Cedric Tallis

This article was written by Daniel R. Levitt


When the expansion Kansas City Royals hired Cedric Tallis as the team’s GM, he assumed an almost impossible task. Before the first expansion season was even half over in 1969, Kansas City owner Ewing Kauffman was proclaiming that a glorious future was not far away. A hard-driving yet generous pharmaceutical entrepreneur, Kauffman publicly stated that he expected a pennant within five years, a wildly aggressive prediction given the development of the four expansion franchises in the early 1960s.1

Moreover, the rules of the time made building a team particularly difficult. Between the onset of the amateur draft in 1965 and the introduction of free agency in 1976, there were fewer avenues to compete for players than at any point in history.

Tallis didn’t deliver a pennant in five years. Nevertheless, he built one of baseball’s best organizations. Through a series of brilliant trades, Tallis boosted the Royals’ talent level remarkably quickly, such that the Royals were competitive and winning division titles well before their three expansion counterparts. “Cedric was the right person at the right time for those Royals,” wrote longtime scout Art Stewart. “He was naturally aggressive. … And Cedric had guts. That’s what you need to navigate the trade market when you’re a general manager.”2 Unfortunately, Tallis was sacked before the franchise’s first division title in 1976. But the key players on that team and the competitive ones that followed were almost entirely amassed under his watch.

Cedric Nelson Tallis was born on July 29, 1914, in New York City. His mother, Annabelle Peters, was Canadian, and his father, Walter, who was born in England, immigrated to the United States in 1898. Walter was an accountant by occupation, and the family, including an older brother and sister, moved several times while Tallis was young. They lived in Belleville, New Jersey, in 1915 and later moved to St. Lucie, Florida, where Walter was president of a land company, though this was likely less of an executive role that it sounds. Eventually the family migrated to Penacook, New Hampshire, where Tallis seems to have spent the bulk of his formative years.3

Like other men his age, Tallis, now 6-feet and 170 pounds, joined the armed services in World War II, enlisting in the Army in October 1940. After the war he remained in the service for several years, marrying Barbara Neal in England in 1946. When he returned to the States, Tallis spent two years coaching basketball at Fort Benning, Georgia, where his squad won the Southeastern AAU championship.

In early 1948, 33-year-old Captain Cedric Tallis decided it was time for a life beyond military service. Switching to baseball, he landed a job as general manager at Thomasville in the Class-D Georgia-Alabama League, the lowest rung in Organized Baseball and a perfect place to learn the baseball business from the ground up. At this time a minor-league GM was responsible for just about everything: finding players, managing the business affairs, and, once for Tallis, helping to contain a pack of unruly fans trying to attack the umpire while waiting for the police.4

Tallis spent several years running minor-league teams, interrupted by a two-year Army recall during the Korean War. Back in baseball in 1953, he was overseeing a Single-A Detroit farm club in Montgomery, Alabama, three notches below the major leagues. His first year there was a disaster on and off the field. The club finished last, and Tallis was forced to sell off several players, including ex-major leaguers Kirby Higbe and Grady Wilson, to survive financially. He rebuilt his squad, and in 1955 they made it to the Southern League finals. While in Montgomery, Tallis also formed a long-term bond with his manager, Charlie Metro.5

After the 1955 season, Oakland Oaks owner Brick Laws moved his financially stressed Pacific Coast League franchise to Vancouver, British Columbia. Laws brought in Tallis to run the team, and Tallis signed a working agreement with the Baltimore Orioles. After one year in Vancouver and a last-place finish, Laws decided to sell, and Tallis spearheaded a group of local businessmen to finance the $150,000 purchase price and an additional $125,000 in operating funds. He brought in Metro to manage, and the team jumped to second place and led the league in attendance.6

Despite its Baltimore affiliation, in those days a minor-league club like Vancouver still needed to find many of its own players. Tallis organized a six-day tryout camp for 17- to 19-year-olds. The Mounties accepted 42 candidates for the clinic, where youngsters received instruction from several ex-major leaguers including outfielder Earl Averill and pitcher Earl Johnson.7

