LW: What about another oldtimer like Walker Cooper?
: Don't forget, Hutch and I were coming into the organization from another league. I bought Cooper because he knew the National League. We did everything we possibly could to get people with a knowledge of the league.
LW: What about the spirit of your Cardinal club when it knows there is a lot of trading going on? Doesn't that affect the team play?
: Definitely not. Ballplayers are professionals. They're sitting on top of the world and know it. If they don't play here, they know they'll be playing somewhere else. Their salary is affected by the team's play and their own individual effort. If we are trying to make a better team, they have no complaints. We could have been hurt if Blasingame didn't measure up to Schoendienst on the field. Then the pitchers might feel that the trade had hurt them, and there you might have affected the team's spirit. It's really only the fringe player who is affected by trades. He doesn't know whether to send his laundry out or where to send it.
LW: Some of the fans say that they would rather see the traditional Cardinals finish in seventh place than see a patchwork team of cast-offs win the pennant
: It's the synthetic fan from California that says that. Tradition is fine, but you have to win. You can't keep telling the fans to come back next year because we're going to develop our kids this year. Pretty soon they'll say—"O.K., we'll be back in 1957"—and not come out this year. Mr. Rickey has forgotten more baseball than I'll ever know, but it wasn't fair to the Pittsburgh fans to give them those five poor years while he was building. I believe the fans are entitled to see good baseball even while you're building.
LW: You talk as if you have been vindicated by a winning ball club. But the Cards aren't winning much more than they were this time last year
: Who the hell has a right to expect too much of this ball club? They were seventh—a poor seventh—last year. Hutch has gotten everything out of this club anyone could. Sure I'm disappointed anytime we lose. But you've got to be realistic. You compare our personnel with Brooklyn's for instance. This is a tough league this year. It's a much tougher league than I thought it was. Don't forget, the season isn't over yet. If we win 10 more games than the Cardinals of 1955, we have made definite improvements despite what the synthetic fans might think.
LW: You're gambling with trades on improving the Cardinals. Now, the big gambler at Monte Carlo blows his brains out if he loses everything. What does Frank Lane do if his gambles don't pay off?
: First of all, there's some question about whether I have brains. Look, I could have sat back this year and said I was getting acquainted, and protected my position here. But I would consider myself a definite failure if I did that and, without doing something about it, made excuses about the performance of the ballplayers I had. I have to try to do my job and improve the ball club. And naturally I have to produce or, when my contract is out, Mr. Busch will get someone else. And I wouldn't blame him.