Friday, February 4, 2011



When the Cincinnati Reds signed Pete Rose in 1961, the organization made a regular habit of signing young Cincinnati-area players to fill its minor league rosters. Rose was signed not because he was an attractive prospect but because he was from the area. When he arrived at spring training in Tampa, Florida, he had one above-average tool—his speed—plus an abundance of enthusiasm and determination. His arm strength was barely average, his defensive skills were unimpressive, and he lacked power. But Rose was always among the first to work out in the morning and the last to stop at night. When his assigned team was not scheduled to be doing anything, he would mix with another team and find some way to get extra work. Rose had been assigned to Karl Kuehl’s Class D Geneva, New York, team for spring training, but one day Kuehl went over to the Triple A game. One game was not enough for Rose, so after his workouts ended he would dash over to the Triple A game and tell the veterans, “If you’ve had enough for today, I’d love to finish the game for you.” When a veteran chose to opt out, Rose would take over for the late innings. No other young player had the nerve to make such an outlandish request, and it paid off for Rose—he got noticed and kept moving through the system.

Rose thus ignored the tacit demands to conform, and he advanced by not being afraid to be different. He chose extra work and spending time with more advanced players over team bonding. This takes some degree of courage, since he did make himself stand out from the crowd with his work ethic and relentless hustle.

From "Mental Toughness: Baseball’s Winning Edge" by Karl Kuehl, John Kuehl, and Casey Tefertiller

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