FORMATIVE YEARS Dennis was the MVP of the little league all-star game in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1972.
We had a bus that had the back door and the front door, I guess it was a city bus. Anyway, Wade started messing with Jeff Sellers, who was sitting with Ellis Burks listening to some Keith Sweat on their headphones (Ellis had a system that allowed you to plug two sets of headphones in). Sellers always hung with the black guys — he was a cool kid from Compton, California, who grew up with black kids. Anyway, Jeff was rocking and Wade called him a "white nigger."

I was sitting right behind Wade when he said it and I threw a punch at the back of his head. Now, everyone was already on edge about all of the Margo Adams stuff in the press. I was already madder than hell at him about all of that, so when I heard him say what he said to Sellers my blood got to boiling.

So then Rick Cerone tried to defend Wade and Dewey got mad with Rick Cerone and Wade. We pulled up at the hotel just then and Wade jumped out of the bus. I screamed, "What you say, motherfucker?" People were holding me back and others were ushering Wade through the lobby and up to his room.

I remember Rac Slider trying to hold me when I came off the bus. A bunch of coaches and stuff got in front of me and they wouldn't even let me in the hotel. I was trying to get in the hotel and they wouldn't let me in until Wade got up to his room.

Dewey and me were pissed off. Rick Cerone wasn't a bad dude, he was just trying to keep the peace. But Rick was trying to slow up Dewey, and Dewey took Rick Cerone down — hard.

When I got up to my room my wife was already there. The phone rang about 10 minutes later. It was Wade and my wife answered the phone. Karen said, "Dennis, it's Wade."

I said, "I don't want to talk to that motherfucker."

So I didn't talk to him. He talked to my wife, told her to tell me that he apologized, didn't mean to do this, didn't mean to do that.

So the next day, we get up and get ready to go to the ballpark, but they'd already called the Red Sox, the administration, Haywood Sullivan, all of them. They wouldn't even let me in the ballpark.

They told me to go back to the hotel and calm down, so I went back to the hotel with my wife and we watched television and hung out. We watched the game on TV because they wouldn't let me come to the ballpark. I was madder than hell, with Wade, with the Red Sox, with everyone.

I came to the ballpark the next day and I was all right. I did my work, did my running and my throwing. I watched the game and it was sort of like it never happened. Except it did happen, and I never forgot.

McNamara said, "Can, man, we're going to go with Bruce tomorrow night."

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