Wow! Talkin' about slop, I peeked underneath and found both bushings missing; both ends of the shift linkage was metal on metal with only the clips holding them on.
Thank you Richard for the explanation. I simply used a washer, and some grease on the bushing and squeezed it thru with some regular pliers. Getting the clip back on up front was a bit of a task. It's amazing the difference now -- feels like a brand new transmission.
Thanks to all for the advice and how-to's.