Goldman: Forgiving Bob Lemon (and everybody else)

From SABR member Steven Goldman at The National Pastime Museum on August 25, 2016:

“You do the best you can. That’s it.”

Bob Lemon said that, resignedly, I think, in September 1981, just after he’d been named manager of the New York Yankees for the second time. When I sat down to write this column, I thought I’d do some quick paragraphs on the bigger manager-fails in history. You don’t need me to exhume Ossie Vitt again, so I soon came to focus on Game 6 of the 1981 World Series, when Lemon let owner George Steinbrenner dictate a key in-game decision. In similar circumstances, Dick Williams simply quit. What kind of manager, I thought, would sell out his prerogative like that?

The answer, in Lemon’s case, is obvious: a broken one. Having accepted that, I lost all interest in making fun of him. It seemed ungenerous not to allow managers, living or dead, what we all require—understanding, if not forgiveness; comprehension, if not absolution. We are more than the sum of our mistakes.

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Originally published: August 25, 2016. Last Updated: August 25, 2016.