Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.

Tua Culpa, Don Mattingly

by Tony Medley

There is an old axiom about baseball, "Managers don't win ball games." Whether or not that's true, what is inescapably true is that managers do lose ball games, and Don Mattingly was on a roll in the recently concluded loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, to wit:

  1. With one out in the top of the ninth inning of the fourth (and final) playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals and the Dodgers trailing by one run, the Dodgers had a pinch runner on first, Yasiel Puig. The count against pinch hitter Justin Turner was 3-2. Mattingly should have had Puig running on this pitch. If Turner strikes out, which he did, there still a good chance that Puig would successfully steal second and the Dodgers would then have a runner in scoring position with singles hitter Dee Gordon coming up. In fact, Gordon then hit a single down the third base line and Puig would’ve scored the tying run had he successfully stolen second on the 3-2 pitch to Turner. Having Puig attempt to steal second is not only not foolhardy, there is precedent for it in the Dodgers’ own past. In the 4th game of the 1947 World Series the Dodgers had been no-hit for 8 2/3 innings by Yankees’ pitcher Bill Bevens, even though Bevens walked ten men in the game. One of those was Carl Furillo with two outs in the ninth. Dodgers’ manager Burt Shotton put Al Gionfriddo in to run for Furillo and Gionfriddo promptly stole second (as Puig should have done). Bevens walked Eddie Miksis and then pinch hitter Cookie Lavagetto hit a double down the right field line to win the game for the Dodgers as both Gionfriddo and Miksis scored when right fielder Tommy Henrich mishandled the ball off the wall. But Mattingly clearly does not have the competitive fortitude of Burt Shotton because he catatonically kept Puig nailed at first so Yasiel could only get to second base on Gordon’s hit and then Carl Crawford ended the game and the Dodgers’ season with a groundout to second.


  1. When making out the lineup for each game, the first name Mattingly should have put down was Justin Turner, the best hitter on the Dodgers and the best hitter in the National League in 2014 with a .340 batting average. But Turner languished on the bench throughout the entire series, making only three pinch hitting appearances. How can you keep your best hitter on the bench for all four games of the most important series of the year? It boggles the imagination. It’s also pretty stunning that nobody has raised this issue, but that’s what you have me for.


  1. Extraordinarily inept handling of pitchers. Pulling Hyun-Jin Ryu after 6 innings of 5-hit pitching in the third game with the game tied 1-1 was nonsense. Ryu had allowed just one run on a home run and was pitching well. His replacement, Scott Elbert, promptly allowed 3 hits and the two game-winning runs in 2/3 of an inning. Worse was Mattingly pulling Zack Greinke in the second game after seven innings of almost flawless pitching (no runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts) just because he had thrown 100 pitches (103, actually). His replacement, J.P. Howell, immediately allowed a double and a home run to tie the game. Mattingly still left Howell in to pitch to yet another batter (who also got a hit), and was only saved by Matt Kemp’s home run that won the game for the Dodgers. So Mattingly pulls Greinke after 7 innings of 2-hit pitching, but he leaves in his reliever after 2 hits by the first two batters, a double and a home run. There’s some kind of reasoning here? Regardless of the outcome of the game, the decision was senseless, for several reasons. The first is there was no reason to pull Greinke because he was dominant. The second is that the Dodgers’ bullpen is one of the worst in history, so why would you pull one of the best pitchers in baseball for somebody who probably isn’t even good enough to pitch in the major leagues? But I need not go on about how all managers in the major leagues are completely clueless about pitching. The Dodgers’ pitching strength is in their starters, not their bullpen. They need a manager who believes in complete games, but that will require them finding someone who isn’t cowed by all the goofy thinking that permeates baseball today, a difficult task, indeed. I know of only one person who fits that bill.


October 9, 2014