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Tucker: The raw boys of summer

Posted: April 30, 2015 9:17 a.m.
Updated: May 1, 2015 1:00 a.m.

Baseball and cursing have been a pair since the first days of the game.

Some of America’s all-time diamond greats were said to turn the air blue with their language, among them Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

Cobb’s language was usually vitriolic, expressing the rage he seemed to feel all his life over almost everything. Ruth’s was usually vulgar.

But Bryan Price, manager of the Cincinnati Reds, set a new standard for profanity recently during a five-minute rant in which he uttered 77 expletives. If you’re into math, that’s about one every four seconds.

Price, whose Reds had dropped seven of their last eight games, went ballistic when a reporter asked him whether a particular player was going to be available for the next game.

Reds beat writer Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer wasn’t expecting Price’s bombast when he asked the question.

And in reality, the 77 expletives were only variants of what’s come to be known as the F-bomb. In addition, he made 11 uses of a word commonly used to describe feces.

If you’re keeping score, the fecal vulgarisms involved the waste of both cows and horses.

After Price cooled down, he said he regretted his choice of words but stood by the content of his message.

That might be the ultimate “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” line.

Elsewhere in the world of sports, legendary San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Bob St. Clair died at the age of 84.

At 6 feet 9 inches and 245 pounds, St. Clair was a behemoth. He opened holes for 49ers running backs in the 1950s and early 1960s, playing in five Pro Bowls and being elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame years after retiring.

St. Clair was a great player, but here’s the thing that made him unique:

He ate raw meat.

We’re not talking rare here. No cold red center. We’re talking purple, don’t-even-pass-it-over-the-flame raw.

Gee, he was a tough guy. Once trying to block a punt by the Rams’ Norm Van Brocklin, St. Clair got kicked in the teeth.

The team doc injected him with Novocain and after a few minutes on the sideline, he went back in, five of his teeth “crooked or cracked and everything else.”

One newspaper described his penchant for raw meat, saying St. Clair recalled that his grandmother would toss him scraps when he was a child while she was chopping up meat for dinner.          

That provided fodder for hazing years later, the paper reported. As St. Clair recalled in “My Greatest Day in Football,” he would sit down with rookies at their training camp tables and “cut a piece of raw liver and put it in my mouth, and crunch it, and let a little blood trickle down my chin.”

The rookies usually left the table quickly.

Managers at his favorite restaurant in San Francisco quickly learned they’d have to seat St. Clair at an out-of-the-way table, as other patrons became nauseous when he’d order up a slab of raw beef and then chow down on it.

So with that, we’ll wrap it up for today’s look at sports, other than to again note, as C-I sports editor Tom Didado has already done, that Camden native Michael Kohn has been called up to the Atlanta Braves.

Kohn, a relief pitcher, had been with the AAA Gwinnett (Ga.) Braves during the early part of the season, and his promotion to the big club gives us all one more reason to pull for the Braves. 

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