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i THE STANDARD MAGAZINE SECTION QG DEN, UTAB,
I Trying Out Hugo Bezdek and a "Mew idea" In Easeball
BY J. B. SHEIUDATT.
T HEN Barnev Dreyfus mado
WW Hugo Bezdek, a bold Bohc-
mian, managor of the Pltts
burg club a great experiment was
fl mado in baseball. For Bczdok never
was a professional baseball player, not
even an amateur of any great repute.
I It was a3 a football player with the
University of Chicago that Bczdck
earned fame. He had been a tenth
rato professional boxer and he had
played some college and amateur base
fl , ball; he had taught football and basc
ball at the universities of Arkansas
and Oregon and acted as a scout for
1 the Pittsburg club. The spheres of his
activities kept him from seeing many
fl major league ball games. He has glv-
en baseball not even the study of the
fl fenld fan.
j So the coming of Bczdek into base-
i ball means a trial of the New Idea,
j ' the application of the theory of the
, superman, that a man who can do one
Hf I thing well can do all things well. This
H: i is primarily a Germanic theory, at
t least it has been very highly devel-
oped in Germany as a state philosophy.
I It has had some Individualistic fol-
, lowers in the United States. Most suc-
ccssful Americans have believed that
Bt a successful man can do anything suc-
B' ccssfully. Their idea is not entirely
absurd. A successful salesman can
sell all sorts of goods and a success
. ful fiancier can manage all sorts of
J financial institutions.
A Knnagcr of Men.
Bczdek is noted as a manager of
men, a driver, a coaxor, a persuader, a
human dynamo. He knows little about
M, major league baseball, and admits it
ftr j But he understands the fundamental
H; ' i( principles of organization of athletic
teams and of the game which he is
hired to play. So, say the supporters
Hj ' of the Superman idea, Bezdek will be
J a success as a baseball manager.
H' :( The old-line baseball men scout the
idea. Old-time men always scout all
new ideas. Old-line baseball men
RTi scouted the idea introduced in base-
' ball by Branch Rickey. Rickey's ideas
I prevailed. Rickey, to be sure, was a
thoroughly schooled baseball man, a
ji minor and major leaguo player, a col-
Hl I lege man, a lawyer. Bezdek is a col
HV ! lege man, a chemist, a doctor of med
j , icine, a boxer, a wrestler, a strong
j man, everything but a baseball player.
i The experiment that is being tried
at Pittsburg is this: Is an educated
man who has attained some reputation
as a handler of men more likely tq
k score success in baseball, a game of
I which be has only a superficial knowl
I ( edge, than the old-line baseball player
I-- J 1 who is not particularly well educated
I and who knows little of anything but
I 'j baseball?
I Control of the Temper,
j Let It bo understood that some of the
i I reputed smartest baseball men that
' have ever played the game have been
y flat failures as managers, because of
' ' defects of nature and temperament.
i Some of the smart pitchers could turn
I ' out good pitchers, but failed to dc-
j i vclop other players in other positions.
. ' One extraordinary keen pitcher has
1 , been a manager for fifteen years. He
i, has always developed good pitchers,
j I I but he has never been able to judge
) or develop batters, Infielders, outfleld-
I l , ers or catchers.
I j Two great all-around ballplayers,
I '! men who mado great successes as
I, pitchers, catchers, infielders, outfield
ers, hitters and base runners, who
1 -were known as ballplayers of brilliant
I j thinking capacity, failed as managers
I j J because they could not control their
Jp i tempers when their players made mls-
If. 1 takes.
( The brilliant players could not un-
' i dcrstand why every man 'could not
, think or instinctively act as fast and
as properly as they could. They
i would lose patience with stupidity and
i "bawl out" stupid players. This an-
I tagonized the players and demoralized
t the team.
, As a sheer matter of fact, brilliant
; ballplayers, brilliant Instinctive actors,
as well as brilliant manual perform-
i j- ' ere, have rarely made great managers.
