That night a committee of eight club owners and the two league presidents met secretly in the Concourse Plaza Hotel near Yankee Stadium. At this stormy session (according to a hotel chambermaid whose identity the writer cannot reveal) there was an out-and-out demand that Fels Napier be impeached and that his convention be called off forthwith. Only an impassioned appeal by the middle western owner who had nominated Napier originally persuaded the owners to hold off action. They were unable to resist the eloquent arguments of the middle western owner, who is reported to have said, "You fellows have short memories; you have forgotten the lousy press, the congressional heat, all the other jams we were in before Napier took over. We were hated, and I tell you this boy is making us loved, yes loved! Give him his head, let him put on his show! I tell you, it's all harmless stuff, it will all blow over before opening day!"
When the baseball men arrived in town (Casey Stengel at first refused to leave his rookie camp but yielded to pressure from the Yankee owners, Del Webb and Dan Topping, and flew to New York), their mood was peevish. But after some time at the great bar Napier had set up they relaxed and—old friends meeting for the first time in a year or more—became better humored. When they sat down to a lunch (the menu was planned by Mrs. Napier) consisting of sea-food cocktail, filet mignon, potatoes à la Ivory, fresh asparagus and ice cream molded in the shape of a baseball, they became almost jovial. Casey Stengel regaled his table with stories of his career. Only William O. DeWitt, administrator of the $500,000 fund to aid minor leagues, cast the merest pall on the assembly by refusing to touch a bit of the food on his plate while he worked frantically on a bookkeeper's ledger he had brought to the table.
When coffee had been served, the delegates swung their chairs around to face the stage. Suddenly a voice shouted over the public-address speakers, "One and a two and a..." and then came a spirited arrangement of Take Me Out to the Ball Game. The curtains parted to reveal a huge orchestra, and the convention delegates (in spite of themselves) broke into spontaneous applause as they saw that the dancing bandleader was Lawrence Welk. Then a spotlight beamed on a corner of the stage to reveal the McGuire sisters, who sang the following lyrics to the traditional baseball theme:
Let's drive out to the ball game,
There's plenty of room to park!
We'll dine on the terrace over third base,
And chill with the thrills of a great pennant race!
As we root, root, root for the home team,
We'll say, "Waiter, bring more of the same!"
For the food's great and the drinks are tops
At the new—we said new—at the new and improved ball game!
Before the delegates had time to react to this tampering with an almost sacred baseball song, Welk's orchestra had segued to America the Beautiful, and the spotlight swung to the center of the stage, where Fels Napier stood with his wife, becomingly attired in a low-cut cocktail dress of fire-engine red. Welk faded his music down to a soft background and Fels Napier took Mrs. Napier's hand and, leaning forward toward the microphone, said simply, "Gentlemen, good friends of baseball—my wife!"
Welk's music came up and segued into I Love You Truly and the effect (thanks to the astonishing good looks of the couple) was so striking that the entire assembly arose in a standing ovation. Mrs. Napier waved prettily, kissed her husband lightly on the cheek and then walked across the stage with feline grace. The spotlight followed her into the wings and the music was cut off abruptly. The spotlight was swung back to Napier, who stood with his hand held at his forehead in a smart military salute as the band struck up the national anthem. The delegates arose and all saluted with the exception of William O. DeWitt, administrator of the $500,000 fund to aid minor leagues, who stood holding his bookkeeper's ledger over his heart in lieu of a hat.
At the conclusion of the national anthem the delegates sat down heavily in their chairs and the curtain fell on the Lawrence Welk orchestra. There was dead silence as Fels Napier stood at his microphone, the smile gone from his face which slowly hardened until the boyish look was gone entirely. His chin jutted out and his fists clenched and his eyes flashed and when he began to speak his voice crackled like a bullwhip. (The writer later learned this was the Napier technique of "hard sell" which had sent him to the top of Big Soap upon the departure of Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy.)
"Men," rasped Napier, "a staff of experts on loan from Big Soap has just completed a crash survey of your marketing methods."
The curtains parted to reveal a map of the U.S. with major and minor league cities designated by varicolored lights.
"We find your methods atrociously bad!" roared Napier. "Incredibly inept! You have turned your back on the greatest natural market for your National League product—New York—and you have talked seriously of abandoning prime markets in Washington and Cleveland. I will not go into the appalling psychological implications of taking our National Game out of our National Capital. For the present, I will confine myself to a discussion of your business methods."