When the Orioles terminated their agreement with Vancouver after the 1959 season, Tallis moved to the Seattle Rainiers, another PCL team, which affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds. Tallis brought in a new manager and the team improved from seventh to fourth. When the Boston Red Sox purchased the Rainiers after the 1960 season, Tallis again moved on. Now 46 and with more than a decade as a minor-league general manager, he was ready for a major-league challenge.8 He had hopes of landing the GM job in Cincinnati, where Gabe Paul had just resigned. “I would be honored to have the opportunity to appear before Powell Crosley Jr. and the Cincinnati club’s board of directors,” Tallis told the press.9 The Reds instead chose Bill DeWitt and went on to win the 1961 pennant.

Determined to get into the major leagues, Tallis accepted a job as an assistant to general manager Fred Haney with the expansion Los Angeles Angels and over the next few years his role evolved into that of business manager.10 Tallis worked for the Angels for six years, successfully overseeing the club’s 1966 move to Anaheim and its new ballpark. Tallis met Kauffman in 1967 when the latter visited Anaheim to learn what went into building an expansion franchise. In early 1968 when Kauffman won the rights to the expansion Royals, he wisely brought in Tallis as GM. The 53-year-old Tallis signed a four-year contract and had a new major-league organization to build. “Outside of finances, he will run the club,” Kauffman told reporters.11

In Tallis, Kauffman recognized not only a smart baseball man, but also someone who could be a champion and overseer for the new stadium complex under consideration in Kansas City. He was a driven, determined leader who took charge immediately. “Tallis had a booming laugh, a hot temper and the ability to turn any day into Armageddon,” one writer remembered.12 Moreover, Tallis was comfortable in the limelight, a key attribute for someone who would be the face of the team, second only to Kauffman himself. Years later, when Tallis was working in the Yankees front office, owner George Steinbrenner was looking for him. When told that Tallis was giving an interview, Steinbrenner joked, “Hell, we’ll never get him out of there. You know how Cedric loves those TV cameras.”13

Longtime baseball GM Gabe Paul believed that Tallis “was probably the best in baseball when it came to details and trivia.”14 In Kansas City, Tallis did not just sit on his hands waiting for the October 1968 expansion draft, which would get him his first players, but focused on the details of team building. He brought in two trusted lieutenants: Charlie Metro, recently the chief scout for Cincinnati general manager Bob Howsam, as director of scouting; and Lou Gorman, out of the well-respected Orioles organization, as director of minor-league operations. Taking a page from the Orioles and the Dodgers before them, Tallis, Metro, and Gorman put together the Kansas City Royals Instructional Manual to highlight how each defensive play should be executed. Gorman, with his Orioles background, advocated consistent instruction throughout the Royals organization.15

Tallis let Gorman bring along an assistant from Baltimore named John Schuerholz, just two years removed from teaching junior high school. Schuerholz would go on to become one baseball’s greatest general managers, first in Kansas City and later in Atlanta. Two other future general managers also joined the Royals. Syd Thrift, an original thinker who later ran the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles, started as a scout. Herk Robinson, also from the Baltimore organization, became Metro’s assistant. Years later, Robinson led the Royals front office for a decade.

To manage the Royals, Tallis hired Joe Gordon, who had previously led three major-league teams, though none since 1961. “My main aim,” Tallis had said, “is to pick a man who can motivate young players.” Tallis gave Gordon free rein to pick the coaching staff, subject only to his final approval.16

Shortly after being awarded their franchise, the Royals petitioned the other owners to be allowed to participate in the June 1968 amateur baseball draft, a request that was not part of the original expansion arrangement. When the owners relented (although the four new teams were not allowed to select until the middle of the fourth round), the Royals drafted two quality future major leaguers, Paul Splittorff and Dane Iorg; none of the other expansion teams landed any. Tallis established two minor-league working relationships to place his draftees and minor-league free agents.17

