Friday, May 31, 2013
Harrelson back in booth after missing two games
By Eric Gilmore Special to ESPNChicago.com
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson will be back in the booth Friday night after missing back-to-back games because of a sore throat.
"I did a lot of interviews," Harrelson said before the White Sox faced the Oakland Athletics. "It's like playing basketball. You get a sore ankle, and it hurts. It's not anything, but it just hurts. Better rest it."
Harrelson's voice held up fine while he talked about his time as a player for the Kansas City A's and the late Charlie Finley. Finley released Harrelson on Aug. 25, 1967, after Harrelson publicly criticized him for firing manager Alvin Dark.
"He wanted a retraction, and I told him, 'You're not going to get it,' " Harrelson said.
Harrelson said Finley, who moved the A's to Oakland in 1968, actually fired and rehired Dark on the same day earlier that 1967 season.
"I was on the golf course with Al one day when the assistant pro came out and said, 'Mr. Dark, you've got a phone call, Mr. Finley.' So Alvin, we were like on the 14th hole, he went inside. He came back. We get on 16, and he didn't say a word. So I looked at him and said, 'Alvin, what's up?' He said, 'He just fired me.'
"So we got in after the round was over. We're sitting there and Alvin's having a Pepsi and I'm having a beer. The phone rings. Assistant pro comes over and says, 'It's for you Mr. Dark.' He got on the phone for about 15 minutes and came back. I said, 'Was it Charlie again?' He said, 'Yeah, he just rehired me.' "
Three days after being released by the A's, Harrelson signed with the Boston Red Sox. The next year he hit 35 home runs and drove in 109 for the Red Sox and made the American League All-Star team.
Harrelson, though, has no fond memories of playing for Finley, who died on Feb. 19, 1996.
"Charlie was a bad guy," Harrelson said. "He was a liar. He was a bad guy. It's starting to come out now. I got criticized when he passed. They called me to ask me about him, and I said, 'You're talking to the wrong guy.' Because I like ... his family, his kids. Nice people. But he was not a good guy."