"People frequently ask me if adverse criticism bothers me. I've had a lot of it, and I have been able to shrug most of it off. Sometimes the New York writers have gotten under my skin. I didn't make any friends in New York by insisting on moving the league headquarters to Cincinnati. The fact was that my son Bill was in school. His mother had passed away, and I didn't want to take the boy away from his school and to a strange city. As a matter of fact, I made the move to Cincinnati a condition of my acceptance of the league presidency. This did not please the New York writers, because both John Heydler and Ford Frick had made their headquarters in New York. Then I was told that I simply had to fill the job of director of public relations with a New York newspaperman. I had four separate applications. I decided to appoint Dave Grote, then the publicity director and public-address-system announcer for the Reds under Gabe Paul. Although he had no newspaper experience, Dave has done a fine job, as every newspaperman now concedes. Incidentally, it was Dave who set the record straight on a quotation widely attributed to me in the press. It came out of a press conference at the time the Dodgers and Giants moved to California. A newspaperman said, 'You have to have a team in New York.' I replied, 'Who says you have to have a team in New York?' What came out in the papers was a headline that said, GILES SAYS, 'WHO NEEDS NEW YORK?' I confess that quote bothered me, and there seemed to be no way to dispose of it. It was repeated again and again. What was given less publicity was my statement to the effect that I was confident the National League would have a team in New York eventually. The writers wanted to know exactly when. I remember telling several of them that this was a bit like asking an unattached young man if he intended to get married. He probably would answer, 'Yes, I certainly do intend to get married, but at the moment I can't say when or to whom.' "
In Cleveland, Gabe Paul, general manager of the Indians, spoke into a telephone. ( Paul entered baseball as a clubhouse shoeshine boy at Rochester, rose to be correspondent for
The Sporting News
and was spotted as a comer by Warren Giles during his tenure at Rochester. Giles brought Gabe to Cincinnati as publicity director, made him his assistant, fingered him as general manager—a spot from which Gabe moved to Houston and then to Cleveland.) "Mr. Giles," said Gabe Paul, "is a very warm individual. He has a lot of courage. He is wholly dedicated to the National League. He feels the same way about the National League that Ban Johnson used to feel about the American. Johnson acted as if there was just one major league. Mr. Giles is equally devoted to the National. He is a great fan. He loves to root. He used to root his head off when he was running the Reds. Now he has to be careful not to show any partiality—except in the All-Star Game and the World Series. Then he lets go. As for the talk going around that National League umpires are trying to embarrass Giles by calling all those balks, that's nonsense. Mr. Giles is the best friend the umpires ever had."
That night at the ball game Warren Giles sat in a box with friends. His box is on the third-base line, a score of rows back from the front. He sat with folded arms, impassive throughout as Joe Nuxhall pitched a five-hit shutout for the Reds against the St. Louis Cardinals. It must have been particularly difficult for Mr. Giles to maintain his neutrality that evening, because he himself had signed Nuxhall as a boy of 15—the youngest pitcher ever to appear in a major league game to this day.
"Mr. Giles," said a neighbor, "what do you think of 12-team leagues?"
"Twelve-team leagues will come eventually," said Mr. Giles, "but not until we have the players to supply four new clubs. I think we will have to come to a complete subsidy of the minor leagues. We are working to encourage college baseball. We would like to see boys going to college on baseball scholarships endowed by the major leagues, and see the college teams play a summer schedule. One collegiate summer league has already been organized in Illinois. And, in order to attract boys to baseball, we will have to see that minor league salaries are raised. Many of the young men will be married and will have to earn enough to support a family. The 12-team leagues would make for better scheduling, with eastern and western divisions in both leagues."
"Mr. Giles," the neighbor went on, "people still talk of you as commissioner when Mr. Frick retires—in two years, I believe? Would you consider—"
"I am 67 years old," interrupted Mr. Giles, holding up his hands. "The commissionership is utterly out of the question. I wouldn't consider it even if my name were brought up—which I think is quite unlikely."
He folded his arms again and studied Joe Nuxhall out on the mound. He sat that way quietly for the rest of the game, looking just right for the role in which fate had cast him, looking like honest Warren Giles, who strives to please—and succeeds in pleasing—the baseball masters he serves.