Manager Joe Torre praised the late St. Louis Cardinals coach George Kissel in his 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Speech.
However, in order, as Tommy said, to be ready, you had to make stops along the way. You had to fail along the way. Played with the Braves. What an education playing with Hank Aaron for eight years. Still gives me goosebumps.
And going over to the Cardinals and becoming teammates with Gibson, Brock, Carlton, Tim McCarver, and playing for a manager who probably made the biggest impact on what I did as a manager, Red Schoendienst.
But there was a man who probably educated me more in the nuances of baseball, every aspect of the game, and his name was George Kissell. George was a father figure to me when I was a player, and then when I went back as a manager some years later, I treasured every spring training game because he would sit next to me, and the last thing he would say, “Look out there and count to nine.” And you count the nine positions, just to make sure everybody was playing where you expected them to play.[...]
Then a guy named Dal Maxvill got me back in the game. He was the general manager of the St.Louis Cardinals. Whitey was stepping down, and he wanted to get a manager, and I had the opportunity.
I was with the Cardinals almost five years, and I got fired for the third time. And the interesting part, after I got fired from the Braves, I was very depressed, because I had been fired by the Mets and I had been fired by the Braves.