"I'll tell you, tell you this: in any field of endeavor the difference between the good and the great is that voluntary willingness to make that little extra effort that is not demanded by the boss or the coach. That little extra which comes from within oneself. That was ingrained into me by Rockne.
"God love him...and may I never lose it."
CURVE BALL NO. 1
Thomas J. Watson Sr., a white-haired man of erect carriage and commanding presence in spite of his 81 years, presented 251 sports trophies (see page 3O) to employees of his International Business Machines Corporation and their offspring the other day for achievements in just about everything from quoits to volleyball. In the course of doing so he casually let drop that he knew who pitched the first curve ball.
The occasion was IBM's 40th semiannual sports trophy dinner, held in the gymnasium of the employee-run Country Club's new $750,000 field house near Endicott, New York. Before efficiently passing out the trophies in 14 minutes flat, Watson summed up the benefits of industry's recreational programs: "People who play well together, work well together." And then he told about the curve ball pitcher, John B. Stanch-field of Amherst College (1872-76), who later became a director of IBM.
"While practicing with his battery mate one day," Watson said, "Stanch-field accidentally gripped the ball with his fingers a certain way and let go a curve. All winter he and his catcher practiced the pitch and in the spring played Princeton. Stanchfield struck out every Princeton man as fast as he picked up a bat.
"The scientists challenged young Mr. Stanchfield—said a curve ball could not be thrown. The argument got rather hot and one of the scientists wrote to the president of Amherst and suggested that an end be put to this ridiculous claim. The president called Stanchfield into his office and said, 'See here, young man, you will have to stop making these ridiculous claims about a curve ball. Now will you please apologize and stop this nonsense?' "
But Stanchfield asked the president to step out to a tobacco barn nearby.
"He threw the ball," Watson related, "and it disappeared around the corner of the barn and the president of Amherst was astounded."
And to the young people gathered at the dinner, Watson suggested that a lesson might be drawn from this.