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Gamby: Don’t blame Fonzie for horrible Cyclones season

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They Cyclones stink, but it’s not Fonzie’s fault!

That’s what tanned, rested, and legendary former Brooklyn Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa told Brooklyn Paper Radio hosts Gersh Kuntzman and Vince DiMiceli on Tuesday’s show, when he took time away from his golf game to place the blame for the worst start in team history solely on the players — and steered it away from first-year manager Edguardo “Fonzie” Elfonzo, who coached under him since 2014.

“You can only manage the talent that you got,” Gamby said he told his protege after the team got off to a 7–20 start. “It’s always more fun when your winning, but the goal is to move players up.”

And Gamby should know.

The beloved manager compiled a mediocre 112–116 record in his three seasons as skipper, but was the first professional manager for Mets left fielder Mike Conforto, who made it to the big club the next year.

Gamby, who spent more than 40 years working for 11 different Major League clubs, came on the show to promote his new book, “Tom Gamboa: A Life in Baseball,” which he wrote with former CNG reporter David Russell, who covered the Cyclones for two of the skipper’s seasons in Brooklyn.

“David kept badgering me about writing a book,” he said. “I told him a couldn’t write a paragraph, let alone write a book.”

But he ended up sitting down with Russell and a tape recorder for two hours, and before they know it, a deal was in place.

In the book, Gamboa compares a game he attended as a high school senior — Sandy Koufax’s perfect game on Sept. 9, 1968 — with one he took part in as a coach with the Chicago Cubs.

“When Kerry Wood struck out 20, Mark Grace was running up and down the clubhouse saying ‘We all got to see the greatest game ever pitched, ’” Gamby said. “And Billy Williams turned around and said ‘Gracie, this might have been the second best.’ ”

Williams, it turned out, played in the perfect game on the losing side, and the Hall of Famer, who hit more than 400 home runs in his career, told the boys that night that Koufax was unhittable.

“It was like tying to drink your morning cup of coffee with a fork,” Gamboa recalled.

For the record, Gamby was shooting par through five holes at the time of the interview.

Listen to the entire interview at www.BrooklynPaper.com/radio.

Brooklyn Paper radio is recorded and podcast live every Tuesday at 4:30 pm — for your convenience — from our studio in America’s Downtown and can be found, as always, right here on BrooklynPaper.com, on iTunes, and of course, on Stitcher.

Posted 3:11 pm, July 19, 2017
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