I j Comlskcy, Moran, Mack all great
'! ! managers wero mediocre players. In-
i deed, McGraw Is tho only brilliant
i player who made a brilliant manager,
f' And McGrawJs tongue has always been
' a whiplasli on the backs of his men.
m James J. Callahan and Roger Bresna-
K han, two of the greatest allaround
I i ballplayers that have over lived, bril
llant instinctive- actors, have not
V proven winning managers. Hal Chase,
Jlmmlo Collins, Hugh Duffy, Hans
Wagner and a horde of other stars
failed to achieve success as managers.
I Now it is to be proven if tho man
who never has been a professional
' ballplayer, but who hat the breadth or
i mind a college education Is supposed
' 1 to give, and who has established a
i namo for ability to instruct and or
ganize athletic teams can succeed
i" ii where the brilliant natural, but uncul
tivated, player failed.
In other words, in the Bezdek case
we arc up against the old fetich of
"the capable organizer and executive."
This interesting man was born in
the country near Prague, Bohemia,
some thirty-three years ago. His fore
fathers had been school-teachers,
strong men and athletes. Bezdek is a
man of great strength. He inherited
It from a long line of huge and power
The family emigrated to America
When Hugo Bezdek was 6 years old.
Young Bezdek took to the sports of
American boys and grew great, most
ly laterally, as he grew older. He
could do a man's work in the hay
field or at the forge when he was 1-1
yearB old. Ho loved to box, wrestle
and play football. He could play
baseball, too, but it was not .by any
means his favorite game.
Bezdek Is an oddity In one regard:
Most baseball men are studying pro
fessions or taking steps to get out of
the game, to be something other than
athletes. Bezdek is a chemist, a doc
tor, a linguist, but he wants to con
tinue In athletics.
"I have been Interested in athletics
since I came to America," said tho
new Pirate, "and I am moro interest
ed In them now than when I was a
boy or a young man. It Is in me. I
generate a lot of energy from my food
and air and I must have physical ex
ercise. I would die if I pursued a sed
entary occupation. I dare say it is
In self-defense that I stick to athletics
and keep away from the chemist's re
tort and tho physician's chair.
Football a Relief.
"Football suited me to a nicety. It
gave mo room for hard physical
work. I was so rough and awkward
and strong that most young men and
boys did not like to box or wrestle
with me. So football, where I could
cut loose with all my energy, was a
great relief for me. It may seem ego
tistical to say so, but I do not mean it
that way, I was too strong to And all
the work I wanted In baseball. I wish
I was more delicate in my athletic ap
petite, that I could get satisfaction out
of a game of tennis or a short run or
Bwim. I feel sorry for my huge, un
gainly self sometimes. You may say
I -might try grubbing brush, pulling
stumps or obtain employment as a
quarry man. I wish my mind would
be quiet and let me do such hard
work. Two things keep me from tak
ing to the hard physical labor that I
need: One is that my mind is too ac
tive, and tho other is that, unfor
Innately, my family and myself have
acquired standards of living that can
not be maintained on the wage of the
day laborer or the quarry man.
"One' man told mo not long ago
that I should engage with the army to
carry a cannon or pull a wagon. I
would like to do these things, too, but
there, again, is the dependent family.
So I do tho best I can, make as much
money as possible and take as much
of the necessary exercise as Is pos
The "Git Up and Git."
"I think that athletic sports are es
sential to the vitality of a nation. You
may say that Germany, which has
shown marvelous vitality, has never
been given to games. That is true.
Withal, I think that had the Germans
tuned themselves up on athletic games,
instead of laboring twelve hours a day
or dawn to dark, they would have put
up a much more lively, dashing fight
than they have put up. The Germans
arc enduring and they arc strong, but
they lack the life, the vivro, tho
elan, tho 'git up and git' of the Amer
icans, Italians, French, English,
Austrians, Hungarians and Bohe
mians. Tho Germans fight well
through organization and sheer
"I do not mean that you can make
men strong or a nation great on ath
letics alone. ' Hard work gives a power
that no athletica can impart Too
much hard work slows men up. Then
comes athletics to enliven them, to
give them dash, go.
