It was major league baseball's first interoffice picnic, a day out for the boys during which some of the game's biggest stars forgot about the reserve clause and Bowie Kuhn and had a jolly time playing like a bunch of overweight accountants. Last Saturday's bash at Boca Raton, Fla. was officially called the CBS All-American Softball Game or the Johnnie Walker Cup—take your pick—but whatever its name, it was worthy as well as whimsical. The gate receipts ($6,662) and publicity benefited the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation. "Among blacks this disease is the biggest killer of all," said Pirate Willie Stargell, a dedicated supporter of sickle cell research who, as manager of the National League squad, astutely used neither the book nor the hook.
Last season's Cy Young Award winners, Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer, pitched like a couple of guys from the purchasing department, serving up juicy grapefruits and missing the strike zone with uncanny regularity. At first this did not make any difference, since such deft hitters as Rod Carew demonstrated no more bat control than a corporate VP. "All I've ever wanted to do is be in a game when Tom has only one pitch going for him," Stargell grumbled after seeing Seaver's citrus ball. "Now that's happened, and we're on the same side."
Lou Brock made a typically inept swing on Palmer's first parabolic pitch, then resorted to karate-style chops for the rest of the game. Brock's more perceptive colleagues, ever alert for a way to get ahead of the pitchers in the spring, quickly adopted his style and runs began to pour across.
Seaver blew a six-run lead, giving Stargell cause to do his best Danny Murtaugh imitation. He strolled to the mound to calm down Seaver, but to no avail as the American League rallied for a 9-7 win. "I would have given him the hook," Stargell said, "but then he would've been mad at me all season."