- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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A RAISE FOR SOLLY
Last Tuesday night in St. Louis a lippy 36-year-old manager named Solomon Joseph Hemus searched his bench for a pinch hitter, finally made the wild choice of raw recruit Charley James. The rookie slapped a two-run single, and the Cardinals won their fourth straight game, 3-2. Said Solomon Joseph with becoming modesty:
"I had a hunch."
Nobody keeps statistics on successful hunches, but Solly Hemus has had more than his share. He manipulated his players and his hunches well, kept a tight bit in his jaws and wound the Cardinals all the way up to a fight for second place.
It was a long step upward from last year, when Hemus had tangled with his own players and umpires alike, managed to get kicked out of eight ball games, and in general displayed all the gall of the loudly insecure. When he sent Gene Green down to the minors Green yelled, "I'll be back in the majors, and that guy won't be around when I get back." When Green finally came back—to the Orioles—there were Solly Hemus and his Cardinals, firmly in the first division, and full of high hopes for next year.
Solly himself admits, "I wasn't a good manager last year. I made a lot of mistakes. I was learning." The day after his hunch paid off last week, the Cardinals decided Solly had indeed learned, gave him a $10,000 raise and a fat new $40,000 contract.
NEW HAT TRICK
Rupert Fothergill, a lantern-jawed Englishman, is senior game warden in Southern Rhodesia, and a ruddy good show he puts on. The other day he had to evacuate a one-ton lady rhino left stranded on a small island after a flood. Fothergill and his helpers boated across and shot a drugged dart into the old girl's shoulder, then trussed her up and loaded her onto a raft for the trip to the mainland.
There, Fothergill untied the ropes and sluiced buckets of water on the somnolent animal. This brought her somewhat more than to. She charged a nearby motorboat, ripping three gashes in its sides and dumping its occupants into the drink. Then she spotted the cause of all her travail, Rupert Fothergill.
Up she trundled and lunged at Fothergill. Rupert removed his bush hat and whacked it ever so smartly across the enraged animal's horn—whoosh! whoosh!—each time she charged him. Soon the indomitable warden had put the rhino to flight. Onlookers, safely shielded in a nearby boatwell, gave Fothergill a moist round of applause for this display of courage. Fothergill modestly accepted their tribute and then set off into the forest, trusty bush hat at the ready, looking for elephants.