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Babe Ruth and Leadership

July 19, 2012

Babe Ruth was one of the best baseball players to ever step foot onto a field.  His single season and lifetime home run records lasted decades and he led the league in home runs 12 times. His lifetime batting average was an amazing .342 (2 points higher than the great Lou Gehrig). His won/loss record as a pitcher was 94/46 for a .671 average with a 2.28 ERA and 72% complete games.  Not as well-known is his pitching record as a Yankee: 5-0 in three decades including complete games in 1930 and 1933.  Astounding!  Yet he was passed over by many teams to be a manager, while lesser players had steady jobs and long careers as managers.  Why is that?


It seems that to be a manager is really to be a leader and the team owners did not think he had the characteristics and character to be able to lead others – particularly because of the way he led his personal life. Flamboyant, lavish and larger than life, he was a “legend in his own time” but not thought of as a leader.  He could have been and may have been to his team mates, but the picture he presented did not exude seriousness and leadership.  He was not someone the owners felt they could trust with the management of their team. 


A lesson here is: not only do you have to be able to do the work, but you also have to present the image of the ability to effectively manage and lead.  To be thought of as a leader, everything counts!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jacqueline Seewald permalink
    July 20, 2012 11:58 am

    Ruth was famous for rude and crude remarks, but he’s often quoted. One of his most famous occurred when he was asked by a reporter why he was paid more than the president, then Hoover. Ruth’s answer: “I had a better year than he did.”

  2. July 27, 2012 9:00 pm

    Babe Ruth is part of American Folklore, but it was all true. He also gets my vote as the greatest baseball player ever.

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