On October 15, 1968, the Royals and Seattle Pilots had their chance to draft players from the other American League ballclubs. (The NL held a separate draft for its new teams.) As opposed to the Pilots, Tallis focused almost exclusively on young players. As researcher and historian Steve Treder has pointed out, the first 10 picks for the Pilots averaged 27.6 years old, 1,920 major-league at-bats, and 247 major-league innings. The Royals on the other hand averaged 24.2 years old, 332 major-league at-bats, and 164 major-league innings.18

Around the 20th pick the Royals changed their strategy to also target older players with trade value, realizing that many of the better, younger players had been protected by that point in the draft. (Their most famous draftee, veteran relief pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm, was traded to the Angels for two young players a few days later.) For the day, Kansas City selected a number of players who still had meaningful major-league seasons in front of them; measured by WAR, they ended up with nearly 50 percent more future talent than the Pilots.

Outside of the regular minor-league organization, Kauffman conceived and developed the Kansas City Baseball Academy in Sarasota, Florida. Recognizing the limited avenues available for finding major-league-caliber players, Kauffman’s brainchild was to sign and develop great athletes who were not baseball players — and therefore undrafted and available — and turn them into baseball players. He also commissioned sports psychologists and scientists to develop new scouting and training techniques. In the end, however, he was forced to shutter the operation in 1974 and the facilities themselves were amalgamated back into the overall minor-league system.

While the Academy had some successes, most notably Frank White, it was extremely expensive to operate and finding potential candidates was becoming more difficult. Maybe just as importantly, Tallis and others in the front office were somewhat resentful of the resources that were being siphoned off into the Academy that could have been allocated to the regular farm system and skeptical of some of the new-fangled evaluation and training techniques being used. Nevertheless, Tallis worked to integrate the Academy into the larger organization, including rotating players from the farm system through the Academy and revising some of the instruction. Tallis recognized the value of keeping an open mind to new training techniques, including “purchasing a new stop action camera to help our hitters and pitchers. This camera can stop any action without blurring or fuzzy lines. It’s expensive, but we feel it will be of considerable help to both our pitchers and hitters.”19

Just prior to the 1969 season, Tallis made the first in a series of deals that would ultimately build a contending club. The Royals swapped outfielder Steve Whitaker, drafted from the Yankees, to the Pilots for Lou Piniella, who would go on to win the AL Rookie of the Year award that season.

In December 1969 Tallis made one of his most famous deals, securing 22-year-old outfielder Amos Otis from the Mets for third baseman Joe Foy. Foy had played well in his one season with the Royals, but Otis would become Kansas City’s first star, holding down center field for the next 14 seasons. “The Mets wanted a third baseman and they were trying to get Ken McMullen from Washington,” Tallis later related. “Washington wanted two starting pitchers and the Mets didn’t want to give that much. When they saw they couldn’t make the McMullen deal, they turned to Foy.”20 If the trade wasn’t yet good enough, Tallis also got the Mets to include starting pitcher Bob Johnson. Johnson had one good year with the Royals and proved a valuable trade chip the next winter.

In June 1970 Tallis sent a minor leaguer to the Cardinals for 31-year-old second baseman Cookie Rojas. Tallis did not generally look for older players, but second base had been a gaping hole on the club and Rojas seemed a reasonable stopgap. In fact, Rojas rejuvenated his career in Kansas City, playing in four All-Star Games.

The team had played surprisingly well in its inaugural 1969 season but Gordon resigned after the season due to the stress of the job. Tallis named his old friend Charlie Metro to skipper the team in 1970. Metro proved to be a disaster. He ran spring training like boot camp, and the players, only half-jokingly, referred to it as “Stalag 17.” With the Royals at 19-33 in early June, Tallis fired Metro, promoting another longtime friend, pitching coach Bob Lemon.

