I am running
again for governor of Kentucky in order to give the people a little better
choice than they have now. I expect to win. As I said, I am an optimistic
fellow. I am sure some of this was inherited from my father, Joseph S.
Chandler. My father is in Heaven now, but if they aren't playing baseball there
he isn't having much fun. He never played much himself, he was such a scrawny
little fellow, but he was a fan all his life. He enjoyed my triumphs in
politics, but I don't think he enjoyed anything as much as he did the day I
introduced him to Connie Mack. He was speechless.
The two of us
went through a lot together, collecting steel ribs. My mother left him when I
was 4, and I can recall the moment as though it were yesterday. I was sitting
on the bed, one of those old-fashioned double feather beds that keep you so
warm in winter, and I could hear the voices. My father was preparing to take my
mother to the train, and he asked if she wanted the children. "I'll take
Robert," she said. "No, take them both or leave both. I'll not have
them split up," my father said. "I'll take Robert but not Albert,"
my mother insisted. "He looks too much like you."
For 75 years my
father served the people of Corydon, where I was born, in a variety of roles,
one of which called for him to cut the grass in the graveyard and around the
church. I watched him progress from the hand scythe to machinery and the rotary
power motors that are so devastating. One day he put his right hand in to
extract a stick and came out 3½ fingers short.
I was governor at
the time. When I heard the news I rushed over to Corydon trying to frame in my
mind some words of commiseration. While I was still a long way off I saw my
father and knew immediately that I need not have worried. He held up that
mangled hand and shouted, "Look, son, how much I have left!"
That is the sort
of optimism I inherited from my father. Despite my troubles from baseball I
accumulated a wealth of friends—some unforgettable characters like Gabe Paul,
Jim Gallagher, the Griffiths, the Macks, Horace Stoneham, the Dreyfuss family,
Frank McKinney, Torchy Torrence of Seattle, John McHale and the Briggs family
and the Wrigleys and Comiskeys and, of course, my assistant as commissioner,
Dick Butler—and a basement full of memorabilia. I think about those things,
those people, those memories and I have to say to myself, "Look how much
I've got left."