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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.