Mea culpa in memory of ‘The Mule’
Friday, June 22
OAKLAND — Having crossed the baseball gods, I must seek forgiveness. Or, at the very least, I must acknowledge my error before moving on, hoping never to commit the same mistake again.
My All-Star voting update on Tuesday included the following paragraph:
Buster Posey continued to lead the balloting among catchers with 2,445,005 votes, staying ahead of St. Louis’ Yadier Molina (2,291,567). If Posey goes to Kansas City, he would become only the sixth All-Star catcher the Giants have had since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958. He would join Bob Schmidt (1958), Ed Bailey (1961, 63), Tom Haller (1966-67), Bob Brenly (1984) and Benito Santiago (2002).
The omission is a shameful one.
I failed to include Dick Dietz (1970), affectionately nicknamed “The Mule.”
Given my background — Dietz was San Francisco’s catcher as I began to worship at the temple of Mays, McCovey and Marichal — this was akin to forgetting an immediate family member’s birthday. Heck, Dietz homered off Catfish Hunter in the ninth inning of that All-Star Game to launch the National League’s three-run rally that tied the score, forced extra innings and set up Pete Rose’s fateful home-plate collision with Ray Fosse in the 12th.
This is the same Dietz who lodged himself in my memory by blurting during a radio interview after the Giants clinched the 1971 NL West, “Dodgers can go to hell!”
Even if Dietz, who passed away in 2005, hadn’t immortalized himself in my little baseball universe, all I had to do was carefully read Page 394 of the Giants’ Media Guide, which lists the franchise’s annual All-Star selections.
This mea culpa isn’t unusual. Most of the newspapers that employed me ordered reporters to write their own correction when one was necessary. So this represents an attempt to compensate for a goof.
And appease the baseball gods.
— Chris Haft