- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Mrs. Charles Shipman Payson, the principal stockholder of the New York baseball club that will join the National League in 1962, is looking for a name for her team. She has been flooded with nominations from local fans, and the other day she invited some sportswriters to make a few apt selections. Their choices were: Continentals, Skyliners, Burros, Skyscrapers, Rebels, Bees, NYBs, Mets, Jets and Avengers.
We don't believe any of these will finally be chosen. At the moment, Mrs. Payson is partial to the name Meadow Larks for her team, since it will eventually play its home games in a new stadium located in New York's Flushing Meadow.
Stengel, predictably, was charming: "Yes, yes, yes, young man, I can see that you want another autograph. Who is this one for? Your grandfather? I see, and I'll bet your grandfather buys you gloves and bats and balls and probably buys the Japanese kind 'cause they're cheaper and just as good as the American kind.... You say you go down to Shea Stadium and you meet all those Mets, and your teacher says she doesn't believe that you really meet 'em? What's her name? Miss Citzer? Yes. yes, yes." And Stengel wrote: "Dear Miss Citzer, please believe Danny. Casey Stengel."
Williams, unexpectedly, was beautiful. All anyone thought they would get out of him in the way of an acceptance speech was a "thank you," maybe a "very much" if they got lucky. Instead he said, in part, "I guess every player thinks about going into the Hall of Fame. Now that the moment has come for me, I find it difficult to say what is really in my heart, but I know that it is the greatest thrill of my life. I received 280-odd votes from the writers. I know I didn't have 280 close friends among the writers. I know that they voted for me because they felt in their minds, and some in their hearts, that I rated it, and I want to say to them thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart....
"Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel, not just to be as good as someone else but to be better than someone else. This is the nature of man and the name of the game, and I've been a very lucky guy to have worn a baseball uniform, to have struck out or to hit a tape-measure home run. And I hope that someday the names of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson in some way can be added as a symbol of the great Negro players who are not here only because they were not given a chance...."
Of Williams's many fine moments in baseball, this was perhaps his finest.