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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

Fields of ( Cookie ) Dreams


By Fred Wallace

Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".


I've mentioned before that one of my favorite baseball books is " Big Hair & Plastic Grass " by Dan Epstein.

The book is a year by year account of what transpired on the field in Major League Baseball from 1970 to 1979 plus, most appealing to me, a compilation of stories around baseball and off the field during that decade.

It's funny. 

It's fascinating. 

And 40 to 50 years after the fact it's revealing in so many ways as to who we were, where we were and where we are today.

Because the Oakland A's were 3 time World Series Champions and 5 time division winners in the early 70's there's all kinds of stories pertaining to that organization in " Big Hair & Plastic Grass " including the start of what became a major American business.

Like many teams, Oakland had " ball girls " down the foul lines, one of whom was Debbi Sivyer.

Debbi says she wasn't good at catching the foul balls, but she was a pretty good baker and in Oakland she instituted a cookie and milk break for the umpires.

The umps loved it, the fans loved it & the break became a ritual at A's home games.

With her $ 5 per hour pay from A's owner Charlie Finley, Debbi Field started buying and using better ingredients and in short order the cookies which were good to begin with got even tastier.

By the late 70's, Debbi married Randall Keith Fields of the economic consulting firm Fields Investment Group and with her cookies and his business background the " Cookie Break in Oakland " evolved into Mrs. Fields Bakeries.

Today, according to the web page " Celebrity Net Worth " Debbi Fields has a net worth of .....$200 million dollars; or put another way, more money than Charlie Finley paid his entire World Series roster in the 70's.

Were the 1970's the " Golden Era " for baseball ? Maybe. Maybe not. But the stories in " Big Hair & Plastic Grass " are rich and warm and leave the reader with a well rounded take on the sport and life in that decade.


I'm Fred Wallace

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