CHILLS IN BROOKLYN
Besides his insomnia, Lopez owns what the doctors call a "nervous stomach." It first developed while he was catching at Brooklyn around 1933 and a Park Avenue doctor told him it was probably due to his habit of going to bed with the morning papers and a pint of ice cream. He gave up chilling his stomach so thoroughly at bedtime and lost the symptoms for a while but they recurred during every tense season he had as a player and showed up once again when he did his first managing in the minor leagues. He has had his nervous stomach ever since and has to avoid all raw foods like poison, especially in the thick of a pennant fight.
In a reminiscent mood recently, Lopez was elaborating on how much pleasure he had as a player, in a career which began at 16 when he caught the great Walter Johnson in an exhibition game in Tampa and then went on to embrace a world's record of 1,918 games as a big-league catcher with Brooklyn, Boston, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. "Man, I loved playing," he said. "I always had a lot of fun."
"What's wrong with managing?" asked a listener. "Don't you have any fun as a manager?"
Lopez said with utterly honest simplicity, "Hell, no."
Despite the critics of the Lopez system, the chances are that his players know this, sympathize with his problems much as he sympathizes with theirs, and give him their best without any need of lashing. "There's only one thing worse than losing a game," said Pitcher Bob Lemon recently, "and that's watching Al sit there in the clubhouse and stare at his toes after you've lost one."