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Apr19
Leadership from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown
I spent several hours exploring the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on Monday. I enjoyed it immensely as did my three boys.

I found inspiration in many places and saw several examples of leadership. Here are some of the things I learned about people that mattered and the their impact on America’s favorite pastime:

Confidence - Babe Ruth was not just a great pitcher and hitter, he essentially changed the way baseball was played. Home runs were hardly a part of the game in 1914 when Ruth entered the major leagues. He led the league in home runs in 1918 with 11 homers, 29 in 1919 and 54 in 1920. That is some growth rate. In 1927, he hit 60 home runs in a 154-game season. That year his personal HR total accounted for 14% of all home runs in the American League. In today’s game, a player would need to hit more than 340 home runs in a season to account for 14% of the American League’s total homerun output. He was a superstar. The game would never be the same.

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

Character - Jackie Robinson retired from baseball after ten seasons when he wasJackie HOF.JPG traded to cross-town rival the New York Giants. It wasn’t about money or fame for Robinson. He could have found both if he would have played another 10 seasons. He didn’t want to be treated as chattel. He had fought too hard as a player and activist to be treated like property. His retirement was graceful. He did not make a stink about it. He simply did not want to play for another team. So he quietly left the game that he had done so much for.

"A life is not important," he said, "except in the impact it has on other lives."

Innovation - Branch Rickey changed baseball through two profound innovations as a baseball executive. In 1947 he brokeRickey HOF.JPG baseball's color barrier by signing the African-American player Jackie Robinson to a major league contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The decision was landmark – not just in sports. Robinson's major league debut preceded a US military desegregation by a year and came seven years before the Supreme Court ruled desegregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Rickey also created the framework to the modern minor league farm system and developed the first full-time spring training facility and utilized now commonplace tools such as the batting cage, pitching machines, and batting helmets.


“It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind”

Vision - Charles Isham Taylor was a leader in developing opportunities forIC Taylor HOF.JPG African-American baseball players, teams and leagues. “CI” served in the Spanish-American War in the Philippines and attended college at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia – unlikely events for an African-American at the turn of the century. He started the first black professional baseball team in 1904 in Birmingham, Alabama, recruiting from Southern colleges. Ten years later he became half-owner and manager of the Indianapolis ABC's s and was a co-founder and vice president of the Negro National League.

Then I just had fun with my family looking at the great memorabilia.

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