Seventy-five years ago today, September 27, 1936, baseball Hall of Famer Walter Alston started and ended his career as a big league player: One at bat, one strike out, and one error.
After his lone day at first base for the St. Louis Cardinals, Alston went on to be one of the top ten managers in baseball history as skipper for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers.
It took Alston eighteen years to make it back to the bigs. He managed at every minor league level along the way, encouraging young stars and consoling those who weren’t.
After pondering Alston’s career, and what attributes lift a manager to the top—even to the Presidency—it dawned on me who should be next in line for that job.
We all know the guy.
He’s not the CEO of your company, or the principal of your school, although either might be well qualified.
He’s never held public office and can’t spell triangulate. But, he worked out a problem with his roofer by giving disputed money to charity.
Last week of his one kids made the varsity, and the other was passed over by every sorority in her school. He wept tears of joy and sorrow.
Today he lost his job. But, tomorrow he’ll awake at 5 AM, kiss his wife, and soldier on.
He lives next door, and across town. He’s the guy that lets you in when traffic is backed up, and stops to help your daughter change her tire.
He’s not a Democrat, a Republican, black, white, Latino, or otherwise. He’s just an average guy trying to manage what life throws at him.
If today were the end of his career, he’d be little remembered.
However, if like Walt Alston, he had a chance to manage a few seasons from a bigger dug out—say the one on Pennsylvania Ave.—who knows, we might even be World Champions again.
Malcolm D. Gibson
All Rights Reserved