Connie could be generous and domineering and obstinate and considerate and tough as an old boot in a business transaction and patient beyond belief. Into what would be a doddering age for other men, he could out-think any adversary in his sleep.
One of his terrible wartime teams was leading Cleveland when the Indians put runners on second and third base with one out. When the Indian on third was trapped in a run-up, Lou Boudreau, the runner on second, advanced to third and waited while Hal Wagner, the Philadelphia catcher, chased the other man back to the bag. Finding the base occupied by his manager, the runner trotted on out the left field line, where Wagner tagged him, having first tagged Boudreau.
The Athletics made a perfunctory argument for a double play but the umpires called Boudreau safe since he was standing on the base when tagged. Then Connie poked his head out of the dugout and beckoned. Joe Rue, the umpire, scampered in obediently.
"Er, Mr. Grieve," Connie began politely, although Willie Grieve, another umpire, wasn't near Cleveland that night. "Mr. Grieve, don't you think that the moment that other man stepped back of third base, Boudreau was closer to the plate and therefore is out for passing another runner? Then the other man was tagged in left field, so they're both out."
It was so ruled. In the whole ball park, only Connie could get the play right and the umpire's name wrong.