Joseph Laitin, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs under Secretary of
Defense James R. Schlesinger, remembers his former boss: "Defense Secretary
Schlesinger tended to speak his mind, especially when questioned on matters he considered
personal. His prickly manner sometimes carried into routine dealings with the press, often
to his advantage. Once, while the Secretary and I sipped coffee at NBC before the start of
the "Today" show, I learned that Tom Pettit would be doing the interview. I
hastily gave Schlesinger a quick briefing on what he'd probably be subjected to in front
of the camera. Pettit had a habit of bullying his guests for a good show. "Don't let
this guy get under your skin with outrageous questions," I cautioned. "Keep cool
and get your points across." Just then, Pettit walked in, a clipboard containing his
questions tucked under his arm. As they entered the studio, Schlesinger plucked the board
from a startled Pettit and glanced at it. "Pretty stupid questions, Pettit," he
said, handing the man back his board. They were on the air 30 seconds later. Pettit was a
Government Executive, Reader's Digest., Sept, 1991.
Marty Springstead, supervisor of American League umpires, said he will never forget his
first assignment behind the plate. It was in a 1966 game at Washington. Frank Howard was
playing for the Senators, and on the first pitch to the mountainous slugger, Springstead
called a knee-high fast ball a strike. Howard turned around and yelled, "Get
something straight, buster! I don't know where you came from or how you got to the major
leagues, but they don't call that pitch on me a strike. Understand?" The next pitch
was in the same spot, and Springstead yelled, "Two!" "Two what?"
Howard roared. "Too low," Springstead said, "Much too low."
Los Angeles Times, quoted in Reader's Digest, July,
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