LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:
From bicycles to bats and balls. Commentator Frank Deford says there's a secret to the success of some of the top teams in baseball.
FRANK DEFORD: You want to win at baseball? Easy. Hire an old guy to manage your team. In this youth-dominated world, it's old-timers day every day at the top of the baseball standings. The National League in particular is like an advertisement for AARP. The Dodgers, best team in the majors, is managed by the oldest manager, Joe Torre, who just entered his 70th summer. In the Central Division, St. Louis is on top, thanks to the aging wisdom of the 64-year-old Tony LaRussa. And leading the East, the world champion Phillies are managed by Charlie Manuel, who is 65. Manuel twice heard doctors give him up for dead. He managed the Indians a few years ago while wearing a colostomy bag. You can't run the guy off.
WERTHEIMER: The average age of National League managers is almost 57, and hey, that's supposed to be the league where more brain power is required because there's no designated hitter. They don't call it the Senior Circuit for nothing. Not that the American League managers are all spring chickens either. The Central Division leader is Detroit, managed by Jimmy Leyland, who is 64. That means that by the end of the year, four of the six division-leading managers will be eligible for full Social Security benefits.
NBA: Perhaps baseball managers are older because the sport has more of a hierarchy. With the minor leagues you have to work your way up. And also, baseball is the only sport where the managers dress just like their players. It hides their age. Everybody loves a man in uniform, even an old man.
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WERTHEIMER: Commentator Frank Deford joins us each Wednesday from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Connecticut.
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