"Tho athlcto will derive fun from
fighting, as the English, Canadians
and Australians have done, while tho
German takes no fun from fighting.
War with him is an unpleasant duty.
To the nations that have practiced
athletics war is a lot of a lark, a su
"Therefore I set a high value on the
isc of athletics to a nation. So, when
I teach and help to propagate athletics
I feel that I am in my small way do
ing a public good.
"Games tunc up the physical man.
I have been teaching athletics to farm
er boys and young mechanics, strong
men, for ten years. I know how strong
and slow they are when they first
come to tho hand of the athletic direc
tor, and I also know how a few weeks
of athletic exercises tunes and speeds
the men up.
"Hard work for a nation will make
it strong but dull and slow. Hard work
tempered by athletic exercises, will
speed up tho people of a nation, en
lighten their thought, tune 'em up, put
smiles on their faces, unbend their
brows in a word, put real life into
"That is why I am devoted to ath
letics. Had I, a very strong man, been
compelled to merely labor like a horse
all my life, I have no doubt that I
should have been ill-tempered, even
ferocious certainly unpleasant, If not
nasty. But play and games have made
me Joyous and happy and, I trust, not
" 'All work and no play makes Jack
a dull boy.' Well, I believo that too
much work and too littlo play has
made tho Germans not exactly dull,
but slow of mind and body and
very serious and oversolemn. This Is
why I think that the great war weighs
heavier on tho Germans than on tho
French, British or Americans, who
have had athletic sports to lighten
"I have read that the German could
not understand how tho Australians,
and Canadians, sport-loving people,
had such a good time in battle.
" 'Why,' said a German to a Cana
dian, 'you Canadians seem to be fight
ing for fun and souvenirs.'
"'Snrcl cried the Canuck. 'What
do you fight for?'
" 'Why, as a duly,' said tho sur
Tuning Up the Temper.
"I hopo that I have been able to ox
plain to you how Important athletic
sports are in tuning up tho tompcr of
a people, making men and women and
children happy and glad that they are
"This is why I deem athletics so im
portant to a nation.
"The high-class Gorman philoso
phers and army men rather despised
the British because of their devotion
to athletics. Gen. Bernhardt, In his
famous 'Germany and tho Next War,'
advises Germans to avoid athletic
sports as liable to detract from their
undivided interests In military affairs.
I think that Gen. Bernhardi was
wrong. I do not say that passionate
practlco of athletics will make a na
tion great In war or in peace. I do hold
that If the Germans, tremendously
strong men and hard workers, were
tuned up and enlivened by tho prac
tice of athletics that they would fight
better than they have fought and that
war would not weigh so heavily on
them as it has weighed.
"I am trying hard to mako plain my
meaning. It is that while hard labor
gives greatest strength, athletics give
tang, snap, to tho physical strength
engendered by hard labor.
"Baseball is having a tremendous
boom through the Interest of tho sol
diers in the American and other
armies take in It. Golf, tennis, other
sports are forgotten when the soldiers
go into camp. Only baseball is remem
bered and played.
"The gqneral play of baseball by
American and Canadian troops in
France will spread the game to the
Australians, who have already taken
it up at home; to the Belgians, French,
British, and even the Germans.
"It was tho civil war that spread
baseball in tho United States. The
great war will spread baseball to the
ends of tho earth. The British troops
embrace East Indians, West Indians.
FIJI Islanders, Afrikanders, etc. The
French have Chinese, Madagascans,
Samatrans. So the American game
will go to far off places after the great
Bezdek docs not enjoy talking
about himself as most men do. He
said that ho greatly enjoyed his years
of football when he was the great
plunging full back of Chicago Uni
versity. "Football moro than any other sport
gave mo the freedom of physical action
that my body and spirit craved," said
the young director of tho Pirate club.
