Every season, Dobie Wallender would start off thinking:
THIS IS GOING TO BE MY YEAR.
He'd tell his wife:
THIS IS GOING TO BE MY YEAR. I CAN FEEL IT.
He'd tell his team mates:
THIS IS GOING TO BE MY YEAR. I KNOW IT.
He'd tell the owners:
THIS IS GOING TO BE MY YEAR. CAN I HAVE A LITTLE MORE?
And all of them would think Dobie was a terrible bare. And each year, just like clock work, Dobie would end up hitting his regular. 260.
FUNNY - I COULD HAVE SWORN.
Then - one year - on the first day of the season, Dobie Wallender went four for four.
And on the second day of the season, Dobie Wallender went four for four.
And all that week and the week after that, Dobie Wallender went four for four.
His wife was very happy. His team mates were very happy. And the owners (who gave him a sizeable increase) were very happy.
WHAT DID I TELL YOU? DIDN'T I SAY THIS WAS GOING TO BE MY YEAR? HUH? DIDN'T I? YOU KNOW I DID! DIDN'T I SAY —
He got prizes. He got awards. He got a "Dobie Wallender Day" ceremony from the citizens of the community.
SO I SAID TO MY WIFE - "NOW DEAR, I CAN NOT BE SURE OF THIS FOR WHICH OF US IN THIS UNCERTAIN WORLD CAN BE SURE OF ANYTHING - BUT I HAE A FEELING THAT THIS YEAR—"
Advertisers flocked to him
He appeared on TV—on discussion shows:
WELL IF YOU ASK ME, I FEEL THAT TODAY'S YOUTH ARE BASICALLY NO DIFFERENT THAN THE YOUTH OF MY DAY.
On interview shows:
PERSONALLY ED, THE WAY I SEE IS THAT TODAY YOUTH ARE IN MY OPINON FOR WHAT TS WORTH, BASICALLY NO DIFFERENT THAN THE YOUTH OF MY DAY.
On dramatic shows:
BILLIE BOY, I AM GOING TO GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO RETURN THAT STOLEN FIRST BASEMAN'S MITT BECAUSE I FEEL THAT TODAY'S YOUTH ARE BASICALLY NO DIFFERENT THAN THE YOUTH OF MY DAY.
But no matter how many ads he posed for or how many TV shows he went on Dobie still went out to the ball park every afternoon and - Soon people came to expect it.
FOUR FOR FOUR!
FOUR FOR FOUR!
LET'S GO BOWLING.
Attendance started falling off, TV interviews were cancelled.
GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF DOBIE - PERFECTION IS ALRIGHT, BUT BASEBALL IS A PERSONALITY GAME. WHY DON'T YOU START DRINKING?
Dobie couldn't understand-
I KNOW WHAT IT IS YOU SEE - LIKE I'M NOT GETTING THOSE EXTRA BASE HITS YOU SEE. THEY'RE SURE TO LIKE ME AGAIN ONCE I GO FOR THOSE EXTRA BASE HITS YOU SEE - AND I HAVE A FEELING, MIND YOU, THAT THIS WEEK I'LL HIT MORE EXTRA BASE -
Dobie was becoming a bore.
"-THE WAY I SEE IT IS THAT TODAY'S YOUTH ARE BASICALLY NO DIFFERENT - "
Finally the owners came to see him:
DOBIE, IF THERE'S ONE THING WE APPRECIATE IT'S A GREAT COMPETITOR. AND YOU ARE CERTAINLY THAT. A GREAT COMPETITOR. BUT, DOBIE, NOT EVERYONE APPRECIATES A GREAT COMPETITOR THE WAY WE APPRECIATE A GREAT COMPETITOR. NOBODY IS COMING TO OUR BALL PARK, DOBIE. WE'RE CUTTING YOUR SALARY IN HALF.
Every one on the team took a pay cut.
WHY DON'T THEY LIKE ME? AREN'T I HITTING 1,000?
IF ONLY I COULD BE ERRATIC -
His business agent grew very unhappy.
THE DOBIE WALLENDER ROD AND REEL COMPANY WENT DOWN SEVEN POINTS. THE DOBIE WALLENDER MEN'S WEAR COMPANY DROPPED TWELVE POINTS. THE DOBIE WALLENDER PIZZA PALACES HAD TO CLOSE IN FIVE STATES.
Sales of products he endorsed went plummeting. Dobie went on tranquilizers and sleeping pills.
Yet each new day he would drag himself off to the ball park and before nearly empty stands he would go -
Then came the last game of the season - and the ball park was jammed - the biggest crowd of the year!
Not buying hot dogs - not buying soda pop - not saying a word.
Dobie came up and got his first hit. Nobody made a sound.
Dobie came up and got his next two hits. Nobody made a sound.
Dobie came up for his last time at bat -
And slowly the stands began to empty -
One by one the fans left their seats and marched onto the field - toward Dobie.
And the players threw down their gloves and joined them -
And Dobie's own team rose from the dugout and joined them -
And the TV camera ment and the reporters - and the owners - all moving slowly toward him
Dobie Wallender began to run -
He sprinted across the field -
Skirted the left field fence -
— and was gone.
THIRTY SEVEN ILLUSTRATIONS