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Baseball’s Earl Weaver on leadership

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

“Managing is work,” said Earl Weaver, legendary manager of the Baltimore Orioles baseball club, who died early this year, leaving behind some thoughts on leadership. “It’s constant decisions of whose feelings you want to hurt all the time.”

On thinking ahead: “A manager wins games in December. He tries not to lose them in July. You win pennants in the offseason when you build your team.”

On managing in the minor leagues: “You’ve got 100 more kids than spots on the team. … You write on the report, ‘4-4-4 and out.’ That’s the lowest rating in everything. You say, ‘It’s the consensus among us.’

“None of  ’em will leave until you answer ’em one question: ‘Skipper, what do you think?’ And you gotta look every one in the eye and kick their dreams in the [butt] and say, ‘Kid, there’s no way you can make my ball club.’

“If you say it mean enough, maybe they do themselves a favor and don’t waste years learning what you can see in a day. They don’t have what it takes to make the majors. Just like I never had it.”

On why he tore up his speech and cried on Brooks Robinson Day: “I’d like to be like Brooks, the guy who never said no to nobody, the ones that everybody loves because they de­­serve to be loved. Those are my heroes.”

— Adapted from “Crafty, irascible manager piled up Orioles victories,” Bart Barnes and Matt Schudel, and “Earl Weaver quotes to Thomas Boswell,” The Washington Post.

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