In the unlikeliest of classrooms, the front office of a major league club, Martin Whiteford Marion learned last week that honesty is the best policy. It is one copybook maxim he can put in the bank and draw checks against.
The moving van which hauled the St. Louis Browns' franchise and duffle to Baltimore last winter also carried a contract calling for Marty Marion to manage the team at least one more season. First order of business was a conference between Marion and Arthur H. Ehlers, hired down from Philadelphia to be general manager.
"It is a dreadful ball club," said Marion, who had the quaint notion that his new boss wanted an honest opinion.
Ehlers was aghast. He had thought all along that it was an aggregation of supermen that had run 46� games behind the Yankees in 1953. Marion sought to console him.
"Although they are very poor hitters," he said, borrowing freely from Ring Lardner, "they are also very poor fielders."
"Defeatism," Ehlers cried, and ushered Marion to an outbound bus.
Puzzled, Marion consulted books left over from his year at Georgia Tech. "Honesty's the best policy," wrote Miguel de Cervantes. "I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs," said George Washington in his farewell address.
"Always?" Marion wondered, and went and got a job as coach with the Chicago White Sox. Meanwhile Ford Frick advised Baltimore that Marion's salary must be paid in full.
A TRANQUIL SUMMER
Marion had a tranquil summer. He drew a manager's salary from Baltimore. He drew a coach's wage from Chicago. No longer an active player, he suffered not at all from his undisciplined sacroiliac or his damaged knee or the defeatist attitude which had made him, when he was playing for the Cards, the best shortstop and one of the most resolute competitors of his time.