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Willie Randolph on CenterStage

Yankees great joins Michael Kay on Wednesday after Yankees-Angels post game
08/14/2013 3:26 PM ET
By YES Network

Willie Randolph will join Michael Kay on CenterStage Wednesday after the Yankees-Angels game.(AP)
Paul Blair replaces Reggie Jackson, leading to Jackson's famous altercation with Billy Martin during the June 18th, 1977 game

Around that time, Reggie and Billy were kind of bumping heads a little bit. Billy would come in the ballpark a little bit hung over at times. You could see that he was stewing a little bit that day. There was a play in right field. It was a ball that Reggie maybe could've caught if he laid out, but Reggie wasn't a great defensive player, so he played it safe. I look over in the dugout and I see Billy being very animated, and he's p*ssed off. I see Billy point down the dugout, and Paul Blair jumped up and grabbed his glove. And I said, "Okay, here we go now!" I'm watching all this happen, and I said, "Hey, Reg!" (Reggie) finally looks up, and he starts to trot in. Blair is a funny guy, he's loving it too, because he wasn't crazy about Reggie. He was just like, "Yeah! We can show Reggie up on that for the TV. I'm the guy that can tell him, you're out of the game, right?" So Reggie's coming in, and Paul's going out, and he goes, "You out of the game, darlin'. You out of the game." I said, "You didn't have to say that." But (Blair) loved it.

After being traded to the Yankees in 1975, he sneaks out of Venezuela fearful of being killed

I couldn't believe it, I was elated. My mom kept calling; she would call and she would say, "I hear this talk about you coming to the Yankees." And I said, "Ma, there ain't no way I am going to the Yankees, are you kidding me?" She goes, "No, I am telling you, I have seen it…  This is in the paper, almost every day." She gets the Daily News every once in a while. And sure enough, I got the opportunity. New York, my hometown, how perfect can this be? I left Venezuela (Fall League), and I actually snuck out of town because at the time I didn't realize that baseball in Venezuela was very, very serious baseball. It's like our Major Leagues. I gave (a cab driver) a few dollars to pick me up (at) two in the morning, and he basically snuck us out of town because the league wouldn't let us go. So I said, "Listen, if you can just meet me, pick me up in the hotel. We'll go to the airport." I jump on the first thing shaking, and that's how I got out of Venezuela. I can't go back; they'll probably kill me if I go back. They are very serious about their baseball.

His father almost hits a police officer at Yankee Stadium after the 1976 ALCS victory that sent the Yanks to the World Series

On the way back to the dugout (after the walk-off), I'm knocking people down, and pushing people out of the way, because it was really scary. You really thought that someone was going to do something crazy. I get to the top of the dugout, and a police officer has my dad in a chokehold. My dad got really excited at that time; he tried to get down to me. I'm like, "Let him go." And the (officer says incredulously), "Yeah, sure, it's your dad, right? You're trying to pull people out." I go, "No, let him go, that's my dad!" So finally he understood what I said, and when he let him go, my dad went to punch the cop! I said, "No Dad, don't do that, let's go!" I grabbed my pop and just pushed him down to the (field), and again, it was total bedlam.

Willie had a relationship with a very 'braggadocios' Reggie, unlike most of his fellow teammates

Well, I had a certain focus as a young player. I always respect men, respect people, my teammates. Reggie and I got along well because Reggie was very braggadocios at times. He loves to be the center of attention. I really wasn't impressed by that. Reggie kind of felt like, "Wow, this kid's pretty mature for his age." I would always tell Reggie, "I put my pants on the same way you do." The fact is that I did talk to him, and converse with him when a lot of guys were kind of like, "Oh, okay, he thinks he's the straw that drinks." Although Reggie had said he'd never said that, but we had already established a group of guys on the team, with Thurmon as the captain, Nettles and Sparky and those guys. Reggie didn't really blend in. He wanted to be the guy, and a lot of guys resented that.

As manger of the Mets, Randolph used to get visits from Yogi Berra

When I was managing the Mets, Yogi used to come and sit in my office, and we'd just sit there and talk baseball. For him to come to Shea and sit in the office with me and talk to me about the game, "Hey, Shorty, you doing this wrong…Shorty, what about this guy?" He calls me Shorty, I don't know why. I'm taller than he is. He's a midget, and he calls me Shorty. "How you doing, Shorty?" It meant so much to me. That was just unbelievable (that) he would do that.

Why he feels fellow second baseman Frank White (Kansas City Royals) won Gold Gloves over him

Frank White played on turf, and at the time Yankee Stadium was not a good surface to play on. But I used to always tell Frank, (he'd) say, "You never got a Gold Glove." I said, "Yeah, you might have the gold, but I got the diamonds (World Series rings)."

Ironically, before Roy White (Yankee outfielder) was his mentor, Willie and his friends used to heckle him from the Yankee Stadium bleachers when Willie was young

Well, (Roy White) would (become) one of my biggest mentors, but (my friends and I would) sit out in the bleachers out there, the Con Ed kids, and when things got boring, we used to just throw popcorn at Roy White, and stuff like that. "You got a popcorn arm! You can't throw the ball, Roy! Get the ball to the infield!" We'd razz him.

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