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no nilLU CONTINUED when husband Phil is on the mound: "I mean I'm a physical wreck. I feel as if I'm out there, too." Baseball wives say they have choice but to become experts on the game. Brokers' wives may not know a stock from a bond, or doctors' wives a stethoscope from a fluoroscope, but ballplayers' wives find that they may be in left field unless they quickly learn the essentials of baseball. Learning the game Karolyn Rose, wife of Cincinnati Reds' star outfielder Pete Rose, claims that before she got married she thought stolen bases were something players kept hidden in a trunk. Sheena Bowa, wife of the Phillies' infielder Larry Bowa, says: "I knew nothing about the game, thought it was very boring. The only thing I liked were the arguments or fights on the field. But now I go all the time because the game has so much bearing on our lives." Says Carolyn Kessinger, wife of Chicago Cubs' shortstop Don Kessinger: "I use our one- hour auto drive home after the game to talk baseball and help Don get it out of his system. A wife has to understand, for example, what it means to miss a hit-and-run sign." Most of the women are philosophical about their husbands' concentration on their profession--much more so, say, than the wife of an insurance man or meat inspector might be. They know that their husbands want them at the games, and they comply gracefully. Pittsburgh Pirates' outfielder Al Oliver's wife Donna, who met her husband on a blind date set up by his teammate Willie Stargell, says she kept attending games into the ninth month of her pregnancy. "Ballplayers get- so emotionally, mentally and physically up for the game that it becomes a whole way of life," she says. Georgie Osteen recalls that her pitcher husband Claude was on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers the night their second son was born: "I asked him later if he was thinking about me. He said, 'No, I was thinking about my pitching.'" 18 Being a baseball wife, the women agree, isn't all fun and games. It also means taking charge of a household, being both a mother and father, and performing the usual domestic chores despite ballplayers' abnormal work schedules, not to mention their habit of sleeping late the mornings after night games and their predilection for meals at bizarre hours--such as 12 midnight. This schedule makes it difficult to cultivate friendships outside baseball. "I knew so little about baseball when I got married that I thought the players stayed home all the time/' says Jeannette Rader, wife of the Houston Astros' colorful third-baseman Doug Rader. "I never realized they had those long road trips. Soon after we were married,Doug took off with the team for 12 days. It wasn't much of a honeymoon." But then Cyndee Reichardt, married a year to Rick of the Chicago. White Sox, says, "When he comes back from that road trip, it's like a new honeymoon." Adds Mrs. Pat Freehan, whose husband Bill catches for the Detroit Tigers: "There's lots of times I feel I'd trade all of it just to have my husband all the time." Perhaps the toughest problem confronting the wives --and the ballplayers, too-is the general insecurity of baseball. The career is a short one at best, and there's always the fear of injury, especially for a baseball wife like Mrs. Jackie Hunt, who is not especially happy over Montreal Expos' second-baseman Ron Hunt's chief claim to fame: he's been hit more times with pitched balls than any player in history. "I don't feel that kind of abuse and damage is worth any amount of money," she says. Transient living The constant threat of being traded to another club, thereby uprooting an entire household, is something else that bothers the wives, especially those who have been married a few years and feel family pressures increasing. Five days after buying a house in Los Angeles, Ted Sizemore was involved in a trade for St. Louis outfielder Richie Allen. Fritz Peterson's wife Marilyn figures that she's made 33 moves in 7'/a years, including trips to and from spring training. "Buying a house can be the kiss of death," says Sheena Bowa. Nevertheless, none of the wives is complaining. They love the excitement of the game and the glamour of being married to celebrities. Sums up Suzie Torborg after nine years of marriage to Jeff Torborg, now a catcher for the California Angels: "I hate the road trips, and a trade can be rough to take. But Jeffs lifelong dream has been to be a ballplayer, and it's a dream come true. If you love your husband enough, this life is not difficult at all. If you care, you can do it." PARAUL Â· AUGUST 27. 1971!