After the 1970 season Tallis and his staff recognized that the team needed to improve at shortstop and decided that one of their targets should be Freddie Patek, an undersized, under-appreciated player backing up Gene Alley in Pittsburgh. For Johnson, displaced shortstop Jackie Hernandez, and a minor leaguer, Tallis landed Patek, pitcher Bruce Dal Canton, and a decent catcher in Jerry May.21 Patek held down shortstop for nine years in Kansas City, teaming with Rojas as one of the league’s top double-play combinations.

The 1971 Royals astonished everyone by finishing second with a record of 85-76, although 16 games behind the powerful Oakland A’s. For his efforts, Tallis was named Executive of the Year by The Sporting News. Kauffman believed the team was on the verge of the playoffs, but the club had overachieved in 1971 and the talent was not really sufficient to capture a division title, even in the weaker West Division. Kauffman also felt that the Royals should be in contention annually. This sentiment placed Tallis in the difficult position of knowing he needed more talent to win, but also trying to fill specific holes to give him the best chance to win each particular season. A brilliant trader, Tallis walked this thin line remarkably well.

One of the stars of the Royals 1970 club, first baseman Bob Oliver, fell from 27 home runs and 99 RBIs to just 8 and 52 in 1971. Accordingly, Tallis looked for a power-hitting first baseman that winter. His scouts liked Houston’s young first baseman John Mayberry, who had struggled in a few trials, so Tallis explored that option at the winter meetings. Dealing from strength, Kansas City sent two young pitchers to Houston for Mayberry, who broke through in 1972 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs, and had several more fine seasons for the Royals.

The 1972 season was marred by a players strike that began during spring training and lingered into the season, canceling a week’s worth of games. As the players union had never taken such an action before, the events stunned many longtime baseball people, including Lemon. “We asked the players to get on a bus, and they refused,” Tallis said, recounting the start of the strike. “Then Lemon and I went into our office and Bob began to cry. He could not believe what was happening to his game.”22

The Royals backslid in 1972 to 76-78, though the fall to fourth place likely overstated their regression. They were a young team that was still well ahead of the other three 1969 expansion teams. Nonetheless, the impatient Kauffman, disappointed that the club’s 1971 improvement had not been sustained, decided to fire Lemon. Tallis disagreed, arguing that Lemon had done a fine job managing the club for 2½ years. In the October 3 press conference, Kauffman made the announcement while Tallis, when asked, indicated his disapproval. More ominously for Tallis, Kauffman’s impatience and unrealistic expectations were laid bare. “Starting in 1974,” Kauffman bragged, “we expect to win (the American League championship) five out of ten years.”23

Kauffman further exasperated Tallis by hiring Jack McKeon, the manager at Triple-A Omaha, with whom Tallis had quarreled in the past. In particular, McKeon was a vocal advocate of the Baseball Academy, and hence a favorite of Kauffman’s. His hiring of McKeon, knowing the feelings of Tallis — in theory the person in charge of running the baseball team — drove a further wedge in the organization. McKeon would go on to a successful career in baseball as both a manager and general manager, but in 1972 he owed his allegiance to Kauffman alone. The impatient Kauffman had journeyed a long way from the putatively hands-off owner of 1969.

At the winter meetings in November 1972, Tallis targeted Reds outfielder-third baseman Hal McRae, a player the Royals scouts felt could hit but lacked a defensive position. After some negotiation, Tallis offered Roger Nelson, their first pick in the expansion draft, who finished 1972 at 11-6 with a 2.08 ERA. The Royals braintrust was not really sold on Nelson’s ability to stay healthy. To sweeten the pot, Tallis also proposed outfielder Richie Scheinblum, coming off an All-Star season in which he had hit .300, though he was already 29 and 1972 was his first season as big-league regular. Tallis asked for and received Wayne Simpson, a young pitcher with a history of arm problems, to help balance the expanded trade.24

