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Yankees ride the power of friendship

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams.

They’re the only guys who’ve played for the New York Yankees throughout the team’s dazzling 10- year run featuring six American League championships and four World Series titles.

The four are widely regarded as the heart and soul of the championship team and a rarity during this era of free agency and mega-egos, when players switch teams—and loyalties—in search of a few million dollars more.

In a sport where continuity is rare, their friendship reinforces their leadership. Examples:
  • Rivera’s joy in the friendship contrasts with his control on the pitcher’s mound. “I love these guys,” he says. “They touch my heart deep. They make me better than I am.”

  • Jeter jokes around a lot with Posada on and off the field. But when Posada’s baby boy needed brain surgery, Jeter sat with his friend at the hospital.

  • When Rivera took the mound after the funerals of two relatives, Jeter and Posada showed their respect by going to the mound to welcome Rivera back to work.

  • Williams says his three friends keep him grounded against the vagaries of fortune and fame. “It makes you feel like an outsider in your own life,” says the outfielder.
Rivera puts it this way:

“I lost a lot when I got money. I lost a lot more when I got fame. I needed these guys more and more. Other than my family and God, they are all I got that matters.”

—Adapted from “A Winning Friendship: Four teammates and the bond that helped make them champions,” Molly O’Neill, Reader’s Digest.

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