Monday, August 27, 2012

Succeeding at Failing

Pete Rose I saw a very interesting statistic while watching the Cubs game on Sunday. One of the allures to baseball is how statistics are used to define everything. The advanced statistics that they use to try and quantify the game of baseball are incredibly complex. I still like the basic or "old school" stats like Hits, Runs,RBI and so on. I am sure that things like WAR (wins above replacement) can tell you something interesting and important about the game. But the fact that there is no clear or standardized way to figure the stat makes it less valuable to me. Although it may also have something to do with the fact that I am somewhat of a baseball purist. The Designated Hitter needs to go and at least 6 teams need to be eliminated from the league. (Pick any six out of the perennial attendance laggards Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Miami, Oakland, Pittsburg, Tampa Bay, and Washington.) But I digress.

The interesting stat that I saw was the top ten all-time leaders in making outs. For those that are not real familiar with baseball making an out is when the batter fails to do what they were trying to do. This list showed the ten guys that experienced the most failure–in terms of hitting–as baseball players. Let me share that list with you:

  1. Pete Rose
  2. Hank Aaron
  3. Carl Yastrzemski
  4. Cal Ripken
  5. Eddie Murray
  6. Rickey Henderson
  7. Dave Winfield
  8. Robin Yount
  9. Omar Vizquel
  10. Brooks Robinson
I don't know if there is a single player on that list that I would not have wanted playing for the Cubs in their prime. All but Vizquel and Robinson ended up in the top twenty in other significant career statistics like Hits, Runs Scored, Runs Batted In, Home Runs and Stolen Bases. The career leader for each of those statistics (discounting Barry Bonds' home run record) is on this list. Eight of these guys are all in the Hall of Fame. And each of these guys played Major League Baseball for at least 20 years. So what this list means is that these guys failed a lot in order to also succeed a lot. In fact they were far more successful at failing than they were at succeeding.

How often are we willing to experience a lot of failure in order to succeed? How often do we allow our fear of failure to control our success?


No comments:

Post a Comment