By Jim Caple
Page 2

Editor's note: He managed the Red Sox and coached for the Yankees. So we take a shot at how Don Zimmer, the man who knows them both so well, would handicap the ALCS lineups ... if given the chance. In other words, What Would Zimmer Do?

"Whew! That was some game. And boy, was I glad to see the Yankees spank Pedro around again. But I don't get why the fans kept chanting "Hoosier Daddy!" I thought Pedro was from Puerto Rico, not Indiana. I know Don Mattingly is from Indiana but why would they be chanting about Mattingly? And his nickname was Donnie Baseball, not Hoosier Daddy. Maybe they were referring to old Amos Rusie, but he was the Hoosier Thunderbolt, not the Hoosier Daddy and besides, he's dead. I must be missing something.

"Another thing I don't understand is all this fuss over whether Curt Schilling will be able to make his next start just because he has a torn tendon in his ankle and needs surgery to repair it and should be in a cast. Well, so? What's the problem? That's what's wrong with baseball today -- teams baby their players.

"The Red Sox didn't coddle players when I managed them back in 1978. I remember Dennis Eckersley blew out his rotator cuff AND tore his labrum in July that year. If that happened today, they would shut him down and he would undergo surgery and miss at least a season. But that's not the way we handled it. This was back in Eck's drinking days so we just kept serving whiskey shots before each start until he couldn't feel the pain and then sent him out to the mound. Sure, he had some problems with alcoholism after that, but we got 20 wins and 268 innings out of him that way.

"I also remember a tough old bird I played with back in the Dodgers farm system named Peg Leg Donovan. He got his nickname because he blew his leg off in a hunting accident. Everyone said he would never play again but he just went to the Louisville Slugger company and had them make him a wooden leg and he never missed a beat. He went 15-7 with 232 strikeouts the next season. He would have made it to the majors, too, except he kept getting into fights with the umpires. Whenever he got a single, he would unscrew his peg leg and leave it on first base and then try to take a really long lead. He just would never accept that he could be tagged out if his peg leg was on first base. Toughest competitor I ever knew but a stubborn, stubborn man.

"So here's how I would handle the Schilling situation. I'd give him an Ace bandage and a pair of army boots and say, Get out on the mound, you big old baby, and earn your pay -- your teammates need you.

"Anyway, I'm just glad there's no game tonight. TBS is showing "The Magnificent Seven."

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com




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WHAT WOULD ZIM DO?