For an IU grad like myself, it’s been a cool week at Spring Training. On the first day of camp, Don Mattingly got asked about Bob Knight and spent a bunch of time talking about his respect for the Hoosiers’ former coach.
Then today, the late John Wooden’s name came up in the media session, as Donnie has read a lot of his books. Coach Wooden hailed from Martinsville, Indiana, which is near Bloomington.
Clearly those two are legends of the game, so it will be decades before Don could even potentially accomplish what they did as a manager/coach, but it’s still pretty neat to hear so much talk about Indiana.
Tack on Evansville’s Jamey Carroll and there’s no shortage of ties to the Hoosier state around here. Among the most well known Dodgers born there are Gil Hodges, Carl Erskine and Tommy John in addition to more recent Dodgers Eric Stults and Cory Wade.
Why is this relevant? Well, it’s not really. But hearing Donnie talk so much today about Wooden and Indiana made it somewhat noteworthy.
As for the only U.S. President from Indiana…well, that would be Benjamin Harrison, who was actually born in Ohio but spent most of his time in Indiana.
And with that, Happy President’s Day…
Word has spread quickly through Dodger Stadium that John Wooden has passed away. The entire Dodger organization extends our sincere thoughts to his family and friends, which include several members of the team…Vin Scully, Joe Torre and so many others.
My understanding is that Vin will mention Coach Wooden’s passing at the top of the fourth inning on the broadcast and there are few who can do so with such class. For those who were fortunate enough to meet him, it is surely something they’ll never forget.
Many of our then-young prospects, including tonight’s starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, Blake DeWitt and Ramon Troncoso had the good fortunate to meet Coach Wooden during a private dinner one night during our Winter Development program on Jan. 11, 2008.
He will be missed by so many but his teachings and wise words of wisdom will carry forward for generations. There are so many great quotes, but here’s a personal favorite:
“It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit.”
Rest in peace, John Wooden.