On the how he got into pitching – "I really didn't like to pitch, I wanted to play centerfield because of Willie Mays, and I wanted to play first base?But one day, somebody had to pitch and I was a big kid for my age at age 14. And you think of pitcher as a skill position, and somewhat of a leadership position – That intrigued me because I am a leader. I know I am a leader."
On his personal demons – "Probably became more of a problem for me – for the inability not to distinguish friend from foe."
On his run-ins with the law – "Instead of me coming to the ballpark and being with the guys, I was staying at home and doing drugs. Then I began to have police trouble. And then I was arrested. And then I had to go through drug rehab. And then?everything just snowballed, and it seemed like?I was in the grave."
On motivation – "Pitching is probably the most unique position in baseball. You have the most power. You have the most authority. Nothing happens until you throw the baseball. To win 20 games is just the biggest milestone a pitcher can achieve. They couldn't take that away. And that was the fuel I needed to keep going."
On leadership – "Some people don't have the strength to lead. I don't really know that I have the strength to lead, I didn't know I had the strength to lead until it was actually thrown on my back but I tell you one thing, once it was given to me, I wasn't like saying you take it back man, I don't want anything to do with this – You do what you have to do."
On his time in baseball – "Man, if there's somebody in this game that's had it as good as I have, I just don't know who it is."
On Stewart's dominance – "I mean he was as good as anybody for four years, and each and every year somebody else won the Cy Young award."
On African-American baseball players – "In the 50s and the 60s, even early 70s, people thought they weren't smart enough to be pitchers."
On Vida Blue – "Vida was a great athlete. He could have played, probably could have played professional football, but the opportunities for black, and being a quarterback in college, it probably wasn't going to happen for him."
On Sam Jones – "Lots of people feared him. Because he had a reputation of throwing at guys, and he talked rough."
On Vida Blue's relationship with the fans – "He would go down the right and left field lines, and mingle with the fans, and you know, a lot of players didn't do that."
On Sam Jones – "Sam Jones when he came here he had a charisma and when he stood on the mound there was a presence there. And I just loved watching him pitch."
On the lack of minorities in baseball today – "You see scouts afraid to go into the inner city. And you see a lot of baseball fields sitting empty in the inner city, you don't see kids out there playing."
On the fanfare for Sam Jones – "The minute that they'd get in trouble, in the late innings, Sam would get up and run to the bullpen, and the crowd would give him a standing ovation cause Sam was going down to get ready."
On Dave Stewart vs. Roger Clemens – "For Stew I think he had an edge, cause it was like win or die."
On the fall of Mike Norris – "We never really got a chance to know Michael Norris?because of his greatness and then his demise."
On the reliability of Norris – "We all have our downfalls and crap like that – but let me tell you something, if there was one man, one man I had to call, that truly would help me – not the guy who said he would help me, but if there's one guy that I knew that would help me, and I had to make one phone call – it would be Mike Norris. Without a doubt."
On Sam Jones' ability – "The first time I faced Sam – he threw me a curve ball – I think I jumped out of my shoes, dropped the bat, my underclothes, everything. And I fell off down on the ground and the umpire said 'strike!' I said, 'What!' – and the umpire said 'Son, that's a major league curveball'."
On Vida Blue's impact on the fans – "He had the ability to draw people in, he had the ability to put people in the seats because they loved him"
On the popularity of Vida Blue – "He took the Bay Area, he took the nation by storm."
On the Vida Blue phenomenon – "Every time he pitched, it was like a holiday."
On Blue's role on his team – "It was very rare for that time for an organization to identify a young black player, especially a young black pitcher, you know, as, he's the hot phenom, he's our future, he's the guy we're going to ride. He is our guy. He is the guy."
On Mike Norris' downfall – "If you're black, and you see somebody succeed at a great level in any walk of life, there's always that fear in the back of your head that something's going to happen."
Marge Sabathia (Mother of Cleveland Pitcher C.C. Sabathia) :
On Stewart's influence – "The way he stood out there on the mound, so much confidence, he was the man, he was the man for us. We would try to get C.C. out there to see Dave Stewart. I wanted C.C. to be a Dave Stewart.
The Bay Area Black Aces airdates: Sunday, September 19 at 4:00 PM; Monday, September 20 at 1:00 PM; Thursday, September 23 at 7:00 PM; Sunday, September 26 at 4:00 PM; and Thursday, October 7 at 7:00 PM.