Yes, he always seemed considerably older, more conservative and religious, and less concerned with current styles than the rest of the Beacon Journal staff. I guess that’s what you must do to stand out in that group.
In many respects, Dick was one of the most normal people I ever met. He cared deeply about our government, courts, religion, family, and, of course, baseball. But I can only remember a couple of times when he said or did anything that reflected anger or resentment. It didn’t offend him that someone or something was different.
The term was not current when we knew him, but Dick reflected what business folks later came to call emotional intelligence. He cared deeply about fundamental principles, as any Presbyterian elder or Midwestern American might. But he was able to understand and relate attitudes and practices I’m sure he could find no reason to approve. As a court reporter, he learned of the worst behavior Akron could produce, some of it on the part of officialdom. He put what he could in the paper and rarely offered any “tidbits” in private conversations. He also managed to remove any trace of resentment toward terrible behavior. If he made judgments, he made them without the anger and condemnation you might expect.
Many of you know that Dick and I shared an extreme love of baseball. It included vacations to visit minor-league teams for a couple of weeks in several summers. In most cases, we’d spend a single day in each little town. In most cases, we would scan the skyline of a town like Elmira, N. Y., for the stadium light towers before finding our next tiny, homey motel. The days were spent traveling or walking around town, often seeking out landmarks telling their part in local history. Dick often could provide lengthy details of how those places played roles in the Revolutionary War.
The trips were a joy. Also along were Chuck Kirkwood, the former law professor and prosecutor, and Ted Lukcas, a linguist Dick met in his Washington, D. C. days. The conversations were rich and I’d love to recreate them for you but we would never have space and I fear I could no longer do justice to the subtlety of points by those three great friends.
At the center of every trip was the Replay Money League of which we were all members. It remains a league of mostly middle-age and older men playing a baseball simulation game, but that hardly does it justice. Even in the days when the game was played with dice, we played 162-game schedules with up to 26 teams nationwide. (We did have at least one owner stationed in France and, later, Australia). We added up all of the stats and reported them by mail about twice a month.
I was commissioner of that league for a short time and one of the smartest things I ever did was to give up that job, which as a young father I found overwhelming, and begged Dick to take it over.
That’s when I saw those characteristics that I have called Emotional Intelligence. These were 26 men who were convinced they knew a lot about baseball and had strong opinions about how the league should be operated. The league constitution was about 10 pages long and kept growing. We all had tremendous egos, even Dick, and we used it to study minor-league and even high school and college players who might be draft to our teams.
You might wonder how we kept all of these details straight. It turns out Dick and Marilynn didn’t spend their Washington days looking at monuments. They worked for the National Security Administration. That’s where they met Ted. It was the time when computers were the size of gymnasiums and Washington’s team was the Senators. We used to tease Ted about how his job was to read messages from foreign embassies and conclude that the ambassador was ordering lingerie. They offered virtually no details of their days as intellectual spies. But Dick and Ted both shared their strange affection for Griffith Stadium.
Later those skills came in handy. Dick, and I believe mostly Marilynn, wrote from scratch the Apple II code need to input, collect and report statistics. Remember, we had 26 teams and most had 30 major-league players and up to 50 minor-leaguers. It ran smoothly until Strat-O-Matic produced a game for the computer.
Dick once worked in the editorial department and from what I learned about him later, he would have been ideal for that job. Yes, he was far more conservative than I was but I would trust his ability to consider any point I made and represent it well. I have no idea why he moved on from there.
As courthouse reporter, he was a legend. Whenever I went to the courthouse, I always talked to him first to get the proper background. And if sources learned I knew him well, they usually followed with a compliment for Dick.
So it might seem strange for a non-athlete to wear an elastic band for his eyeglasses. His clothing might have seemed a couple years outdated and selected by a person who cared little about appearance except to avoid drawing attention to himself.