The Royals opened the 1973 season strong, sitting at 30-23 on June 3, but after four straight losses, McKeon vented his frustration to the press. He felt the team was close but that Tallis had failed to land several key pieces that had been available earlier in the season. McKeon’s actions were unusual, to say the least. Here was a first-year manager publicly berating one of the game’s most respected GMs, less than two years removed from an Executive of the Year Award. Tallis was in an awkward situation. His rebellious manager had been imposed by the owner, limiting his disciplinary options and the chance of creating a harmonious relationship. Instead, Tallis gave a surprisingly blunt and honest public explanation of why he hadn’t made the advocated moves.25

The team’s solid finish validated Tallis’s approach. The Royals ended the season 88-74, six games behind the eventual world champion A’s. The club had great years from Mayberry and Otis and excellent starting pitching from Splittorff and Steve Busby. The club opened Royals Stadium, whose spacious outfield and artificial playing surface placed a premium on speed, something that players like Otis, Patek, and Rojas — all Tallis additions — had brought to the club. The club also began to feature some of the talent they had selected in the annual June draft. Both Splittorff and Busby (1971) were draftees, as was George Brett (1971), a 20-year-old third baseman from El Segundo, California.

After the 1973 season Tallis was typically active in the trade market, though he did not find any stars. In one of his few unfavorable deals, essentially forced on him by the fallout between Piniella and McKeon, Tallis sent Piniella and Ken Wright to the Yankees for Lindy McDaniel, a 37-year-old relief ace who had pitched 160⅓ innings in 1973, his most since 1957.26 Piniella went on to several productive years with the Yankees, while McDaniel provided little to the Royals.

Despite the Royals’ strong second-place finish in 1973, Kauffman became frustrated with his mounting financial losses, magnified by the recession and the accompanying decline in the stock price of his pharmaceutical company. The strain of these losses triggered a rift between Tallis and the Royals vice president on the business side, Charles Truitt, leading to further divisions in an already inharmonious front office.27 Late in the 1973 season, Truitt retired and Kauffman hired Joe Burke to replace him. This was an ominous hire for Tallis — Burke had spent years in the front office of the Washington Senators and, after the club’s move to Texas, two years as the club’s GM.

By the middle of the 1974 season, as the Royals hovered near .500, Kauffman decided to make a change at the top. In June he promoted Joe Burke to general manager, giving him full control over both the baseball and business sides, demoting Tallis to an unidentified position and bouncing him shortly thereafter. Kauffman never publicly identified why he fired Tallis, but it seems clear that his frustration had been building for some time. He knew that he was going to have to abandon his beloved Academy for financial reasons, and surely resented Tallis for never fully embracing it. When he fired Lemon and imposed McKeon as manager — an early sign of his growing irritation — Tallis, rightly or wrongly, would not publicly buy into the decision. The continuing friction between Tallis and McKeon led to a situation where Kauffman had to choose one or the other. With Joe Burke already on board, Kauffman had an executive ready to step into the position. In a further attempt to foster harmony and stability, Burke gave McKeon a two-year contract extension.

After four seasons of pursuing the A’s, in 1976 the Royals team finally broke through with a 90-72 record and won the division title, before falling in a tightly contested ALCS. For the team’s success The Sporting News named Burke Executive of the Year. In truth, Burke’s key decision was the hiring of manager Whitey Herzog. He made one excellent trade — dealing backup catcher Fran Healy to the Yankees for pitcher Larry Gura — but otherwise did not materially alter the team that Tallis had left him. In fact, this core would win three more division titles over the next four years, finally reaching the World Series in 1980.

To evaluate Tallis’s remarkable trading record a little more tangibly, Table 1 summarizes his key deals and calculates how much WAR each of the involved players accumulated over the remainder of their careers. In total, the trades made by the Royals during Tallis’s tenure as general manager brought in nearly twice as much talent as defined by WAR as he surrendered. Tallis credited others in the organization for the evaluation involved in making each of these deals, but the final decision rested with the general manager, and Tallis was the one who bore the ultimate responsibility for the deal’s success or failure.

