Last week we scrambled it up a bit by learning more about The Grand Hatching. This week … Regrets – he’s had a few … but then again, too few to mention, but Ted did mention one.
Padres360: You touched on this a little bit when you talked about regrets. But are there other regrets that you have besides that one you mentioned, about the movie?
TED: Well the film was one thing. I actually look back to that time again with Ted Turner. And there’s no way I could have gone to Atlanta. I wish I could have done something more with Ted at the time. I don’t think I touched upon, but Ted pitched me to come to Atlanta. He really put me on the map and then I turned him down. I couldn’t break away from San Diego. I just wish that I could have done more with him. Because I remember he says, “We’re going to do crazy things on TV that’s never been done before. I’m going to give you your own show.” I remember Ted Turner telling me what he was pitching me, there in person.
He brought me to a Braves game with the Padres. And the whole idea was for him to pitch me to come to Atlanta, stay there and, “Don’t even go back to San Diego. I’m hiring you on the spot.” Pulls out a business card and he writes on there at the time, “For my pal, Ted Giannoulas, $50,000.” And he goes, there’s our contract right there. For a kid making at the time $6 an hour as I was, that was phenomenal. And then he upped that later on, when word got out that I was considering it. And so I remember, I wish I could have done more with him. But he put me on the map. But he said, “I’ll give you your own TV show.” And the thing he said to me, “You come with me and I’ll make you bigger than Mickey Mouse.”
TED: And I still remember that line and I believed him. I believed him. I was a big fan of Ted. But I said “Hey, I just couldn’t leave San Diego. There’s too much emotion tied up here. I can’t do it. I can’t do it.” And the night I announced it at Jack Murphy Stadium in the middle of a Padre game that I’m staying in San Diego, got a crazy standing ovation. And the players ran onto the field en masse talking about the times as they were back that way. And they picked me up on their shoulders and carried me off the field like a World Series hero, off the field in the middle of the fifth inning, carrying me off.
The whole team came off the bench and carried me off after I made the announcement. “He’s staying in San Diego and he’s turning down Atlanta’s six-figure offer!” And they carried me off the field. And there’s a big picture in the front page above the fold in San Diego Union the next day of the players carrying me off the field and a big banner article by Jack Murphy himself talking about ‘Chicken Stays in San Diego Roost’.
TED: And it was a crazy moment and I wish I could have done something more with Ted. But there’s only one of me. And I couldn’t do it and I had to stay in San Diego. I just had to.
PADRES360: It turned out pretty well for you.
TED: Had I gone with Ted Turner, I really believe he would have made it bigger than Mickey Mouse as he would have promised. He says, “I was going to give you your own show.” And he was telling me, “Heck, I was going to put you in an office next door to Hank Aaron.”
He was throwing everything at me, you know? But at the end, I just couldn’t go there. Nothing because of him, but because of the heart that San Diego had for what I was doing. That was it. I couldn’t leave it, I just couldn’t leave it. Yeah.
PADRES360: You were and are truly loved.
TED: Well it’s interesting. When I did a Padre game several years ago, what was it? You were with me at the time, Dave. It was ’07, ’08. No, ’09. I think it was ’09.
PADRES360: We were at the game. I know that.
>>> Looks like it may have been 2010 – here is a video:
TED: Yeah, okay. But anyway, it’s interesting. So it was about 90 minutes after the game. I’m in the parking lot adjacent to Petco Park. We’re loading up stuff. And I got all this gear. Dave’s got this gear with me. And this, had to have been like 10-year-old kid. He’s running across the parking lot, breakneck speed. And I don’t know how he knows. He says, “Are you The Chicken? Are you The Chicken that we saw tonight?”
TED: And cars were leaving and everything and we thought, “Okay it’s safe to go out now and put our gear back in the SUV.” And there’s nothing on my gear that says San Diego Chicken. Nothing.
And this kid comes out of a car that pulls up about, oh it had to have been about 50 feet away. And he runs. He says, “Are you The Chicken that we saw tonight?” I go, “How did you know that? I am, yes.” “Oh! You’re so funny.” And he shakes my hand. He gives me a hug. And he says, “Oh, I’ve never laughed like that. You’re unbelievable.” And he had never seen it. He had never seen The Chicken, because my appearances at Petco have been very infrequent.
That’s interesting. But it struck me. And I said, “Can you believe that?” Here’s a kid who’s only seen it for the first time and watch him come unglued the way he did. Dave was with me at the time. We were loading the gear.in the SUV at the time.
DAVE: Yeah. We were just outside the parking lot, outside the big steps out front.
TED: Right. And he was jumping up and down and coming out of his skin. “Oh!” And I think we signed him an autograph. Did we? I think we did that.
DAVE: Yeah, I’m sure we did.
TED: And then he ran back to the car and then his family came out and we signed some for them as well. But it just told me that even as new generation that is unaware, how unglued that they came just on one sighting, just on one night, and that it was universal and predominant. And it embellished the evening to no end to see the expression on that kid’s face. How he picked it out, I don’t know. I don’t know. But I guess it’s not every day we’re wheeling gear into an SUV. And he figured. He put two and two together. Who’s coming out at this time?
DAVE: Maybe his dad said something like, “Hey, you see that guy? That’s The Chicken.” The dad probably didn’t want to come over and ask you and sent his kid.
DAVE: Hey, son. Go over there and ask him.
PADRES360: That’s awesome.
TED: It was a funny moment though.
Come on Padres – has it really been 4 years since you’ve invited the Chicken to Petco?
A question from “The Famous Chicken Baseball Quiz Book”
Who holds the record for most positions played by one player in a game?
Answer next week!
Of course, we can’t leave you hanging from last week – here is the question and answer!
Who was the first player o hit a home run in the Houston Astrodome?
- Mickey Mantle
- Doug Rader
- Sonny Jackson
- Willie Mays
Answer: Mickey Mantle hit the first homer in the Dome during an exhibition game. The first competition homer to be hit there goes to Richie Allen of the Phillies.
Be sure to join us next week!