Kauffman is sure
he will be able to resist the temptation to try to run the affairs of the ball
club. "When I replaced myself as sales manager of Marion Laboratories,"
Kauffman says, "I saw a lot of things that the man I had put in was doing
wrong, but I didn't interfere. I let him learn by his own mistakes. I know
sales management. So if I could resist the temptation to tell my sales manager
what to do I'm sure I'll be able to resist interfering in baseball, about which
I know nothing."
conscious that the occupational life of a baseball player is much shorter than
that of a drug firm employee and that it becomes less rather than more valuable
with age. He does not envision stock benefits and retirement funds for his
players, but he does for his management and front-office personnel. He believes
that the benefits he will offer his people should enable him to build a
first-class organization quickly.
has received permission to negotiate with a man currently employed by an
American League team whom he'd like to hire as his executive vice-president.
Says Kauffman: "Probably our organization would be patterned after the
Yankees', with the key men the executive vice-president and the director of
player personnel. As I've said, I go by the law of averages. I also believe
strongly in quality. I'd rather have 10 $50,000 ballplayers than 50 $10,000
Because his tax
situation makes it impractical, Kauffman will take nothing financially from the
team. Any profits will go to improving it. "If money will build a ball
team," he says, "I'm willing to spend it. I would say a first-division
team in five to seven years would be a reasonable goal. I suppose I'll suffer
awhile, but I'm hoping for a pennant inside of 10 years."
As the first local
owner of Kansas City's major league team, Kauffman would be refreshingly
different from his predecessors, Arnold Johnson of Chicago, who moved the A's
from Philadelphia in 1955 and operated the club as though it were a farm team
for the Yankees, and the stormy insurance executive, Charles O. Finley, also
from Chicago. The two got the franchise largely because Kansas City's rich men,
influenced by conservative local banking interests, stood around and did
nothing. The result was years of turmoil and finally desertion by Finley.
Unless baseball, a
game controlled by men who are easily frightened by signs of generosity,
suddenly turns down Kauffman, he promises to be a bright addition to the scene.
He is candid, accessible and makes no attempt to conceal either his wealth or
the fact that he finds its possession vastly enjoyable. If this be heresy,
Kansas City and baseball can use a lot more of it.