36 years ago on July 24 ,1983, Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett hit the infamous home run in Yankee Stadium that would be overturned due to a technicality of how much pine tar he had on his bat. Many sports fans recall this episode as one that still shows up frequently on highlights and historical reels.
But what you may not know is that almost nine years to the date after this event occurred, Frank White, KC Royals legend and Brett’s teammate for 18 years, was my manager in Rookie Ball for the Winter Haven Red Sox.
As Frank and I chatted one evening soon after I had been drafted and joined the team, the pine tar incident came up and he shared the amazing story of how he calmly told Brett, upon his return to the dugout, that the homerun might be challenged and the play ruled an out. Brett, always full of emotion, exploded out of the dugout once the call was made, as White calmly predicted.
The story was humorous and I appreciated it at the time, but I could never have imagined how I would apply it to my life and business in the future.
My personality is more like George Brett; I am passionate and excitable. While Brett is an obvious hall of famer, and I am not, he thrived in those moments and used his emotion to drive outcomes. But Frank White also thrived, staying amazingly calm and cool no matter the situation. Those two gentlemen accomplished incredible feats including the 1985 World Series Title and, for a short period of time, together they had played the most games of any MLB teammates in history.
This story about Brett and White taught me to open my mind and heart, to see the differences in a teammate as strengths and not mistakenly call differences weaknesses. If you want to accomplish big things, it will take a village and many different people with talents that compliment yours.
In the business world, no one can go far alone. Understand your personality traits and strengths, and align them with people who offset your weaknesses. Help each other to understand, listen to others’ perspective, and then move forward. Not everyone is going to thrive, but those who do continually learn and evaluate new ways of thinking in their life and practice.