In this issue you will find a portent of spring even more encouraging than the first crocus—as Roy Terrell reports on a question many ask but comparatively few can answer, "What's it like to own a ball club?"
For the answer Terrell went to Fred Knorr, the leader of the group which bought the Detroit Tigers last year, who has the most recent perspective on the matter. After you've read the story, if you're not prepared to take over a club it should be only because in the majors, as Terrell shows, they run a little high these days and the time and effort they consume are immense.
While Terrell was in Detroit with Knorr, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Robert Creamer was in Nashua, N.H. on another baseball mission. There's still a good long piece of winter left in Nashua, but for its most renowned citizen spring is almost here. He's George (Birdie) Tebbetts, insurance broker, individualist, public speaker and one of the few men ever named Major League Manager of the Year without having won a pennant.
Next week Tebbetts starts for the Cincinnati Redlegs' camp in sunny Tampa, Fla. Meanwhile, Creamer describes him with his family, neighbors and friends against the snow-covered New England background Tebbetts has known all his life as home. Whatever the qualities which make an outstanding baseball manager, Tebbetts has shown that he has them, and I think you will be interested, as I was, to find in Creamer's closeup that they are as evident off the diamond and in the off season as they are in the thick of a pennant fight. One of these qualities, which he shares with his wife, is good-humored firmness.
February 18, 1957
When Tebbetts took his departing guest to the station a half hour early, Creamer told him, "Birdie, you don't have to wait for me."
"Oh yes I do," said Tebbetts. "If I get home and then you walk in saying you missed the train, Mary will shoot me. I'm going to be good and sure you're on it, southbound."
Creamer was on it, all right—all the way southbound, in fact. And for the next few weeks, until another baseball season opens, the South is where he'll stay, with Terrell and half a dozen more SPORTS ILLUSTRATED staff members who will be reporting from on the scene in baseball's spring training camps.