The Old Red Rose Speedway Barn…ugh. Guess the Death gig was sold out.
On Saturday, May 8, just a few weeks prior to The Bird becoming the most famous player in all baseball (at least all baseball in 1976), I had the good fortune of hanging out with him. Paul McCartney and his newly formed band were in the middle of their “Wings Over America Tour,” and Tiger shortstop Tom Veryzer and I planned to go hear them the night after an afternoon game between the Tigers and the White Sox. We decided to meet at the Lindell AC for a burger and beer before going to Olympia Stadium to hear the famous Beatle in concert. Detroit was one of only six states where the McCartney band was going to appear for more than one night. The show we were headed for was completely sold out, just as it had been the previous night.
...A little more than halfway through the evening, Fidrych said he was going to go to the concession stands to get a beer. We decided to stay put and waited until he returned. Twenty minutes or so went by, and no Bird. Finally, I turned my head around to see if I could spot him making his way back to us, and sure enough, I could see him. However he wasn’t on his way back. He was standing in long line to the girls’ bathroom directly behind the section we were sitting in, and he wasn’t alone. He had found two very attractive blonds who were there all by themselves. Apparently he had started a conversation with them on his way back to our seats on the steps. The ladies were on their way to the bathroom, and he decided to stand in line with them and continue the conversation. It did not end there, either. I watched as the line drew closer to the bathroom entrance, and I could see he was not going to wait outside for them. I tapped Veryzer on the shoulder (he was sitting in front of me) and pointed out what was going on. Tom giggled.
“Watch,” he said. “He will go right into the bathroom with them.” And he did!
Remember, this was 1976, long before girls started going into men’s bathrooms at concerts and sporting events – something they started doing sometime in the ’80s or ’90s, or maybe even later. This kind of thing was taboo back then, and I thought for sure Fidrych would end up with cops going in and carrying him out of there. But, alas, none were around. He disappeared into the bathroom with the girls and reappeared about ten or fifteen minutes later and headed toward us. He sat down behind me as we acknowledged his return. He grinned to us and said, “Got them.”
“Got them, what?” we replied.
“Got both their phone numbers, and I told them I’d be calling one of them tomorrow, but I didn’t tell them which one.”
Veryzer said, “Did you ever think of introducing one of them to us?”
“Nah,” he said. “I’m not sure which one I like better, but when I do I’ll see if the other one would like to meet one of you.” We all chuckled and went back to watching the remainder of the concert.
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