Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Sunday Funnies

Zeke Bonura was a stereotype: A first baseman in the 1930s, a slugger who was less than adept in the field, slow afoot and supposedly slow of wit as well.

He was a college man -- Loyola University in his home city of New Orleans -- so I doubt he was truly as dumb as the stories have it, but that's the basis of a number of these tales.

He broke in with the Chicago White Sox under Jimmy Dykes and spent most of his career playing for Dykes, who despaired of ever getting Bonura to learn the signs.

Now, today we recognize the limitations of the sacrifice bunt, and particularly with a hitter as productive as Bonura, but managers of Dykes' era didn't have access to the analytics of today. Everybody was expected to bunt, even in that high-scoring era, and that included Bonura. The problem was getting him to realize that he was supposed to bunt.

One day an exhasperated Dykes simply yelled from the dugout at Bonura: "Bunt, you big meathead. Bunt! B-U-N-T, bunt!"

Bonura, perhaps figuring that Dykes couldn't seriously be giving such a command so openly, swung away.

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