"I was born Strong. That is no credit
to me. In fact, I am a little ashamed
of such brutal physical power. Somo-
' " y"' ' "
times I feel as If I was too much of an
animal to be much good to myself or
to others. My vitality is. sometimes
terrible to me. I crave action, pulling,
"Now, most men do not care for
such physical extravagances, and I
have had trouble getting action that
carried life and spirit and fun with it.
I could have acted as mulo in a canal
boat or heaved rock, but that would
satisfy only the physical craving, and
not tho desire for mental enjoyment.
3Tnst Have Action.
"So I loved tho clash or football
when I met many men, Instead of one.
"I loved to teach football, too. One
gets a lot of action out of that,
"Baseball was pretty good in some
ways, but not action enough, even
when I caught. Tennis and golf did
not appeal to me at all. I am just too
strong for thoso games."
Bezdek has made a great record as
manager of football teams. Ho took
the lowly Arkansans when they were
(jespised of all football teams in the
Southwest and mado them' tho most
feared. From Arkansas he wont to
the University of Oregon and repeated
his success there. While at Oregon
ho ran up against tho famous Gllmour
Doble, who was coaching Washington,
and who had a record of no games lost
and but two tied in seven seasons of
football. Boforo Bezdek went to Ore
gon Washington had beaten the Web
feet right down the line. Bezdek
teams held Dobic tight, and though
Washington had the best material and
was coached by a man of vast repu
tation, Oregon, under Bezdek, acquit
ted Itself so well that tho athletic in
structor was made football coach at
tho same salary as he got for bolng
director of athletics. This gavo him
nine months more to himself. It was
during these nine months that he bo
camc scout for the Pittsburg club and
so Impressed Barney Droyfus that
when Jim Callahan was done Bezdek
was offered the position of manager
made famous by Fred Clarke, who, in
fou finished wora '
than fourth. , , J
Not n Connlo STnck. j j
Bezdek admltB that he Is not a Con-
nle Mack as far as baseball Is con- j
cerucd, but 6ays that he likes baseball -' J
and is confident that he will mako ' ;v
good. His friends say that ho has .
never failed in any of his undertak- i
ings. It Is truo that his undertakings
havo been In his own lino, college j
football, baseball and track athletics. A
Bezdek Is In another game now, a J'Jfc
game In which competition Is fierco tp
and where points, position, mean ov- i t
orytbing. Bczdek Is up against tho ;
real thing now.
Much depends upon Bezdck's ability '
to manage men. He evidently is away
back in the scienco of major leaguo
baseball. j '
In such things as substituting bat- 'j
tors, even In solectlng batters to go
against a certain pitcher he knows
littlo. This is natural. He has not i
been on the major league circuit Ho j
docs not know what batters aro effee-
tlvo against what pitchers, or viso I
versa. He does not even know tho j
teams that his pitchers aro offectivo ' !
against. Bezdek will need some tima !
to learn these things. j
Then, managing 'from the stand is j
very different from managing In fact. ij
The real manager makes the flrat I
guess. The grand stand manager haB j
a second guess. Tho real managor i
creates situations. Tho grand stand "A.
manager merely "solves tho created sit- I
uations. The competent major leaguo j
manager knows tho weakness, mental ;
and psychological, of every player In S
his league. Ho acquires this knowl- j
edg by a process of absorption which
covers a period of many years. Ho j
began to acquire this knowledge when j;
ho was a mluor league player, and ho j;
has kept on acquiring It for all the '
years of his baseball life. j;
"Littlo Willie Say, pa, what Is a In- 1 .
nocent bystander? I
Pa An Innocent bystander, my son 1
Is a sort of human target." 1 1
1 5 1111 ' iiPill- J The Best Thing About Ihc Nomvorrying Habit twl P fff I
l iWj Is That No One Is Begging You, to Break Yourself IW
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