Category: Dennis Lamp

The teeth of McGriff


Just look at those pearly whites!

From the mammoth TV in the home of the gregarious Mrs. Smith, they gleamed. The great lady gushed and declared Fred McGriff her new favourite man.

This was the first time I understood there existed reasons other than love of baseball to watch the Blue Jays.

“I just love his teeth,” said Mrs. Smith.

If I were smart and took care of my teeth like Fred McGriff, I would get all the girls, she said.

“That’s why I married my first husband,” she went on.

His Blue Jay life just a few at bats old, McGriff had already become a role model, and this well before the Crime Dog era.

In grade school, our teachers encouraged us to talk about the Blue Jays. The margins of my grade three journal, in which I reported daily on their progress, filled with comments.

One fine day, I was invited along with my Mother by a family friend and Blue Jay fan club member to dinner at Exhibition Place. Everyone was to meet special guests Dennis Lamp and Willie Upshaw. I was psyched. I remember modest Mr. Lamp talking about his 11-0 season, something about luck and team effort. Upshaw never showed up. This would make saying goodbye to the veteran first basemen far easier.

Upshaw out. McGriff in.

Recalled nostalgically at Long Fly Ball to Because, the Blue Jay trading card program, co-sponsored by the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, The Toronto Star and others; attributed these words of wisdom to the 23-year-old first baseman:

“Cover every base. Install a smoke alarm on each floor of your home.”

Brush my teeth after every meal, and a smoke alarm on every floor. Got it.

Pitchers and Poets described Fred McGriffness as the absence of style in a wonderful tale of fandom and quiet superstardom. Tubbs Baseball Blog discussed the Hall of Fame obstacle for McGriff, he of the 493 HR and .377 OBP, coming out of the steroid era.

I say he gets in long before my teeth fall out.