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Ken Harrelson was a certified sports rebel in 1969. He had long hair, wore fancy clothes and talked openly about money. When he didn't like being traded from Boston to Cleveland, he made noises about quitting. The commissioner of baseball urged him to keep playing.
Harrelson is part of baseball's establishment now as a longtime broadcaster with the Chicago White Sox. Back then, he was already getting into television, telling The Times' Ross Newhan about plans for a weekly talk show among his many activities.
"Harrelson brushes the hair from his forehead and reveals that he may also expand his insurance and travel agencies. Then amid the light-hearted sounds of the Cleveland clubhouse he confides: 'I was on the phone all day and I may have a million-dollar deal cooking. I'm not at liberty to discuss it, but this will be a whopper. Sure, maybe all this hurts my play a little bit but, think, a million dollars. How can I turn my back?' "
Newhan caught up with Harrelson after the Indians defeated the Angels. A key topic was the recent decision by another athlete turned businessman, Joe Namath, to quit the New York Jets rather than give up interest in a New York restaurant because the NFL didn't approve of his customers.
"What does [NFL Commissioner Pete] Rozelle expect? It's impossible to dictate your clientele. I'm sure I've had undesirables come into my sandwich shop, but I've never associated with one," Harrelson said.
-- Keith Thursby
Here's some silliness from YouTube showing Harrelson getting ready for White Sox telecasts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS3Cun4TAHk