Table 1 — Key Tallis Trades

       

Date

To KC (key players)

Rem WAR
(all players in trade)

 

From KC (key players)

Rem WAR
(all players in trade)

Dec-12-68

Ed Kirkpatrick

9.3

 

Hoyt Wilhelm

3.7

Apr-01-69

Lou Piniella

12.5

 

Steve Whitaker

1.7

Dec-03-69

Amos Otis

50.0

 

Joe Foy

2.9

Jun-13-70

Cookie Rojas

7.2

 

Fred Rico

0.0

Dec-02-70

Freddie Patek

27.3

 

Bob Johnson

1.0

Dec-02-70

Tom Hilgendorf

3.5

 

Ellie Rodriguez

13.0

Dec-02-71

John Mayberry

24.4

 

Two young pitchers

-1.6

Oct-25-72

Gene Garber

17.7

 

Jim Rooker

17.2

Nov-30-72

Hal McRae

26.7

 

Nelson/Scheinblum

1.8

Apr-02-73

Fran Healy

5.7

 

Greg Minton

17.9

Oct-24-73

NA

0.0

 

Tom Burgmeier

16.6

Dec-07-73

Lindy McDaniel

0.8

 

Lou Piniella

9.3

Total

 

185.1

   

83.5

After being let go, to keep his hand in the game Tallis acted as a consultant to a group of Louisiana businessmen and politicians hoping to bring major-league baseball to New Orleans, a natural role for a between-jobs veteran baseball man who knew and was on good terms with many executives throughout baseball.

Shortly thereafter, his old friend Gabe Paul, president of the Yankees, hired him as his assistant to watch over the completion and reopening of the remodeled Yankee Stadium, scheduled to open in April 1976, and act as his trusted assistant on baseball matters. Tallis’s name was naturally associated with various top baseball positions. Early in his career with the Yankees, Tallis reportedly came in second in the Blue Jays’ search for a team president to lead their expansion effort.28

In late May 1978 Tallis missed his scheduled trip with the Yankees to Kansas City because of a severe car accident leaving him hospitalized for five days with three fractured ribs.29 Tallis drove like a maniac, and it’s unlikely his friends and acquaintances would have been surprised when they heard of the accident. Once while giving a ride to the owner of the Tokyo Giants in Florida, Tallis took off down a two-lane highway, careening past the orange construction cones, and the owner became so agitated he kept his feet pressed against the floorboards the entire ride. The next morning when he reluctantly climbed back into Tallis’s car for a lift to the ballpark, he immediately buckled his seat belt — in an era well before this was common practice — and clung to the dashboard with both hands. When surrounded by the Kansas City press who all knew about Tallis’s driving habits, he told them, “Mr. Tallis is a kamikaze taxi driver.”30

When Paul left after the 1977 season, owner George Steinbrenner promoted Tallis to GM, and the team repeated as world champions. This was at the height of Steinbrenner’s micromanagement, however, leaving Tallis in a much-reduced GM role and the Yankees with a chaotic and disjointed front office. Not surprisingly, Tallis was rumored in the running for a number of other front-office positions. The first popped up after the 1979 season when the Mets made indirect contact. Tallis, uncertain of his role within the Yankees organization and tiring of Steinbrenner’s constant abuse, showed interest but reportedly demanded full control of baseball operations. The Mets eventually went elsewhere. Later that year Tallis was reported to be aligned with Marvin Davis when the Denver oilman was about to secure the Oakland A’s franchise and move it to Denver, a deal that eventually fell though. A year later Tallis’s name popped up in connection with the Padres general manager search, and late in the 1981 season his name was floated regarding the Cubs job. Neither of these opportunities ever materialized either.31

After two years as GM, perhaps to dissuade him from jumping to one of the rumored positions, in early 1980 Steinbrenner promoted Tallis to executive vice president, putatively the top baseball executive, with Gene Michael taking over as GM. The next year, while Tallis’s title remained the same, Lou Saban was hired as president, effectively the new head baseball man, though Steinbrenner remained highly engaged in all aspects of the team.

