And it did more than that. It put another bee in the Johnson bonnet. Now that he owned the Kansas City ball park, he began to think of the town as a major league candidate.
"I was inspired by the success of the Braves in Milwaukee," Johnson says, "and a little investigation convinced me that Kansas City could become an even better baseball town. It's a prosperous, industrious, growing city with a great civic spirit."
Johnson's confidence in Kansas City was equaled only by the town's confidence in him. On the strength of Johnson's bid for the A's, Kansas City voted a bond issue to enlarge the baseball stadium to major league proportions (35,000 seats) and then pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars for tickets to see a ball club that was only a gleam in Johnson's eye.
Last week, seated in his plush, paneled, thickly carpeted office in Chicago's Merchandise Mart, Johnson looked a man big-league baseball could use. Although he appeared completely relaxed and nerveless as he twirled his horn-rimmed glasses and chatted easily, a visitor could not fail to get the impression that deep thinking processes were in motion behind the composed Johnson facade. This impression is confirmed by those visitors who take note of the big window in the office. It is so placed as to command a spectacular view of the skyline across the Chicago River. It would, too, except that Johnson has had it frosted over. It is his theory that you don't dream up big deals by staring out of windows.
Baseball may hear again from the man behind the frosted window.
What football means
Anyone who was at the Yale football dinner of February, 1951 will be interested to know what ever became of Kilborn Church. They called him "Killer" but he was the least ept football player the Ivy League ever saw?at Yale, anyhow, if not at Harvard.
Well, Church is now a methods supervisor for the Reliance Electric and Engineering Company of Cleveland. He has a wife?a New Haven girl he married two days after graduation?and a boy coming up to two months old. He is 29 and hasn't filled out any, still a skinny man with pipestem legs, 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 155 pounds, which is about what he was when he went out for football.
"All I needed," he says today, "was 40 more pounds and I would have been murder."
He carried this idea with him through college, going out for the varsity every fall and never coming close to making it. After a couple of years of that nonsense coaches and players developed a liking for him. They kidded his every awkward move but they also put him in the 1950 Harvard game in his senior year?for two plays?so that he could make his letter.