Sisler's players are not so impressed with his confidence in their big bats. At a recent meeting, from which the manager and coaches were banned, the Reds discussed ways and means of using the hit-and-run as well as stealing bases on their own. Such conclaves have become popular in the big leagues, reflecting a certain intrateam spirit without demeaning the role of the manager, who can't expect to direct every player's individual initiative even if he were inclined to do so. The Reds know they have a complete team.
"If only O'Toole came around,"' I said to Sisler, "you'd have it made, wouldn't you?"
"Well, now, remember," he said, "we've got a rookie manager."
"We've got a rookie manager."
So what. Managers don't lose pennants. Ballplayers do.
While the Reds took batting practice, Lum Harris, the rookie manager of Houston, watched from the visitor's dugout. "Those guys will kill you with their hitting," he said. "And they're gonna get killed in their bullpen. Now if only O'Toole would shape up...."
The universal concern for Jimmy O'Toole was enough to make a sympathetic Irishman cry in his beer. Last week, I sat in the bullpen and listened to O'Toole talk: "They used to call me O'Tooligan. Now it's 'Hey, you.' "
Tapping his spikes on the bullpen bench, he said, "When you know you've been a winner and you know you can win again, it hurts your pride to see somebody else start ahead of you."
Jim Maloney staggered through seven sweaty innings while the Reds scored 11 runs, enough to win. Unaccountably, Sisler sent Sammy Ellis out from the dugout to warm up and save the win for Maloney. O'Toole, among other Red pitchers in the bullpen, swore at this lost chance to redeem himself by contributing to a victory.