After another division title in 1980 and pennant in 1981, Tallis and Steinbrenner eventually broke up in late 1983 with Tallis becoming the executive director of the Tampa Bay Baseball Group, a collection of Tampa area businessmen looking to bring baseball to the region. Their target at the time was the Minnesota Twins and team owner Calvin Griffith, unhappy with his initial reception in the new Metrodome. Tallis was a logical choice for the Tampa Bay businessmen: he knew nearly everyone in baseball and was widely respected after roughly 35 years in the game. Moreover, he had experience building franchises and stadiums.

From Tallis’s perspective, however, the move to Tampa seems a little curious. He loved wheeling and dealing and had spent most of the past 15 years as a key front-office employee of two different major-league baseball clubs. When other opportunities had presented themselves, he had expressed interest, though with little success. Most likely Tallis believed he would land the top spot in the front office of whatever franchise the group landed.

Once on board, Tallis found several major-league teams that appeared very close to moving — most notably the White Sox and Rangers — only to pull back at the last instant. Tallis’s ownership faction subsequently expected to be short-listed in late 1990 for the 1993 National League expansion. When finally released, the short list did include Tampa but designated a rival ownership entity. Tallis was crushed. He felt betrayed by friends he had known most of his adult life.32 Shortly after being notified of the decision, he suffered a heart attack and died several months later, on May 7, 1991, when struck with a second one.

Tallis was an avid golfer and often used the game to deal with stress or uncomfortable situations. To avoid an unpleasant conversation with an office visitor, he was known to pull out a putter and talk about his grip or practice his putting. Alternatively, a difficult day could lead him to grab a club, head down to the field and drive golf balls into the bleachers.33

“Tallis was a gentle bear of a man,” one of his subordinates once wrote. “He was kind, personable, compassionate and fun-loving. He could be stubborn when he made up his mind and it would take a great deal of tactful persuasion to change. However, he was always willing to listen to your point of view, argument or opinions. He loved life and truly loved having a good time. He had a marvelous sense of humor, which made it fun to work for him. He was not afraid to delegate responsibility or authority, nor was he afraid to stand his ground on any issue he felt strongly about — no matter what the pressures brought to bear upon him. I admired his guts and also his compassion in dealing with subordinates.”34

It’s unfortunate that Tallis never had another chance with an expansion franchise or a losing team. He not only built a competitive team under the most difficult circumstances, but he also possessed the personality to run an organization. In addition to fashioning creative tension among capable subordinates, Tallis felt comfortable dealing with the press and enjoyed the limelight, key attributes for someone atop a baseball franchise. Very few men could match his extraordinary trading record and organizational abilities.

Disclaimer: All figures for wins above replacement (WAR) are based on the statistics per Baseball-Reference. These figures have been rounded for presentation purposes. The reader should be aware that if one were to look up these wins-above-replacement figures on Baseball-Reference, the actual results may vary slightly.

 

Notes

1 Joe McGuff, “Kauffman Goal: Flag in Five Years; Royals’ Boss Weighs Daring Plan,” The Sporting News, June 7, 1969: 16.

2 Art Stewart, The Art of Scouting: Seven Decades Chasing Hopes and Dreams in Major League Baseball (Olathe, Kansas: Ascend Books, 2014), 251.

3 Information on Tallis’s family is principally derived from the public records available through Ancestry.com.

4 “Army Captain Gets G.M. Post,” The Sporting News, February 18, 1948: 23; “Near Riot at Thomasville,” The Sporting News, June 23, 1948: 36.

5 “Henry Aaron Aims at RBI Mark,” The Sporting News, June 24, 1953: 33.

