In effect, that was my last season as a player. I was 6 and 6 with the Dodgers through August 1957, but neither I nor the Dodgers were going anywhere, and Brooklyn traded me to the Yankees, who thought I could help them. The thing that disturbed me was that I was traded after the Series deadline, so I couldn't pitch against Milwaukee, a team I generally had little trouble with. I imagine if I had beaten Milwaukee in the Series the Dodgers would never have heard the end of it from the Braves. But I wish I had been eligible. That would have made me the only person to have played with all three New York teams in a World Series. As it was, I won two games for the Yanks in the regular season, saved a couple more and gave them the book on the Braves—lots of slow, breaking stuff.
I was 1 and 1 in June the next year when Casey Stengel called me and said, "Sal, we're sending you to St. Louis." The Cards had a chance to win the pennant that year, and I won my first two ball games. But then Kay was operated on, and I went to her bedside for 10 days. Fred Hutchinson, a real man, was the manager. He told me, "Sal, go on home. Your family comes first." When I got back to the Cards it was hard for me to regain my condition. But it wasn't just me—the whole club fell apart.
That was the end of playing for me. I went to spring training in St. Pete the next spring and was getting ready in my own easy way when Solly Hemus, the new manager, came over to me and said, "We're letting you go, but we want you to work in the higher minors with our pitchers." I waited three weeks before saying yes or no. I felt I could still win. But I was 41, I had a high salary and that was the end of my career.
I did a lot of traveling for the Cards, driving 27,000 miles in 3� months. Gibson was one of the pitchers I worked with. He was in Omaha. Marshall Bridges was in Rochester, and I helped him with a slider. Ray Sadecki and Bob Miller were also in the Cardinal system. I liked teaching, and when Billy Jurges, who had been named manager of the Red Sox, gave me a call to ask if I'd be his pitching coach I said yes, although I could still pitch if he wanted. Just coach, Jurges said. I was with the Red Sox from 1960 on, except for a three-year break from 1963 through 1965 when I stayed home in Niagara Falls to be with Kay. She was very sick, but when I finally realized there was absolutely nothing I could do I went back to the Sox in the spring of '66. Kay died in February 1967.
Last October the Red Sox let me go. This season I'll be out of the majors. I'll be at Niagara Falls with my boys. I have property. I have investments. I may do some work for the Buffalo club, where I started out in organized ball 30 years ago. Maybe I'll get back to the majors in a year. I'd like to coach, but maybe I'll be out of baseball for the rest of my life. Who knows? When I went to the Mexican League people said I was finished. I proved I wasn't. I have a lot of confidence in what I can do. I'd like to manage. I don't go along with the tradition that holds that only catchers or second-string players make managers. I believe I'd make a damn good manager. I was a damn good pitcher. Pitching is the name of the game, and I've always pitched to win.