MMO Mailbag: Who Is Bill Rigney?
Dan in Whitestone asks…
Can you please tell me why there is always some debate on your site about Bill Rigney and his connection to Sandy Alderson? I don’t understand why this is always such a hot debate on Metsmerized and was wondering if you could educate me a little on this.
Joe D. says…
Dan, I’m the wrong guy to answer this but will do the best that I could. The only two people on MMO who seem to write the most about the guy both have opposing versions of his role so asking either of them would only make the matter more cloudy rather than adding clarity. Mind you, over the past two years yours is the fifth or sixth such question to me regarding their connection, so maybe it’s time to seek out an answer.
I decided to do some simple research via Google and came across this quote by Sandy Alderson in an article featured on SFGate.com. I included the context as well as the quote to eliminate any gray areas:
After the A’s won an American League pennant in 1988, then-A’s executive Sandy Alderson said, “When you talk about people who have contributed to our success, you have to single out Bill Rigney. His contributions have been enormous.”
“He has been involved in every one of our player acquisitions since I came here in 1982. I’ve watched 600 or 700 games with Bill, and it’s been an education.”
Alderson recalled nights at the Pink Pony Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“Rig would know everybody in the place, and have a story about them,” he said. “And he had the great ability to draw people in. He had great knowledge but he never talked down to people.” Alderson recalls watching games with Rigney and the late club owner Walter Haas from the club box at the Coliseum. “It was like having our own personal color man,” Alderson said. “And we would have some wonderful conversations, not just about baseball.”
Even though he had several decades in the game and had played against some of the greatest names of all time, few players regularly sought him out to talk baseball.
“They don’t want to know,” he said. “They really don’t want to know. All they say is, ‘Hey, man, that was 40 years ago. Things are different now.’ Oh, really? How different? Do they run to third base instead of first? Come on.”
I think the best qualified people who can tell you about the connection between Bill Rigney and Sandy Alderson, are Rigney and Alderson themselves. Unfortunately, Rigney has passed away, but that was what Alderson had to say on the matter.
Other than that, you can read more about Bill Rigney on his wiki page where it says he was a a 26-season major league veteran who played for the New York Giants from 1946 – 1953, and served as the Giants manager from 1956 – 1960, leading the club in its first season after moving from New York to San Francisco in 1958.
After an 18-season managerial career, Rigney served as a front-office consultant and a radio and TV broadcaster for the Oakland Athletics in the 1980s.
He died on February 20, 2001 in Walnut Creek, California, at the age of 83.
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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