6 Keith Mathews, “Tallis Drafts Plan for New Coast League,” The Sporting News, September 18, 1957: 9.

7 “Mounties Seek Home-Grown Talent, Hold Six-Day Clinic,” The Sporting News, August 13, 1958: 34.

8 Hy Zimmerman, “G.M. Tallis Resigns His Seattle Post,” The Sporting News, October 12, 1960: 24.

9 Earl Lawson, “Tallis, Ex-Boss of Seattle, Top Choice for Post,” The Sporting News, November 2, 1960: 5.

10 Ross Newhan, “Angel Finale — Chavez Quiet as Tomb,” The Sporting News, October 9, 1965: 15.

11 Dickson Terry, “Kaycee ‘Will Never Lose This Team,’” The Sporting News, January 27, 1968: 23-24.

12 Steve Cameron, Moments Memories Miracles: A Quarter Century with the Kansas City Royals (Dallas: Taylor Publishing, 1992), 208.

13 Dave Nightengale, “Free-Agent Draft: It Was a Farce,” The Sporting News, November 28, 1981: 53.

14 Bob Andelman, Stadium for Rent: Tampa Bay’s Quest for Major League Baseball (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1993), 77.

15 Charlie Metro with Tom Altherr, Safe by a Mile (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002), 331; Lou Gorman, High and Inside: My Life in the Front Offices of Baseball (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2008), 81-82.

16 Unidentified clipping, Cedric Tallis Hall of Fame file.

17 Gorman, High and Inside, 83; Allan Simpson, ed., The Baseball Draft: The First 25 Years, 1965-1989 (Durham, North Carolina: American Sports, 1990), 65.

18 Steve Treder, “The Royals of Sir Cedric,” hardballtimes.com, December 21, 2004.

19 Joe McGuff, “Pay Cuts on Tap for Royals Who Slumped in 1970,” The Sporting News, January 30, 1971: 41.

20 Joe McGuff, “Tallis’ Shrewd Trades Fuel Royals’ Fast Start,” The Sporting News, June 26, 1971: 12.

21 Metro, Safe by a Mile, 324-35; Gorman, High and Inside, 116.

22 Ralph Ray, “Instead It’s No Season,” The Sporting News, June 27, 1981: 3.

23 Joe McGuff, “‘Blame Me for Lemon’s Exit,’ Says Kauffman,” The Sporting News, October 21, 1972: 23; Joe McGuff, “Tallis-Kauffman Split Linked to Lemon Firing,” The Sporting News, July 6, 1974: 15.

24 Metro, Safe by a Mile, 332; Gorman, High and Inside, 128-29.

25 Joe McGuff, “McKeon Sees Red Over Royal Dearth of Deals,” The Sporting News, June 30, 1973: 16.

26 Cameron, Moments Memories Miracles, 106.

27 Sid Bordman, “Royals Promote Burke to G.M. Post,” The Sporting News, June 29, 1974: 12.

28 Dick Young, The Sporting News, July 10, 1976: 12.

29 The Sporting News, June 3, 1978: 9.

30 Jack McKeon and Kevin Kernan, I’m Just Getting Started: Baseball’s Best Story Teller on Old School Baseball, Defying the Odds, and Good Cigars (Chicago: Triumph, 2005), 88; Gorman, High and Inside, 117-18.

31 The Sporting News, October 27, 1979: 16; The Sporting News, November 17, 1979: 16; The Sporting News, December 1, 1979: 16; The Sporting News, March 1, 1980: 46; The Sporting News, September 27, 1980: 35; The Sporting News, August 1, 1981: 25.

32 Bob Andelman, Stadium For Rent: Tampa Bay’s Quest for Major League Baseball (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1993), 161.

33 Bill Madden, Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball (New York: HarperCollins, 2010), 202; McKeon and Kernan, I’m Just Getting Started, 106.

34 Gorman, High and Inside, 117.

Full Name

Cedric Nelson Tallis

Born

July 29, 1914 at New York, NY (US)

Died

May 8, 1991 at Tampa, FL (US)

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