"Close don't count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and grenades." Source: Time Magazine (July 31, 1973)
"I don't see anyone playing in the major leagues today (1982) who combines both the talent and the intensity that I had. I always tried to do the best. I knew I couldn't always be the best, but I tried to be." Source: Hall of Fame Induction Day Speech
"I don't see why you reporters keep confusing Brooks (Robinson)
and me. Can't you see that we wear different numbers."
"If I had one wish in the world today, it would be that Jackie Robinson
could be here to see this happen." Source: 1974 Press Conference (On being the first black manager)
"If the guys on the bench were as good as the guys you have out there, they'd be out there in first place."
"I had no trouble communicating, the player's just didn't like what I had to say."
"I have heard of managers who encourage players not to slide hard for fear they will get hurt and be lost from the lineup for a time. That is why you occasionally see a player go into second base on a double-play ball and not even bother to slide. I wonder, could Ty Cobb
sit though plays like that and hold his lunch?"
"It's nice to come into a town and be referred to as the manager of the Cleveland Indians instead of as the first black manager." Source: The Sporting News (October 25, 1975)
"Managers don't have as much leverage as they used to have. We can't really be the boss. If I say to a veteran player, 'If you don't perform, you may be sent back to the minors, they look at me and say, 'Who are you kidding? I'm not going anyplace. I've already had three years in the major leagues and you can't send me back to the minor leagues without my ok.'" Source: Washingtonian (August 1989)
"No, I don't think my presence will cause an increase in black attendance at Cleveland. People come out to see the players. When do you see a manager anyway? When he's out on the field arguing with the umpires, making a fool of himself and you know you can't win, and when he brings out the line-up card." Source: CBS Face the Nation (October 13, 1974)
"Pitchers did me a favor when they knocked me down. It made me more determined. I wouldn't let that pitcher get me out. They say you can't hit if you're on your back, but I didn't hit on my back. I got up."
"Probably the most dramatic change in pitching I've observed in my years in baseball has been the disappearance of the knockdown or brushback pitch. This is why record numbers of home runs are flying out of ballparks, why earned run averages are soaring, and why there are so few twenty game winners in the majors."
"The baselines belongs to the runner, and whenever I was running the bases, I always slid hard. I wanted infielders to have that instant's hesitation about coming across the bag at second or about standing in there awaiting a throw to make a tag. There are only twenty-seven outs in a ballgame, and it was my job to save one for my team every time I possibly could."
"The fan is the one who suffers. He cheers a guy to a .350 season then watches that player sign with another team. When you destroy fan loyalties, you destroy everything."
"There's absolutely no way you can go barreling into second and dump a guy on a double play, like you should do, when you've been fraternizing with him before a game."