Virdon had not yet built up a following in one year. The fans saw him and questioned how good he was.
If Virdon hits .300 and Del Greco .230, we'll hear about it at the end of the year. But there are still 60 games to go. I needed a right-hand-hitting center fielder, and we felt that Del Greco had a better future than Virdon.
LW: Everyone knows the big weakness of the Cardinals is pitching, yet you traded away Lawrence who has won 15 games and Haddix who has won nine. Wouldn't you be in great shape with them on the team?
: Well, if I had known Lawrence would win 15 games for us, I would never have traded him. You charge me with getting rid of a 15-game-winning pitcher. Well, Lawrence wasn't a 15-game winner for the Cards last year. Our club physician was very concerned over Lawrence's bleeding ulcers. Now we wonder if all our pitchers shouldn't have bleeding ulcers. I still question whether he would have won 15 games pitching for this St. Louis Club.
LW: Well, anyway, your pitching is still terrible
: Look, I haven't improved the pitching to the extent I'd hoped to. In fact, some people question whether it's improved at all. But at least we knew we had to try. In spring training, we were getting good pitching. But Haddix was no good at all. I had been told by people in the organization as far back as October not to count on Haddix. I never second-guess myself on deals. If you do, you never make other deals. I'm not concerned with the guys I got rid of. Just the ones I've got.
LW: Last spring you gave out glowing accounts of the Cardinals' finishing third this year, and you sounded as if you really expected them to win the pennant
: Like I said, the pitching looked good in spring training. But that's deceptive.
LW: Why all those old pitchers like Dickson, Kinder and Wehmeier that you have picked up?
: We wanted to improve this club's pitching immediately. We have some good young pitchers in the farm system, but they are a few years away. Sometimes you trade for pitchers to fill an immediate need. They can give you a breather while the kids develop. I got Dickson for his pitching maturity, and Wehmeier may yet reach the maturity expected of him ever since he broke in. I signed Kinder for a definite purpose; I was hopeful he would get us off the ground at the beginning of the season. The Cardinals had a lot of good young players in spring training, but it wasn't a team. You just can't win with nothing but kids. I was trying to supplement the kids with veterans to get us over the hump. If our pitching jelled, we had a chance for the pennant. But it didn't. We still need pitching, pitching, pitching.