The second year in Oakland, I’m back in my regular number again – and I didn’t have to pay Jaime for it. The A’s had gotten rid of Mike Gallego in ’92 and Jamie could get his old number. So, I was back in my No. 6. This year was different from the beginning. I was playing a lot in spring training, and I was wondering what the heck was going on. I’m playing every day, and I’m wondering if they are showing me off to trade me, or something … I don’t know. So, Tony pulls me off to the side again. You’re going to be happy that I’m playing you all spring, he says.
I say why. Then he tells me I’m going to start every game until the first half of the season is over because Dave Henderson is hurt. Hindu had pulled something and wasn’t going to be back until the All-Star break. Tony was telling me I had to be mentally prepared to play every day. It was pretty cool to be a part of that lineup. I was really happy I got a chance to play every day again, but I hadn’t played every day for two years and I was like, Wow, man, this is tiring. Hindu came back for a little bit after the All-Star break, but re-injured himself again. Rickey and Jose were going through some little tantrum stuff, too. Jose had migraine headaches, and I don’t know what was going on with Rickey. So, a lot of the time it was this makeshift outfield of me and Eric Fox or Randy Ready or Harold Baines. Then, from what I remember, Rickey and Jose said they wanted to play more. Tony said all right I’m going to go to you guys afer the All-Star break, but I don’t want to hear any complaints about migraines or this and that. The All-Star break comes and they were in the lineup again, right and left of me. One Saturday Jose comes in to the park right after we had finished batting practice.
Everybody is just looking at each other like, What the hell? He had another migraine. So, August comes along and it’s close to the trade deadline. Jose was playing in a game – actually in the on-deck circle – and the phone rings in the dugout. Tony answers it, then yells, Jose, come here. Then he yells, Blankenship! Lance Blankenship was funny. He thought he was getting released. Then Tony says, Go in for Jose and Blankenship is going, thank you, thank you, thank you. He grabs a bat and goes up there, and Jose sat down next to Tony. I don’t know what Tony said to him, but Jose just rips his shirt off, all the buttons come flying off his shirt everywhere. He grabs up all his bats and walks upstairs out of the dugout. He goes up into the locker room and locks all the doors because he doesn’t want any reporters in there. Hindu is hurt, and I don’t think I’m playing that day. We follow him up. Dave Henderson, in his wisdom knew the trade deadline was getting close and he says, Where’d you go? Jose goes, They traded me to blankety-blank Texas. Henderson pauses, and he’s sort of smiling at me, then says, OK, now the important question. Who did we get? I’m laughing my ass off. Jose goes Ruben effing Sierra! Hindu goes, OK, good luck. Me and Hindu run back downstairs.
Jose was in shock. But Tony had said, If you come in here with a migraine one more time I’m getting rid of you because you are already messing up my lineup. It seemed like every Saturday just about, he would come in with a migraine and we would have to rearrange the lineup. I think Tony just got tired of it and got rid of him. I don’t know if the migraines were real or not. I wasn’t inside Jose’s body. That second year was pretty fun, though. It was cool just to be associated with those guys. I wasn’t batting around the top of the lineup – I think I was sometimes. Rickey was leading off. Then probably Carney Lansford or Walt Weiss, then you have Mark McGwire, Jose, Terry Steinback, Harold Baines was the DH, Dave Henderson. When you’re hitting at the bottom of that lineup, that ain’t bad. We win the division, but we had been ahead by a lot of games, and toward the end we were slipping and almost losing our lead in the standings. I tried to go all Hal McRae psychological on them one afternoon, I think we were playing in Milwaukee. I’m shouting, We don’t deserve to win this crap! That was a Hal McRae move right there. Everybody looked at me and said, Don’t say that crap. We’re going to win this thing. At the end of the year, we had to wait and see if some other team won, and the whole team went to this restaurant in Oakland. The other team lost, and we won the championship and we all celebrated in this restaurant. That was pretty cool, everybody shaking hands and stuff like that.
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