At SPORTS ILLUSTRATED we have watched your career with great interest. Sometimes we have criticized you; sometimes we have laughed at you; sometimes we have patted you on the back and laughed with you. But we have almost always been 100% on your side.
We think you are good for baseball. You have a love for the game which is infectious. You have tremendous energy and enthusiasm and you have channeled these into your job—which, to you, has always been a bit more than that.
Still, it has been a job, and this is good, too. You have not been a wealthy, pampered man riding a hobby. You have had to work hard to succeed, and success has not sapped your incentive, rising prosperity has not thinned your desire. You still work as hard as ever, and your pride is in the product. You are, in short, a real pro. Time after time you have accepted a challenge—in fact, usually you have gone out to seek it—and the results speak for themselves. Everywhere you go—Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland—your team improves its position in the standings.
The public knows you primarily as a wild trader. Maybe you are. Some of your deals—and there have been hundreds of them—are successful, some not. The point today is that you have always made an effort to improve the team.
Your ideas on interleague trading and unrestricted draft may have flaws, but at least they are ideas. You are not afraid to think for yourself—nor to say what you think.
Maybe you talk too much—although we do not subscribe to this at all. Certainly there is room in baseball for a general manager who is also a good promotion man. When you talk about your team, other people talk about it, too, and once started talking, it follows that they will come to the park to see. The old carnivals did all right with their barkers, didn't they, and what is major league baseball but a great big show?
We admire the way you have battled the Yankees, and although you have not caught them, it is not for lack of trying. George Weiss shudders when he hears you coming, and you are the only man in history to send the talkative Casey Stengel scurrying from his own practice diamond to the security of the clubhouse, leaving you alone and unchallenged to cast your spell over the field.
We like Joe Cronin all right, but we would have been happy, when Will Harridge retired, if you had become the league president instead. You see, we feel that you would have injected some life and excitement into the old bones—and we seriously doubt that you would have made a travesty of the game. You would just have made it seem more like a game.