Among all sports,
baseball executives are the managerial mix-masters. Baseball people have been
playing and refining managerial musical chairs for the better part of a
century. While it may seem a complicated and inefficient way to get everyone
back more or less to where they started from, it is a very compassionate
employment and deployment system. Once a man enters the charmed circle, he may
have to do a lot of moving around, even occasionally sit out a season or so,
but with a few breaks these men keep on managing until an NBC producer or their
Maker calls. It is one of the interesting phenomena of the Grand Old Game that
the more often a manager is fired, the better his chances of being hired.
Detroit Tiger manager is Ralph Houk, who has been a member of the managerial
club for nearly 15 years. Houk is a large straight arrow who while being
interviewed wears what might be called a serious smile, as though he were
constantly on guard against being molested by a teller of shaggy-dog
he is asked, "why do you think the same managers keep getting hired again
and again? Aren't there enough people around who can manage?"
answer that. You'd have to ask a general manager," says Houk with a serious
smile. "Maybe there is a tendency to go with an experienced man because he
can handle the problems that come up because he is experienced."
believe it is a good thing to change managers every now and then, just to shake
Definitely not," Houk says, and smiles seriously. "A man has got to get
to know the organization from the farm system on up. The more stability you
have, the stronger the organization."
were the Yankee general manager you hired Johnny Keane and fired him a year
were some problems there. We lost a lot of the players who had carried us.
Keane maybe was not familiar with the organization."
must have been with the Yankees 97 years and you fired him after he'd managed
for just one year."
were other problems there. There is no point in going into that."