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The A.R.T. of a Champ - "Respect"

posted Jan 11, 2016, 9:21 AM by Ray Hughes   [ updated Jan 11, 2016, 9:25 AM ]

 1 Peter 2:17 (NLT) "Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king."

“That wasn’t Schoendienst,” I blurted out.  “That was Benson (the Cardinals third base coach). Benson is the one who call the shots over there.  Everybody knows that.”

I thought I knew that but I had only heard it second hand.   Red seemed like a pleasant, friendly guy, but he would never be confused with Albert Einstein. Later, I got traded to the Cardinals and became friends with him.  He was a prince of a guy and an astute baseball man.  I mentioned what I had heard to Simmons and he was surprised. 

“Red managed that team,” he said.  “He was a great manager.  Sure, he relied on Vern a lot because Vern was a good baseball man too.  But Red was special.  One of the best friends I’ve ever had in baseball.”

As he got a little older, Red went back to coaching.   Whenever we played the Cardinals, I made it a point to talk to him while he was hitting fungoes to the infielders during batting practice.  Ozzie Smith loved him.  And I have never quite forgiven myself for the hateful words, uttered boastfully and in ignorance.

The fact is that Red won two championships with the Cardinals as their manager and finished second three times in fourteen years.  Who knows if anyone else could have done better?  Certainly not a 25 year-old pitcher on another team who had never met him. 

This taught me a very important lesson about judging.  Before you cast a judgment (if you cast it at all), you had better know the facts.  Who among us would like to be convicted on hearsay evidence.  Until you really know someone, show a little respect.  The way they seem at first may be totally different from the way they are.

-Larry Dierker