NEW YORK -- Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez never got to meet famed UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden. But Gonzalez read all his books and said there are plenty of lessons he learned and tries to pass along from the late coach, who passed away Friday night at age 99.
"He never talked about winning in any of his books. He always talked about preparation and playing the game the right way. I remember somebody asked him why he doesn't watch film of the opposing team. He said 'If we do things the way we're supposed to do them, it doesn't matter what the other team does... there were lessons you could use throughout life."
Gonzalez said he read Wooden's final book last spring and asked former Marlins pitcher Mark Hendrickson back in 2008 to try and get Wooden's autograph on one of his books when Hendrickson, a Washington State grad, returned home for a special Pac-10 event during spring training. Hendrickson never got Wooden's autograph.
Marlins utility man Mike Lamb, a Cal-State Fullerton grad who was born and raised in California, said Wooden's teachings made an impact on him at an early age.
"Growing up I had a baseball coach print out his pyramid of success and put it on t-shirts for the whole team," Lamb said. "One of his quotes was actually in the clubhouse in Milwaukee. 'Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.'
"Some of his one liners just make you step back and reflect on things."
STANTON WATCH CONTINUES... Mike Stanton's big night for Double A Jacksonville -- he finished a double shy of the cycle Friday -- wasn't lost on Gonzalez, who continues to be asked daily about the Marlins prized prospect and when he might be arriving.
Gonzalez had a funny retort Saturday before the game in the Marlins clubhouse: "If he would have hit that double, he would have been up here. That's the missing piece we were waiting for."
Gonzalez said what him impressed him most about Stanton's big night, which included a home run, triple, single and four runs scored, were the two walks the 20-year old drew.