The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on August 22, 1978 · 45
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 45

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, August 22, 1978
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Repoz Playing the Waiting Game Coa Anjjeles S-iraes- ih Aug. 22, i978-pt ni 9 BY PETE DONOVAN Tlnwi Staff Wrtttr ANAHEIM He was once hailed as the next Mickey Mantle by the New York media, but was sent to Kansas City before his Yankee pinstripes were sent to the cleaners. He played for the Angels for six seasons which he now describes as a "circus and finished his professional baseball career by hitting 122 home runs in five years in Japan. Now 38 and still looking fit enough to hit a fastball over the wall at Anaheim Stadium, Roger Repoz was in a restaurant having an early-morning glass of tomato juice and considering the plight of an ex-baseball player's future. "The worst part about the baseball system as it's presently constructed is that it doesnt train you for anything else," said Repoz. "It's the price you're going to pay. I dont regret it, but now rm just looking for a new career. In many ways, Roger Repoz is a typical Anaheim resident He and his wife, Karla, and their two sons Craig, 12, In Japan, the strike zone jumps around especially on Americans: - and Jeff, 9, own a townhouse minutes from Anaheim Stadium. The boys play both baseball and soccer. Repoz and his wife play tennis. They go to an Angel game about once a week. "I enjoy the Angel games," said Repoz. "I enjoy watching. After all, that's what I did throughout much of my career, anyway." ' Repoz was big (6-2, 200), powerful and fast, and seemingly had it all to make it big. He did manage to hit 12 homeruns for the Yankees in 1965, but he was in Kansas City the next year. And he hit 18 home runs for the Angels in 1970. But he certainly was no Mantle. "Mantle was my idol and I knew I'd never be able to do all the things he did "Actually, I had stretches where I hit pretty well for the Yankees, but they still had Mantle, Roger Maris and Tom Tresh in the outfield I only played when one of them was hurt or needed a rest "Then I go to Kansas City and Charlie Finley (who Repoz never met) signed Reggie Jackson and Rick Monday." Next stop, Anaheim. "I never did play everyday," said Repoz. "Most lefthanders are stereotyped as not being able to hit lefthanded pitchers, which cut down on my playing time. "But it was crazy around here in those days It seemed like we were always changing managers or general managers or just making trades for the sake of making trades. The club never developed a good farm system, which is what you need to win in the majors." Gauchos Finally Get Home, Sweet Home BYALCARR Tlmw Staff Wrlltr MISSION VIEJO Saddleback College will play its football games on its plush, new campus field this seasoa But it may be forced to play some or all of its home games in the afternoon, according to athletic director Doug Fritz. "There's been a delay fii the delivery of the lights," said Fritz. "We're all set to go. The electrical installations have been made. We just need to install the poles, the lights and then adjust the lights to the field . "But we dont know when the lights will be delivered The schedule works in the Saddleback's favor. The Gauchos open at Ventura, Sept 9 and are at Orange Coast, Sept 2a They host Riverside Sept 30, and their next home game is Oct 14 with San Diego CC. Saddleback encountered stiff opposition, however, regarding its first home date, Sept 16, with Cypress. Cypress coach Don Lent objected strenuously to playing a day game in hot Mission Viejo in mid-September. He arranged to secure Glover Stadium in Anaheim for the night of Sept 16. But the site and time still has not been resolved between two schools. Saddleback has been playing at Mission Viejo High School Stadium. But this year, it completed a modern field on campus, just south of its new gym. The field has the specially-developed long-rooted grass and has underground fertilizing and watering. The facility does not yet have stands. Fritz said "we plan to rent temporary bleachers this year at $150 per seat for the season" Fritz said because of costs the school preferred to play on its own field rather than rent Mission Viejo High Stadium. "We can put the $900 we pay the high school to rent the stadium for each game into bleacher rental," he said "We will also save the $230 it costs us to bus the team from here a few miles down the freeway to Mission Viejo." Sent to the minors in 1972, then tradedto Baltimore, which kept him in the minors, Repoz looked elsewhere. 