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Add Schmidt to list of Manuel fans

Michael Jack Schmidt strongly backed Charlie Manuel's benching of Jimmy Rollins last week.

Michael Jack Schmidt strongly backed Charlie Manuel's benching of Jimmy Rollins last week.

In fact, the three-time MVP thinks Manuel's action may have a positve trickle-down effect.

"No hustle, no play," Schmidt wrote in a column for the Associated Press. "Charlie Manuel wrote it in stone for all of you. From this day forward, any player who doesn't run hard on a for-sure out is fair game.

"That might even mean you, Manny [Ramirez]. Terry Francona might now be held to a higher standard."

Rollins didn't run on a routine fly ball, which was dropped by second baseman Kelly Johnson. Manuel took his MVP shortstop out of the game the next inning, then declared the case closed, refusing to rip one of his popular star players in the media.

"Charlie Manuel is a 'players' manager,' as they say," Schmidt wrote. "Here's what that means: He could have his locker in the players' section and they wouldn't mind. He can take a ribbin' and dole one out, too. He's got his own sense of how the game should be played and how every major-leaguer should carry himself. He doesn't care what people think, say or write about him because he is secure within his own skin."

Schmidt says the Phillies love Charlie.

"His players show it around him," Schmidt wrote, "because they know Charlie pulls no punches, has no secret agenda, expects no special treatment, and doesn't have a selfish bone in his body. He treats everyone the same, from the grounds crew to the president.

"It's hard not to root for him."

History lesson. On June 11, 1938, Johnny Vander Meer hurled the first of two consecutive no-hitters as the Reds beat the Boston Braves, 3-0, at Cincinnati's Crosley Field.

Four nights later - in the first night game played at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, he no-hit the Dodgers.

After Vander Meer's double no-hit achievement, Reds management asked him to change his uniform number to "00."

He politely refused.

In 1952, Vander Meer was out of the majors but was trying to hang on with Tulsa in the Texas League. Fourteen years after he made history in the majors, Vander Meer no-hit Beaumont, 12-0.

He never made it back to the bigs.

On June 11, 1985, one of Philadelphia's all-time whipping boys, Von Hayes, became the first player in major-league history to hit two home runs in the first inning of a game.

After leading off the game with a shot off the New York Mets' Tom Gorman, he added a grand slam later that inning off Calvin Schiraldi.

The Phillies won, 26-7, at that time the most runs scored in a game by any team in more than 40 years.

Finally. A guy named "Joe" has the ball Ken Griffey Jr. slugged out of Dolphins Stadium on Monday night and showed real ingenuity in getting it.

According to the Associated Press, "Joe" had another ball with him from batting practice and - when Griffey's historic homer cleared the wall - pointed to the batting practice ball under one of the seats in right field, sparking a scrum between people duped into believing that was the real No. 600.

Instead, "Joe" had the 600th home-run ball all along, and Major League Baseball authenticated that his indeed was the genuine article.

"Joe" has been identified only as a longtime Marlins season-ticket holder. Marlins president David Samson, who says he knows the ticket holder from team events, met with the man yesterday and will speak to him again in the coming days. Through the team, Joe has declined to reveal his full identity or release any personal details.

Samson said Griffey would like to have the ball, and he is trying to work out a way to satisfy both the player and the fan.

David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions - who auctioned off several of Barry Bonds' historic home-run balls last year - said Griffey's 600th could fetch at least $50,000 and perhaps up to $100,000 if put up for sale.

Sounds like some tough negotiations for Samson.