FOX has been replaying Jim Sundberg’s famous game-winning slide for the Royals from the 1985 World Series practically non-stop. I caught up with Jim and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the series.
This year’s Royals team is looked on as a Cinderella that came out of nowhere. Was your ’85 team looked on the same way?
Similar in several ways in that we didn’t win our division until one day remaining in regular season. We had strong pitching, good defense and timing hitting. I believe we had a better rotation and the current KC Club had a better back end bullpen. We hardly used our bullpen outside of Quisenbury in WS, whereas, the ’14 KC team will hope they use their last three guys out of the pen. If they have a 6th or 7th inning lead, KC will win the series.
What do you think made your 1985 World Series team so special?
Our starting rotation ended up being the best in baseball the last three weeks of regular season and all of the post season play. I believe both Toronto and St. Louis hit around .150 – .160 as a team. Good defense and grinding out guys with key hits.
Catchers are often called the quarterback of the baseball diamond, especially with a younger team. What do you feel made you a good leader?
KC manager Dick Howser said that I was a missing ingredient that would help the Royals win a WS because of KC’s young staff. Our young pitchers, Brett Saberhagen, Danny Jackson and Mark Gubizah along with veterans Bud Black and Charlie Leibrant were great to work with and very talented. A great roation to a catcher is like a great bullpen to a manager, they make us looks smart. We had great chemistry, good communication and they respected what I brought to the table, experience! A good leader knows his staff, what makes them click, how to get the best out of them and they know that he cares about their success and is respected for those characteristics.
What lessons have you carried over from the experience into being a successful baseball executive?
I have learned that the characteristics mentioned above about a good leader is true: knows his staff, what makes them click, how to get the best out of them and they know that you care about their success and is respected for those characteristics. An executive has to be ab le to “show the way” (walk the talk), communicate the way on a regular basis (sale it internally to staff) and willingness to adjust vision details (adapt to cultural changes).
When you speak to audiences about leadership and teamwork, what can they learn from that special 1985 World Series team?
Baseball is a great example of how people need to except and appreciate what the others around them can do. Every player on the field has a role and supported by those playing around them. A group of people need to decide to come together, excepting each ones’ skill set and appreciate what others bring to the table and there is a buy-in because the gain far outweighs the pain. From this point, momentum will come from consistent successes and will chemistry will add to coming together and the cycle starts again.
Jim is currently with the Texas Rangers organization and is a sought after motivational speaker that you can check out here.
Also check out: What’s It Like To Spend A Morning With Peyton Manning?
What is the single best step an age-group triathlete can take to be successful?
How do you come back from a tough defeat? (Dave lost the Ironman world championship six time before overcoming his arch rival Dave Scott to win six straight himself).
What are the universal tools people need in order to be successful in sports and business?
If you can take a story from a 7’4 NBA player and immediately apply it to your elementary school daughters, you know the guy has a good story. Former auto mechanic turned NBA all-star Mark Eaton was nice enough to swing by the office for lunch and an interview. One of his stories I liked best is that even with a natural advantage (being 7’4), he still had to work extremely hard to succeed.
When I got home that evening, I asked my daughters this question- If you knew you were going to be on the bench and wouldn’t get in the game, would you still work hard at practice? My oldest daughter immediately said, “Yes, so I can get in the game!”. My youngest daughter wasn’t so sure, so I shared part of Mark’s story. Spotted by a junior college coachon an LA street corner on his way to his job as an auto mechanic, Mark eventually made it onto UCLA’s squad, where he sat the bench. In his senior year, he played a total of just 41 minutes during the entire season. However, following the advice of the junior college coach who helped him get started, he made sure to make every practice count. He’d treat every practice like it was the game, where he’d try to out-work and out-hustle everyone. He’d be the first person to the gym and the last person to leave.
After graduation, he and his old coach began cold calling NBA teams for a tryout, because no one had ever heard of him. One team, the Jazz, were so desperate that they gave a tryout to a guy who couldn’t get off the bench in college. That 7 feet, four inches of height wasn’t enough to get him into a game in college, but adding that to those thankless years of hard work paid off. Mark not only got in the game, but he became a starter. He became not just a starter, but an All-Star and two-time Defensive Player Of The Year on a perennial playoff team, going from a total of 41 minutes of game time his senior year to over 25,000 minutes of playing time over 11 years against the best players in the world in the NBA.
So, I got to share his message right away with my daughters- natural ability has it’s place, but you’ll go so much farther if you combine it with hard work.
Here’s my interview with Mark Eaton:
Special thanks to Eric Woodie for the video work.
Did you know that many triathletes and runners have a secret weapon they could be using at work? Make sure to only read this article if you want to improve your work performance, triathlon performance, avoid crows feet, and enhance your “that person is weird but also weirdly cool” vibe you’ve likely been building up with your non-endurance co-workers.
Last year I read an article called “Balance Training For Triathletes” by Ben Greenfield in LAVA Magazine. In it, Ben states that to improve your visual balance, triathletes who spend quite a bit of time looking at screens (i.e., almost everyone) should wear “gamer” glasses. According to the Vision Council, 70% of US adults do experience eye strain from staring at computer screens. I did some research and found out that A) the science checks out and gamer glasses do help reduce eye strain for most people, and B) gamer glasses start at $80-$100, which I didn’t want to spend.
