I looked at my notes.
"But it was Rickey who put you in as president of the Columbus club?"
MacPhail stared at me incredulously.
"How," he demanded, "could he put me in as president when I was already president? I organized the syndicate that bought the club from Sidney Weil of Cincinnati. When, as club president, I sold the club to the Cardinals, I agreed to remain as president at the request of Sam Breadon of the Cardinals." He thought briefly and added: "One of the finest men I have ever known, a man I respected and loved until the day he died."
I consulted my notebook. "I have a note here, source confidential, that you irritated Rickey by your manner of running the ball club at Columbus. You did too much entertaining, you gave yourself an office that was better than any office in the big league."
"Hah," he exclaimed, "that office. What happened there was that the contractor was able to beat the estimate and get a bonus of $50,000. He came to me and said he'd like to do something for me to show his appreciation for the way I had been of help to him. So he went ahead and paneled my office in walnut or something at a cost to him of $5,000. Just about that time, I saw that a local store was having a sale of some Oriental rugs damaged in a fire. I went down and bought some for next to nothing. Some time after that I was in St. Louis and Mr. Sam Breadon called me into his "office. He said, 'MacPhail, look around this office here. Do you see any wood paneling on the walls or any Oriental rugs on the floor?' I said, 'I know what you're talking about, Mr. Breadon. You're talking about my office at Columbus. I want to ask you would you take wood paneling if you could get it for nothing, would you take Oriental rugs if you could get them at a fire sale for the price of the linoleum you've got on your floor here?' Breadon said he guessed he would."
MacPhail leaned over and pushed me. "It was easy to guess who had been carrying tales."
"No comment," said MacPhail.