Mickey Rivers

An often-quoted, off-the-wall character, Rivers had a language all his own. He called people “Gozzlehead” and “Warplehead” (words he said heard in the ghetto) and presided over kangaroo courts with a unique wisdom. Some of his more memorable quotes included his goals for the 1983 season, “I’d like to hit .300, score 100 runs and stay injury-prone,” and his philosophy of life, “Ain’t no sense worrying about things you got no control over, ’cause if you got no control over them ain’t no sense in worrying. And ain’t no sense worrying about things you got control over, ’cause if you got control over them, ain’t no sense worrying.” When Reggie Jackson claimed he had an IQ of 160, Rivers said, “Out of what, 1,000?” His slouching walk made teammate Sandy Alomar call him the “Almighty Tired Man.” But Rivers was an intimidating, lefthanded-hitting leadoff man, a line-drive hitter who led the AL in triples with the Angels in 1974 and 1975 and stole a league-high 70 bases in 1975. He made up for many mistakes and a weak arm with his speed in centerfield. Traded to the Yankees in December 1975, he was New York’s sparkplug for three straight pennant-winners (1976-78). Yet he often sulked when criticized, lost confidence in his basestealing, and spent money unwisely, often at the racetrack. Owner George Steinbrenner traded him to Texas in 1979, saying, “We had to get him out of the New York environment. He’s just a sweet, sweet kid.” Rivers excelled in Texas, hitting .333 in 1980. Plagued with knee and ankle injuries, he retired after 1984.