resident Kade Pardee, 17.

Green always played baseball during the summers as a boy, but thought maybe he'd eventually become a professional football player. Green grew up as a New York Yankees fan with Mickey Mantle as his idol. He later became friends with Yankees players Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, and is still friends with Yankee Bobby Richardson. "I got to play against my idols and found they were human just like me," said Green.

He was just starting college and playing semi pro baseball in Mitchell, South Dakota, in 1959 when he was picked up to play minor league baseball for $18,000 a year. "I wasn't much of a school person, so I went to play baseball," said Green, who played second and third bases and shortstop for minor league teams in Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico, and Florida before landing a permanent second base major league job with Kansas City, moving with the team to Oakland for the 1967 season and remaining with the Athletics until his retirement in 1974.

"I think it's great that a player of this caliber is here," said Garrison. "It's not everyday you get a three-time World Series winner to Plains," he added.

Green received three World Series rings with the Oakland Athletics in 1972, '73, and '74. "Only two teams in baseball history have won three consecutive World Series - the Yankees is the other one," said Miller. For his work during the 1974 Series, Green was awarded the Babe Ruth Award, which is awarded to the most valuable player during the post season. "I never even got a hit. I was really noted for my defense," said Green, who now lives in Rapid City, South Dakota. Miller said Green was part of three double plays during his last World Series game.

Green retired at the end of the '74 season with 80 home runs, 960 hits at 4,000 at bats, 422 runs batted in, and 427 runs scored with a lifetime batting average of 240. With the Athletics, he played alongside Hall of Farmers Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson. Green said Jackson didn't like autographing baseballs, so Green used to sign balls for him. There's probably a few of his baseballs that I signed out there," said Green. He even offered to sign Jackson's name on Reyes' baseball, something Reyes considered, even joking that he could rub out Green's name.

Green participated in old timers games for about five years after he retired. He was offered a job as a baseball announcer and a team manager, but he had no interest on getting back in baseball. He said he loved playing baseball, but didn't miss it once he retired. Instead, for several years he worked for North American Van Lines.

 

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