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COMMISSIONER FELS NAPIER'S PLAN TO SAVE BASEBALL
Gerald Holland
December 22, 1958
THE TWO FACES OF BASEBALL
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December 22, 1958

Commissioner Fels Napier's Plan To Save Baseball

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"Thank you," said Rickey. "First, let me commend you on presenting what is at least an idea to this deadlocked assembly. I believe it was Anatole France who said, 'Give me the errors of enthusiasm rather than the indifference of wisdom.' However, I must confess, young man, I do not see how baseball can possibly turn to the soap industry for a man capable of discharging the manifold and complex duties of the commissioner. I put that in the form of a question to you, sir!"

He thrust an unlighted cigar back into his mouth and sat down.

"Gentlemen," said the speaker, "I am grateful to Mr. Rickey for putting the question so well. 'How,' he asks, 'can baseball turn to the soap industry for a commissioner?' "

There were mutters of "hear, hear" around the room.

The speaker raised his voice a little. "I will answer that question by asking another."

He paused to heighten the dramatic effect. Then he raised his arms above his head again and cried out:

"Where did the Government of these United States turn when it was in dire need of a Secretary of Defense!"

Again, there was the delayed reaction. Then, in rapid succession, came such excited responses as: "To the soap industry!" "To Neil McElroy!" "Of course, of course, what a fool I've been!" "What an utter ass I am!" And so on.

"Yes, my friends," the speaker went on, "our Government turned to the soap industry and there it found in the chair of the president of Procter & Gamble our able, our brilliant Secretary of Defense, Neil Hosier McElroy! I ask you, if Mr. McElroy has been able to switch from soap to missiles, is it too much to expect that the equally brilliant Fels Napier can switch from soap to baseball?"

The speaker took a deep breath, but before he could go on, a voice rang out:

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