However, I found out that as a triathlete, I already had gamer glasses and didn’t know it. Continue Reading
What system allows you to be prepared no matter the situation? Col. Mark Tillman, Pilot of Air Force One on 9/11, shares about the “Zero Fail Mission” philosophy. Col. Tillman flew for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush and certainly has some amazing stories to tell.
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During a chance encounter on an airplane (where else?), former Southwest Airlines CEO Howard Putnam ran into a talented and ambitious but inexperienced leader in need of some guidance. What 1o tools did Howard Putnam tell this younger leader were needed?
How do you help a friend who has suddenly been hospitalized? I had a good friend who crashed on her bike yesterday training for Ironman Chattanooga, suffered a severe injury and is now facing a long hospital stay and even longer recuperation. I’ve had a surprise hospitalization and long recovery myself, so I thought I’d write down some things you can do to help a friend in the same situation.
For an oversimplified version of my story, a fist sized mass on my small intestine, which had grown from a surgery 30 years earlier, decided to explode, because, you know, it felt like it. I went to the hospital at 3AM, and woke up sometime the next day with tubes in my nose, horrible pain, and had a half foot incision on my stomach. After 10 days in the hospital on an IV drip, I was released to go home. It was a high stress time, as we had a newborn, a toddler and had just moved into a new house without having been able to sell our old house (thank you, economy :). Since they cut clear through the muscles of the abdominal wall, I couldn’t support anything, and wasn’t allowed to hold my little baby for almost two months. Come to think of it, my intestines exploded almost 7 years ago today, and it took till about Christmas till I was back to normal.
Luckily, we had an incredible group of friends and family looking out for us, and they set a great example for how to help someone like us in need.
Prayer works. Jesus is listening, so pray for that person daily or whenever they come to mind.
A meal list is a popular thing, but you need to make sure you do it the right way. Sometimes people feel the size of their dish has to be big to show they care, but seriously, who can eat a gigantic vegetable lasagna in one sitting? Also, make sure that if you make a meal for someone, it’s in a disposable dish. We ended up having quite a collection of those porcelain casserole dishes with no idea who they belonged to. Our Sunday school class and neighbors were amazing. Make sure you leave instruction if necessary. An Indian family across the street made us some authentic Indian food. When we relayed that we’d mixed the rice-type stuff and the cinnamon golf ball thing together, they were like, “Yeah, you mixed the main course and the dessert together…but that’s totally, uh, fine.”
I like to do gift cards for places that deliver, or are very close to their home or where their spouse works. That way, they can get what they want, when they want it. If it’s a delivery place, make sure to not just give the gift card (which they can use to pay over the phone), but also include a few bucks for tip for the delivery person, which generally you can’t do with a gift card.
Crowdrise and some other places have cool ways to collect funds for people. Gift cards to places like Target, Wal-Mart, Publix, etc, work well (ask a closer friend who might know where they shop).
Want to always be prepared to help? Start Your Own Emergency Giving Fund!
4) House help
One of our neighbors hired a guy to mow our yard. I was completely out of it, and it never occurred to me to do it myself. I remember laundry was the bane of our existence for a while. See if you can help around the house, or better yet, hire a house cleaner for them for a time. Sometimes people prefer to have a stranger cleaning things up, rather than having a friend see all their mess. Cleaners can be expensive, so in one instance 10 friends got together and paid for it. Also, don’t forget their spouse. Often it’s harder on them in some ways that the person with the physical recovery. My wife was awesome, but I know it really took a toll on her, and it was great when family or friends came and gave her a break.
Take out your calendar right now, whether its in a planner or on your phone or whatever, and mark it for one month, two months, and/or three months from now. THAT is when this friend of yours really needs you. It’s human nature to have a big emotional reaction right when an accident or hospitalization occurs, but your friend is still in need much longer. Get them another gift card, watch their kids for them, send them a card to encourage them on October 1st, November 1st, and December 1st.
How has someone helped you in a time of need?
ALSO READ: 3 Small Steps To Make 1 Big Difference
How realistic was Blackhawk Down? For that matter, how realistic was Sweet Home Alabama? What did Speaker, Country Singer, Actor and Army Ranger Keni Thomas get from Reese Witherspoon as a gift? What did Ridley Scott and his crew do to almost get kicked out of the country by the king of Morocco? These and many more extremely important questions are answered here:
Why do rock stars require green M&Ms in their riders? It’s actually for a very smart reason. When I wrote about how Robin Williams’ rider helped the homeless, so many people asked me about the green M&Ms, I thought I’d give you the story here.
I first heard about this non-urban legend right when I started at William Morris Agency (now William Morris Endeavor). It’s the largest talent agency in the world, over 100 years old, and quite an interesting place for an Indiana farm boy to start working 3 days after graduation. I remember on one of my first days at work, a guy with a white beard walked past. I whispered to the woman at the desk next me, “That guy looked just like Kenny Rogers.” She gave me a funny look and whispered back, “That’s because he is Kenny Rogers.”
One of the first managers I met was a guy named Scott Brickell, who managed Audio Adrenaline at the time and later Mercy Me, among others. He’s a big dude, probably 6’5. He leaned way over the ledge near my desk and said, “Hey, kid, you know the story about why green M&M’s are in riders, right?” I’d booked bands and promoted concerts for four years in college, but I’d never seen that in a rider before. I’d heard it was one of the more famous weird demands that hair metal bands did to be obnoxious, which is what I said to Scott.
“Nope,” he replied. “The bands have nothing to do with it. Continue Reading