Where'd the nickname originally come from?
I don't know where that came from, but it popped up about 15 years after I retired and it just showed up one day. You don't see any junkmen today -- it's all predicated on the heat, size, and fastball.
If you had an all-you-can-eat deal at Randy Jones All American Sports Grill, do you think it would've survived The David Wells Era? That would have been close, would have been marginal. He can't do it seven days a week, so you're probably not going to go out of business, but there will be that one day when Wells shows up. I've had him in here as a guest on my radio show, and he does enjoy his BBQ, you might say.
What was your most satisfying strikeout? 1976, my Cy Young year, playing the Reds at home and Pete Rose led off the game. Switch hitters always hit right-handed off me; well, the problem was, he hadn't had a hit off me in a year, so all of a sudden he walks up and is going to hit left-handed. I looked down at him and said "You sure you want to do this?", and he looks up and says "Oh just pitch", and I thought "OK I will". I threw him three sliders on the outside corner and he didn't come within a foot of any three of 'em. I looked over at the dugout and there's Sparky Anderson, Johnny Bench, and Joe Morgan just laughing their tails off at him. It was hilarious.
Most memorable strikeout at the plate? I was facing Nolan Ryan in Houston with our catcher on first. The very first pitch, he throws me a 100mph fastball just above the belt; I square around to bunt and I foul tip it and it goes all the way to the second deck. So I looked back and said "Hey Nolan, I just took you to the second deck". Even Nolan gave me a grin. The other two just sounded like strikes as they went by...
Your most devastating opposing home run? My rookie year, '73, I had a 2-0 shutout in the 8th inning, needed four more outs for the shutout, I tried to sneak a slider in on Johnny Bench and he hit it about 10 rows up at Murphy for a three-run homer, and we got beat 3-2. But I learned. You never forget those things. I didn't throw Bench a slider for another year. Actually the first big league hit I ever gave up was a homer by Willie Mays against the Mets, and five days later I started for the first time, and immediately gave up a home run to Hank Aaron, so the first two I gave up were back-to-back homers by those guys.
If you could go back in time and bean three players in the head, who would they be? Well the first one I'd probably knock down would be George Foster because he bugged me. Took too long to get into the box, I wouldn't mind knocking him down again, that'd be kinda fun. There was this one young kid, pretty obscure reserve infielder for the Braves named Rob Gilbreath, but he owned me. If he faced me 15 times he'd get 14 hits. I couldn't get this little guy out, and if I could go back right now I would love to drill him; I would just feel better. And the third one, God rest his soul, would have to be Bobby Bonds when he was with the Giants: pretty arrogant, pretty cocky. If he hadn't been so big and me so little, I probably would have drilled him then, but I just didn't want to take any chances.
You pitched with your left but batted righty. Which hand did you use to endorse enormous MLB checks? Oh yeah, that was always left-handed. The only thing that saw any right-hand movement were my batting and golf swing. The story behind that is growing up my idol was Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers, and he always threw lefty and batted right-handed, and that's the only reason I did it. Who's got the nastiest junk in baseball? How about the nastiest funk? The nastiest thing other than me was Greg Maddux nearing the end of his career. I really enjoyed watching him pitch, watching him dissect guys. As for the funk, it's gotta be Jay Johnstone, who's still pretty wacky, but I won't elaborate on those stories.
Where'd the nickname originally come from? I don't know where that came from, but it popped up about 15 years after I retired and it just showed up one day. You don't see any junkmen today -- it's all predicated on the heat, size, and fastball.