Stengel, predictably, was charming: "Yes, yes, yes, young man, I can see that you want another autograph. Who is this one for? Your grandfather? I see, and I'll bet that your grandfather buys you gloves and bats and balls and probably buys the Japanese kind 'cause they're cheaper and just as good as the American kind.... You say you go down to Shea Stadium and you meet all those Mets, and your teacher says she doesn't believe that you really meet 'em? What's her name? Miss Citzer? Yes, yes, yes." And Stengel wrote: "Dear Miss Citzer, please believe Danny. Casey Stengel."
Williams, unexpectedly, was beautiful. All anyone thought they'd get out of him in the way of an acceptance speech was a "thank you," maybe a "very much" if they got lucky. Instead he said, in part: "I guess every player thinks about going into the Hall of Fame. Now that the moment has come for me I find it difficult to say what is really in my heart, but I know that it is the greatest thrill of my life. I received 280-odd votes from the writers. I know I didn't have 280 close friends among the writers. I know that they voted for me because they felt in their minds, and some in their hearts, that I rated it, and I want to say to them thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart....
"Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel, not just to be as good as someone else but to be better than someone else. This is the nature of man and the name of the game, and I've been a very lucky guy to have worn a baseball uniform, to have struck out or to hit a tape-measure home run. And I hope that some day the names of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson in some way can be added as a symbol of the great Negro players who are not here only because they were not given a chance...."
Of Williams' many fine moments in baseball, this was perhaps his finest.
There are something like 12,000 holes in one scored every year, and it seems that we are informed of every one of them—usually by collect telegram. Once in a while folks even feel compelled to tell us all about their exceptional eagles. We confess we usually make holes in one in our wastebasket with these missives, although sometimes it takes two throws. However, this week we are in receipt of a hole-in-one story that perfectly expresses our sentiments about the feat. Raymond Weicker of Bethlehem, Pa. hooked his shot off the first tee at the Saucon Valley Country Club, and the ball wound up in the 18th hole.
THE FORDS GO BY
When last we left stock car racing it was entangled in a dispute over which factory-backed cars could compete in what races. There was Ford with one hot engine and Chrysler with another, and a set of complicated racing rules that, they both moaned, wouldn't let them on the same track. General Motors, for its part, feigned disinterest and wished a pox on both their specially bored engine blocks.
Then, two weeks ago, Chrysler said it was pulling out of stock car racing and urged Ford to do likewise. Chrysler said that aside from saving $2� million a year, its departure would give the little, independent driver a break.
Did Ford tag along? Not on your Fair-lane. Last week Ford announced that it was going to vastly expand its role in racing—in fact, spend more than $10 million annually on the game. And to Ralph Nader and company, who claim racing only encourages kids to mash the accelerator, Ford said that it has produced better and safer automobiles.
All this leaves the small driver back up the old financial creek. It also makes the future indefinite for such Chrysler-backed aces as Richard Petty, who has driven Plymouths to national titles.