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Farewell To A Great Manager

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I was hit with sadness today as I heard news that veteran actor James Gammon passed away at the age of 70 after battling cancer for the better part of two and a half years. Per Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel:

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Gammon logged more than 135 screen credits, from "The Wild Wild West" and "Gunsmoke" to "Grey’s Anatomy" and "Monk." He delivered memorable performances in the films "Urban Cowboy," "Silverado," "Major League" and "Cold Mountain." He played Don Johnson’s father on "Nash Bridges."

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Nancy said her husband’s favorite films were "Major League" (he played the manager), "Cool Hand Luke" (he forged friendships that lasted the rest of his life) and the western "Silverado" (he liked the director Lawrence Kasdan).

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I remember Gammon as Lou Brown, the finest manager their ever was, in the greatest baseball film ever made, “Major League.” The man commanded a respect the likes of Joe Torre and Mike Scioscia only dream about. Brown had to deal with an ownership situation far more unseemly than Frank McCourt (if only Rachel Phelps knew the kind of attendance she would receive in Miami), and he did it with style and grace, leading the underdog of underdogs to a division title.

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I had a family reunion last weekend, and during a softball game I made a basket catch. After the catch, no fewer than five family members recited Brown’s line to his center fielder, Willie Mays Hayes: “Nice catch. Don’t ever f**king do it again.”

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Brown didn’t accept the managerial job right away in the film, telling his general manager to wait as he had a guy on the other line about a set of whitewall tires. Later, after seeing the makeup of his ragtag team, Brown told his GM, “My kind of team, Charlie. My kind of team.”

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For playing such a memorable character, Gammon was my kind of actor. Rest in peace.