I remember when I was a young lad my dad telling me that if Ted Williams did not have to spend 5 years in the service during his baseball career, that he would have easily hit 800 home runs. If you look at the stats of Williams you could say by dad was exaggerating a bit. But, if you tool what my dad claimed and put Williams playing for the Yankees with that short right field porch. then maybe he would have hit 800 home runs if he did not miss those five years.
My dad was even wiser, but first a little background.
In 1969, Teddy Ballgame was named manager of the Washington Senators, now the Texas Rangers. Kind of made sense at the time? The greatest living hitter, one can say he had his doctorate in hitting, managing young ballplayers and imparting his wisdom upon them. Of course the Senators would soon become an American League juggernaut and march through the AL and win pennant after pennant.
Williams had one winning record, his first year as manager, and losing records the next 3 years after that. Williams never managed again.
Why? Because of what dear old dad had told me. Williams was so great, such a great hitter, that he had impossible expectations that everyone would be as great as him. Also, Williams had no respect for pitchers and did not know how to work and encourage them and constantly spoke down to them.
So what you may ask does Ted Williams have to do with education and in particular, PS 154 in the Bronx?
Let's imagine, if we can, that Ted Williams was an educator and that Ted Williams came to PS 154 to be its principal. So set your imaginations on the Splendid Splinter in the principal's office.
Ted Williams, who knew everything there was to know about education is a nice thing. But it does not translate into being a leader. Just because someone know a lot about a subject does not mean that person has the leadership qualities and mental capabilities to be a true leader.
A teacher that fails to measure up to the greatness that Ted Williams believes is only reserved for himself as a teacher and a principal is doomed to fail. Teachers set up to fail and incapable of succeeding as long as a someone like Williams is the principal of the school will be blamed by Williams as failed teachers not capable teachers being put in impossible surroundings and situations.
As Ted Williams the baseball player had total dedication, Ted Williams the manager, and now the principal at PS 154 has total dedication. But as Ted Williams the manager could not comprehend the total immersion and dedication of his players, Ted Williams the principal can't comprehend that teachers have outside lives which are equally if not more important.
When saddled with mediocre educators, or at least mediocre in the eyes of Williams -- the sort Williams the perfectionist could not abide by, not only did he lack the leadership qualities to have them rise, he is disdainful of such educators and will conjure up fiction to oust such teachers.
Just remember this, it does not take greatness to be a MLB manager or a NYC principal. Look at the likes of Bobby Cox, Sparky Anderson, Walter Alston, Earl Weaver, Tony LaRussa and many more accomplished managers. None of them could carry Ted Williams' jock.
But Ted Williams, could not carry the jock of so many managers of today and yesterday. What does that tell you?