Notes from the Diamond #3: Everything Has Its Price
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“… Williams likely would have most enjoyed mentoring …”
You must be joking, Mr Baseball-Is-My-Game - Ted Williams wouldn’t have mentored his own son (maybe daughters, probably not). I know this because I’m older than trees and my Dad couldn’t stand Ted Williams. The latter might be because Dad loved pitchers (Bob Feller, Bob Friend, Bob Lemon, Newcombe, Erskine, (never Whitey Ford or Don Larsen (who I saw pitch his World Series perfect game - in the rec room of my college on my 17th birthday with no one else around - they were in class, I guess)). He had a habit of wrinkling his nose whenever Williams got a hit; I think it stuck. He always said that Ted Williams couldn’t spell humility - nor could any Yankee. Maybe you would have found common ground there.
So I guess we’re stuck with Red Sox memories - well, go to it then - it’s still enjoyable - lol.
Thanks for your comments. For reasons I hope to explore in a future note, I think the “narrative” (to use ET-speak) surrounding Ted Williams is not very well-founded. To be sure, TW was uniformly and aggressively hostile to reporters, starting with one of his earliest encounters with one of them very early in his MLB career, and Williams’s perhaps ill-considered approach to media relations caused many people outside as well as within media circles to view him as both selfish and arrogant. He was anything but that with many people, including not a few who were down on their luck and whom TW quietly helped with his time as well as his money; and he especially enjoyed tutoring younger players in the Bosox system, including Carl Yazstremski in the half-decade or so preceding Yaz’s Triple Crown-winning season in '67. TW was also an enthusiastic if demanding tutor of aspiring amateur baseballers at the summer sports camp in Lakeville, MA that bore his name. Again, I hope to carve out time and space to elaborate on these points in a future note. Thanks again for writing … and Go Sox.
I remember years ago, during a management training class, the instructor saying that that everyone is motivated by something. In other words, no one is unmotivated, you just need to figure out what motivates them. Some may be motivated to get home every day by 6pm, some may want the flexibility to work out at the gym ever day, and some may just want a low-stress work environment. It’s not easy but, as you point out, managers of any type of employee need to figure out what it is that motivates each member of their team. Great article!
Jeff: Thanks for your comments. Your instructor had it right, IMHO. I hope and expect to return to this topic — meaning, incentives broadly defined — in future notes. Please stay tuned. David
I hope this means that you are an Alex Bregman fan, David!
I can’t help but admire and applaud Bregman’s energy, enthusiasm and dedication to his craft. It’ll be hugely interesting to see what happens to Bregman’s compensation as he moves through his remaining years of arbitration and into the Promised Land of 6+ year status. Who knows? Perhaps he’ll wind up in a Bosox uniform eventually. FWIW, my intuition tells me that if he were a member of the Bosox, he’d be very popular throughout Red Sox Nation.
RedCat - Teddy Ballgame was also a Marine Aviator in WW2 and Korea; He flew about half of his combat missions with another Marine Aviator named John Glenn. Glenn recalled in an article that Williams was shot with flak and had to crash land his burning plane with the gear up. Glenn said they returned to flying immediately and that Williams wasn’t going to “chicken out on something like that.”
I imagine Williams was probably not too keen on the press, but he was an American hero who left playing baseball to serve in two different wars and would have owned far more records than he still does now. Arrogant? Meh. Maybe - hard for me to say as I didn’t know him. He certainly didn’t snivel about having to serve as a Marine aviator in two separate wars and giving up a lucrative (and considerably less risky) career in service to the Nation.
(I’m undoubtedly biased as a former Marine aviator myself, but I think Teddy’s worth defending on the matter.)
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