Pete and Dusty

During the recently completed baseball World Series, I read an article about Dusty Baker, the manager of the world champion Houston Astros.

Dusty managed the Cubs in the early 2000s, and like many Cubs fans, I loved him until the team fell apart under his watch. Now, with the passing of time, I have great respect for all he’s accomplished in my favorite sport.

In that article, one of Dusty’s players told the story of a conversation between Dusty and Pete Rose.*

(*Pete Rose has more base hits than any other major league player ever. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest hitters to ever play but lives with a huge asterisk by his name because he gambled on baseball games, including betting on games he and his players were involved in.)

Pete’s competitiveness was legendary.

So the story goes that Pete and Dusty were chatting before a game and Pete asked Dusty how he was feeling. Dusty replied “2 for 4, I’m fine.” Dusty was anticipating a good game that day, predicting two base hits.

Now that’s just talking about one game, but 2 for 4, two hits in four at-bats, is a strong contribution to his team. Over the course of a season, players might average one hit in four at-bats, a .250 batting average. The total batting average among major league players in 2022 was lower than that.

And Pete’s reply caught my attention.

“So that means you’re giving up two at-bats before you go to the plate?”

Dusty told Pete that he expected a strong game and Pete said that wasn’t good enough. To demand more from himself.

Pete was the best at getting base hits and maybe that’s the kind of attitude that helped in establish that mark.

Can we apply that outside of the ballpark?

Don’t just give away your at-bats. Don’t plan to fall short.

What do you think?

See you tomorrow!