Sunday August 01, 2010
Say-Hey Quote of the Day
“[Mays] was already revered by black Americans. When New York Yankee rookie pitcher Al Downing visited the Red Rooster in Harlem in 1963, the owner handed him a book to sign. It included autographs from Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Earl Hines, Bill (”Bojangles“) Robinson, and Sugar Ray Robinson. 'The pages were so crowded with such celebrated names,' wrote David Halberstam, 'that it took Downing a long while to find a page with only one name, and he prepared to sign his name there. ”No! No! No!“ said the owner. ”That's Willie Mays's page! No one else signs that page!“'”
—from James S. Hirsch's Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend, which I finished last week, and which is just a joy to read. One of the great takeaways is how much support Willie needed from coaches and managers to do what he did. One assumes he would've done it anyway but you never know. He needed people believing in him because he was so hard on himself. There's a Management 101 course in this book. Pinch the responsibilities and salaries and personalities of employees and you wind up with pinched employees. Nurture them, support them, compliment them, and you might wind up with Willie Mays.