"In the majors I would have told you to deliberately walk him. That was the play. But we're here to learn, and I want you to learn what I mean by pitching around a hitter.
"In that situation, with a runner in scoring position, the hitter is eager. Start him with a fastball all the way in on his belly. He's so eager he may swing, but he's not going to hurt you off a pitch like that. Then when you curve him, get it in the dirt. Not just low. In the dirt. He's still eager. If he walks, you aren't hurt, and if he swings at a bouncing curve, you aren't hurt either. But you gave him a pitch he could hit, and he hit it and it scored a run, and that's what we lost by. One run.
"For you hitters, look at that situation in reverse. Control your eagerness. That's a mental discipline. There's a lot of mental discipline in the game. But you've got nothing to be ashamed of. Tulsa is a good club. They wanted the game more than you did, and they got it."
Rain beat fiercely on the iron roof. "Do you have any questions?" Moon asked me.
"I'd like to ask how many of you gentlemen hope to play in the major leagues?" The boys, 18 to 21 years old, looked at one another. Then slowly, shyly, all 24 of the Golden Eagles raised their hands.
"How many have a chance?" I asked Moon after the players had left.
"Probably none," Moon said. "The shortstop is good, but he's 21 years old. I've seen another college shortstop just about as good and he's 18. A big three years. Then you figure beyond all the college shortstops, there are all the boys already in the minors playing 140 games a year, kids from all over the country and Latin America, and you realize what the odds are against Chuck Gardner. He'll play minor league ball. So will a few of the others. But most of them will go on from here to teach and coach. I want them to enjoy the game, but I want them to learn technique and conduct and discipline as well." Moon stood up. "Maybe they can pass on what I give them to others."
We went to a Rotary meeting then. We stood to pledge allegiance, and we sang America the Beautiful under the fervid conducting of a doctor named John Moose. I remembered morning chapels in my grade school and how every afternoon we played baseball on a gravelly field and how we sometimes admitted that our dream was to play baseball in the majors. (None of us did.)
For all the fresh, clean-shaven faces of Moon's Golden Eagles, the trip to Siloam Springs was like a voyage into the past. Leaving town I saw a sign that read: