When the major league baseball owners abruptly forced General William Eckert into retirement a month ago, the action was criticized for being cruel and heartless but secretly admired for being evidence of a new, refreshing trend. Baseball had recognized at last that it needed vigorous leadership, and the often warring owners had united in a search for that leadership. Then, in mid-December, came news that an all-night session of baseball's hierarchy had failed to produce the new leader and that the 19 fruitless ballots had split along narrow lines of league prejudice. Baseball had gone out and bought a new, modern, slimline suit, but the same old potbelly thinking was ruining the fit.
Maybe baseball can still come up with a winner, as the NFL did when it took on Pete Rozelle, who is an owners' man but who runs their business with a ruthless insistence on doing what is right for them, whether they like it or not. Maybe baseball will, but right now it sure doesn't look like it.
—SI, Jan. 6, 1969
After a recent television interview, Yankee coach Yogi Berra was given a check for $100. The check read, "Pay to Bearer." Yogi took a look at it and said to the interviewer, "Come on. You've known me long enough to know how to spell my name."
—Sept. 11, 1978
If It Ain't Broke....
Somebody usually turns up every spring with a fistful of notes on how to improve upon the game of baseball.
In Huntsville, Texas, the other day, the University of Houston and Sam Houston State put some of the latest theories to a test. It all boiled down to a formula for speeding up the old game: Two outs made an inning, two strikes were out, and three balls drew a walk.
Ultimate conclusion by all hands: Baseball is better with all the old fussing around—the pitcher's fiddling with the rosin bag, the feigned speck in the batter's eye, the long, slow walk of the relief pitcher from the bullpen and the full 3-and-2 count that is sometimes agonizingly prolonged by foul balls.
What's all the hurry anyway? A man in a hurry has no place in a ballpark.
—May 12, 1958
Taking Their Cuts