The man laughed self-consciously. "Yes. It's for my nephew. My brother named him after you. My brother is a real nut."
"Gee, thanks a lot," said Williams. "Thanks a lot."
On a flight out of Nairobi the discoverer was the man in the seat ahead of Williams. He rose up on his knees to face around and offered himself for conversation. Eventually he asked Williams what made a good manager.
"To have enthusiasm," Williams said, "to show enthusiasm, not just in a game but from spring training on. To be on top of it every minute. Then, then, to know enough to have guys around you who can help a guy—who can teach a guy. That's a key. There's very little really good teaching done in baseball today. I'm convinced of that.
"So, if you have that, and if you have that little extra that Casey Stengel could get out of a team, and you've got good pitching—well, there's where it pays off. You talk about the great teams and they always had good pitching. The Yankees. Cleveland. The pitching kept them in the close games. Then in the late innings, boom, something happened, and they won."
"And a manager makes this happen?"
"He can. He can. But in a variety of ways. I'm keyed up all the time, trying to keep guys alert, asking questions, trying to get them to think. It's my nature. But I watched Hodges in the Series, sitting in the dugout, arms crossed. Never changed position. But he had enthusiastic coaches and a young club full of life, and—and—he had a businesslike attitude, and a team has to have that, too. The kind of attitude Joe McCarthy always instilled in a team. McCarthy never made a big scene.
"The Mets had another thing important to an organization. They had people who were willing to spend money. Mrs. Payson went out and bought what was necessary, and guys were getting paid and that makes for a good atmosphere. And I'll tell you something else. I wouldn't be surprised if the Mets kept winning for a long time."
At midnight Bob Addie of The Washington Post, having persevered through the labyrinth of intercontinental overseas telephone, reached Williams, back on the ground, to tell him he had been named Manager of the Year in the American League.
"Boy, just like the Russian secret police," Williams shouted. "Are you sure? Well, yes, I'm flabbergasted, Bob. But I'll tell you something. It was just another example of the writers being wrong again. Weaver and Martin deserved it more. I'm happy for myself, but I feel bad for them."