Swing Will Ya?

“A baseball swing is a very finely tuned instrument. It is repetition, and more repetition, then a little more after that.”  ~Reggie Jackson

With baseball season in full swing, I can’t help but share some insight that I learned from my Father. He’s the ultimate Yankees fan, in fact, he was born in 1927, the year of  Murderers Row. When he was 11 years he attended Lou Gehrig’s world famous retirement game (with his Dad), he played baseball as kid and he knows the game so well that when watching , he often calls the moves 30 to 60 seconds before the manager does.

My dad also has the uncanny ability to share wisdom that can become lessons on success, whether it’s intentional or not. I thought back to the time he and I attended a live game and this scenario unfolded:

Cue the dramatic music:

It’s the 9th inning, there are two outs, two men on base and a batter is up at the plate in what is possibly their last at bat. The only chance they have to tie the game or to win is to get a hit now.  The batter has two strikes on him, the pressure is on, the pitcher winds up and delivers the pitch and  . . . thump, he’s out, game over. The batter watched a strike go right past him into the catcher’s mitt and he “strikes out looking.” When this happens my dad will often emphatically say, okay, he yells . . . “swing will ya?!?!”

He hates when someone goes down without taking a shot.

If that batter had swung, he might have made contact, gotten a hit, and then he might have tied or even won the game. Instead, he didn’t try and naturally, he failed. Never knowing what might have happened if only he took a swing.

The Straw That Stirs the Drink

Reggie Jackson is known as one of the greatest home run hitters of all time, but he also struck out more than anyone else, 2597 times to be exact. It’s obvious that he had no problem swinging, or, trying to succeed.

And while the all time strikeout record is not the type of record any baseball player would be very proud of, I’m sure it doesn’t bother Reggie too much, because of all of the positive accomplishments that swinging has allowed him to achieve.

  • Reggie won the MVP Award in 1973
  • He won two Silver Slugger Awards, one in 1980 and 1982
  • He was voted the World Series MVP in 1973 and 1977
  • He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1993
  • He even had a candy bar named after him

His most awe inspiring moment came in game 6 of the 1977 World Series. I have a vague recollection of watching it on TV with my Dad. Reggie hit three home runs on three pitches (meaning the first pitch from each pitcher) from three different pitchers. This helped to power the New York Yankees victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was his defining moment in pinstripes and for Jackson, it helped to earn him the nickname, “Mr. October” and no one has matched this feat since.

No Yankee in history, not Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio or Mantle, had achieved what Reggie did during that World Series. He not only hit those three home runs in a single game but he hit five home runs overall, throughout six games, both World Series Records (at the time of this was written).

The possibility of striking out did not stand in the way of Reggie Jackson swinging for the fences.

Selective Memory

You should know that Reggie’s career totals for strike outs (totaling 2597) are four and a half times MORE  than his career totals for home runs of 563. When he is mentioned, is he remembered for his failure, or for his success? Your failures don’t matter if your success triumphs over them.

Very often we let the possibility of failure stop us from swinging or from taking a chance. We don’t even try, which will always lead to failure. Isn’t that a crazy cycle? The very thought that we might fail virtually guarantees failure.

That means you have nothing to lose!

  • Call the customer
  • Ask for the sale.
  • Start that business.
  • Ask for a raise or swing as much as you need to, so that you perform well enough to deserve one.
  • Ask the person you’re attracted to to go out sometime.
  • Set a goal and plan the steps necessary to achieve it and start now.

The game of life is on the line, so swing will ya!

© Rob Liano. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rob Liano with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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