"Yes," said Rickey, "and then and there, Warren, I filed your name in my mental book. 'Here,' I said, 'is a young man of integrity and complete honesty. His word is his bond. This young man belongs in the St. Louis Cardinal organization.' "
"But not right away," said Giles. "I moved to St. Joe, Mo. in the Western League as club secretary."
"Oh yes," said Rickey. "And that reminds me. My interrogator this morning had come into possession of some most inaccurate information. He said that I had optioned Taylor Douthit, destined to become a great outfielder for the Cardinals, to you at St. Joe and then had let the option date pass without claiming Douthit. I told the fellow the story was ridiculous. I would never have forgotten to exercise our option on a superb prospect like Douthit."
Giles smiled broadly and looked down at his hands.
"Not likely, eh, Warren?" asked Rickey, raising his cane aloft. "Not likely I would forget an option on a boy like Douthit?"
"I am afraid, Branch," said Giles, "that you did just that. You did forget about the option on Douthit. Douthit belonged to me, and I was already getting offers for him."
Branch Rickey's bushy white eybrows shot up.
"Yes," Giles went on, "but I didn't take the offers. I called you and explained the situation. I said I could understand how such an oversight could happen, and I told you the option on Douthit was still yours."
Rickey, leaning on his cane, got up from his chair. He squared his shoulders.
"Warren," he said, "I stand corrected. I remember now. It was just as you said. And I recall how, consulting my mental book on our experience with the boy in Moline, I decided that you must be brought into the Cardinal organization. I offered you the club at Syracuse, and when the franchise moved to Rochester you went with it. You did a splendid job. You made friends, the right friends. You were a painstaking general manager. You won four pennants for us in the International League."