Team chairman Bill Giles has worked for the Phillies since 1969, and now he’s writing a book about his experiences, titled, “Pouring Six Beers at a Time and Other Stories From a Lifetime in Baseball.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer is running two excerpts from Giles’ book. The first appeared today.
I must say, I generally don’t find the idea of a team chairman writing a book very exciting. I’m picturing revelations like, “Oh the zoning ordinances we had to get around in order to build the new stadium, let me tell you!”
But if today’s excerpt — about the Kiteman who delivered the first ball on opening day at The Vet in 1972 — is any indication, Giles’ book should be a must read for all baseball fans.
From “Pouring Six Beers”:
I flew Mr. Johnson up to Philly to look at our ramp. He said that he could not do the ramp, but that if I got him some roller skates and pulled him behind a car down the street in front of the Vet, he could sail up and over the roof and glide down to home plate.
That sounded pretty cool.
I called Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo and explained the plan. He rejected it because it would “mess up traffic.”
I really needed the Kiteman show to go on, so I went back to Mr. Johnson and offered him $1,500 instead of the original $1,000.
“OK, I’ll give it a try.”
“Great!” I responded. “Would you like to practice?”
“Mr. Giles,” he said, “if I’m going to kill myself, I want someone other than just you watching me.”
I won’t spoil the ending, although you can probably guess where the story is heading. You really have to go to the Inquirer site and read the whole thing. It’s one of the best baseball stories I’ve ever heard.