1 got an of fer from Japan for $30,000, so I took it" Id always been a pull hitter and in my first season, I pulled a ball down on my kneecap and broke it It was the sixth game of the season I tried to come back too soon and lost most of the season The club cut me." Back home in Anaheim, Repoz recovered completely with the help of weight training, but he got no other offers from Japan He began to sell insurance. Finally, he got a contact from the Yakult Swallows and it was back to the Orient In 1975, Repoz hit 292 with 27 homers and came back to hit 36 home runs the following year. 1 got to be a better hitter in Japan because I played more often and the strike zone jumped around quite a bit, especially on Americans. The pitchers had good control, but not a lot of velocity. I learned to hit the ball to left" Like most players who spent any time in Japan Repoz had a raft of stories. A sampling: "In Hiroshima once, I hit a ball off an outfielder's glove up against the wall for a double The umpire said he caught it "One year, they had a campaign based on the 15,000th home run hit in the Japanese League I happened to hit it They had advertised a $10,000 prize. I got $150. "Before I got to Japan, one of the best stories was about Daryl Spencer, the ex-Giant He was leading the league in home runs, but one of the Japanese players wasclose near the end of the year. Spencer was walked intentionally 18 straight times, allowing the Japanese player to win the title." Last year, the Americans on the Swallows' roster were Repoz and former Dodger Charlie ManueL "The manager told us we were both No. 5 hitters, so I sat the bench a lot of the season, said Repoz. "Charlie went on to hit 42 home runs. But in June, I played and hit 10 homers that month and became the first American to win the MVP of the month award "I was in the best shape of my life and still the fastest man on the team, despite being 37. But I wasnt invited back and I guess it's all over now." . So now it is Repoz future that concerns him. He may go into business for himself. He'd like to write a book about his experiences in Japan. He doesn't want to get back into professional baseball as a coach, but would enjoy helping youngsters. Last spring, he worked with Eddie Allen helping the UC Irvine baseball team. Tonight Repoz will play in Anaheim Stadium on a Joe Dimaggio All-Star team of former Japanese League players against a team of Japanese girls at Anaheim Stadium. But for Roger Repoz, as George Allen said so often, the future is now and he must look for the proper direction Lawther to Coach U.S. COSTA MESA Derek Lawther has received permission from the California Sunshine to leave the club in the midst of the playoffs to coach the U.S. National B team in an international soccer tournament in Seoul, Korea. But star Sunshine forward Poli Garcia, who was also named to the B team, said he might stay with the Sunshine if it reaches the American Soccer League championship game, to be played on Sept 10. Assistant coach "Mick Taylor will serve as head coach for the Sunshine in Lawthert absence. The national team will gather in Squaw Valley on Aug. 28 and depart for Seoul Sept 6. The ASL division playoffs start Aug. 29. The second round will be held Aug. 31 and Sept 2. Bob Gansley, a Milwaukee high school coach, will be in charge of the national team at Squaw Valley until Lawther arrives. 1 .... s'.f icf ;- ..J..ul...i(rfii,.-wiii '-a - I MA TWO FOR TENNIS Roger Repoz, who formerly played baseball for the Angels and in Al Herring Gets Basketball Post IRVINE Al Herring has been selected as the head basketball coach at Irvine High School, succeeding Pat Stewart, who resigned to coach the Dutch national team in the European pro leagues. Herring, 44, was the junior varsity coach at Irvine last season, posting a 12-10 record Herring was a starter for UCLA under John Wooden when the Bruins won the Pacific Coast Conference titles in 1955-56. Japan, now has plenty of time for tennis with his son, Craig. Repoz and family live in Anaheim. Times photo by Hal Schulz ?lace Jack White (Hf PflNTIAC TURN RIGHT ON ALL, THCN RIGHT Sivnifkanttv. hm'm ah aicnrer SELLING PONTIAC DEALER IN ALL OF CALIFORNIA!. Im ttn...Sir t . . . IhH Cm . . . Pnftet . . . 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