I Dont Play to the Grandstand

Doerr, Bobby 1952-08-29

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Interview Participants
And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Bobby Doerr played his last season with the Boston Red Sox in 1951. He will be remembered not only as a steady second baseman, but a great competitor. His father bought Bobby his first spikes when he was ten. He got his first crack at professional ball one day after school when he was 16, and he joined the Hollywood team. He climbed steadily to the big leagues. Once he went out to Oregon to hunt and fish along the Rogue River. He fell in love with the place, and showing great foresight for a lad then 18, he bought 160 acres of wooded land. He also fell in love with the teacher at the one room schoolhouse, and now their son is going to that same school. After 15 years with the Boston Red Sox, Bobby Doerr has retired
with his family to the woods of Agnes, Oregon. He comes off his ranch to give us his creed.
It seems to me that what any man’s beliefs are depends upon how he spends his life. I’ve spent a good part of mine as a professional baseball player and the game that I play for a living is naturally a very important thing to me. I’ve learned a lot of things on the baseball diamond about living — things that have made me happier and, I hope, a better person.
I’ve found that when I make a good play and take my pitcher off the hook, it’s just natural for me to feel better than if I made a flashy play that doesn’t do anything except make me look good for the grandstands. It works the same way off the ball field, too. Doing a good turn for a neighbor, a friend, or even a stranger gives me much more satisfaction than doing something that
helps only myself. It’s as if all people were my teammates in this world and things that make me closer to them are good, and things that make me draw away from them are bad.
Another belief very important to me is that I am only as good as my actual performance proves that I am. If I cannot deliver, then my name and reputation don’t mean a thing. I thought of this when in the season of 1951 I told my teammates that I would not play in 1952. I reached this decision because I realized that I wouldn’t be able to give my best performance to the people who would pay my salary by coming through the turnstiles. I don’t see how anyone can feel right about success or fame that is unearned. For me, most of the satisfaction in any praise I receive comes from the feeling that it is the reward for a real effort I have made.
Many ball players talk a lot about luck and figure that it is responsible for their successes and failures, on and off the field. Some of them even carry around a rabbit’s foot and other good-luck charms, or they have other superstitions that they go through to make sure things are going the way they want them to. I’ve never been able to go along with people who believe that way. I’ve got a feeling that there’s something deeper and more important behind the things that happen to me and whether they turn out good or bad. It seems to me that many of the things which some people credit to luck are the results of Divine assistance. I can’t imagine an all-wise, all-powerful God that isn’t interested in the things I do in my life. Believing this makes me always want to act in such a way as to deserve the things that the Lord will do for me.
Maybe that’s the most important thing of all. Doing good in order to deserve a good.
A lot of wonderful things have happened to me in my lifetime. I’ve had a long, rewarding career in organized baseball. The fans have been swell to me, and I’ve always liked my teammates. But what really matters is that I’ve got just about the best folks that anyone could ask for. Doing what I can to make things more pleasant for my father and mother, and for my wife and our son has been one of the things I have enjoyed most because it seems to be a way for me to pay back something of what I owe them for all the encouragement and pleasure they’ve given me.
I guess the best way to sum it all up is that I’m happy to be around and I’d like to be able to make other people glad of it, too.
That was Bobby Doerr, former second baseman for the Boston Red Sox, and now a contented and seasoned citizen of Oregon.
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