“Nellie was able to keep a positive attitude and strong faith that things happen for a reason. He had great admiration for Pirates General Manager Branch Rickey* and enjoyed quoting his parables.
One of Nellie's favorites concerned the nature of happiness. "Mr. Rickey likened happiness to a 'cur-dog.' There was a worker who was busy painting a garage. Just as he was beginning to paint he noticed a cur dog [a "mutt"] nearby. Fascinated by the dog, he reached down and tried to pet the animal. As soon as he did, the dog ran away. So the painter returned to his job and soon the dog returned. The dog nudged his leg; unaware of the dog, the man kept painting and whistling. Suddenly he felt the dog reaching up and pawing at his thigh.
Mr. Rickey would go on to explain, 'That's what happiness is. You can't go out looking and searching for it, if you do, it will escape from you and run away like that cur-dog. But if you go about your work, enjoying it, happiness will be there right beside you.'"
Written by Nellie's good friend, Baseball Writer Bob Hurte.
* Wesley Branch Rickey was an innovative Major League Baseball executive best known for two things: breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier by signing African American player Jackie Robinson and later drafting the first Hispanic superstar Roberto Clemente; and creating the framework for the modern minor league farm system, as well as introducing the batting helmet. His many achievements and outspoken Christian faith earned him the nickname "the Mahātmā."