retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Everybody has a story. I'd like to share one from an MNB reader … not that it has anything to do with business, except that I'm pretty much able to find a business lesson almost anywhere.

The story comes from MNB reader Charlie Fowler, who wrote me the other day after I did a brief obit for Ralph Kiner, who was one of the most prodigious sluggers in Major League Baseball history, as well as the longtime announcer for the New York Mets….

I thought you might enjoy a Ralph Kiner Story.
1954 . New York Giants. Spring training..Phoenix....I was a rookie pitcher (just out of the Army, along with Willie Mays).
Leo Durocher started me against the Chicago Cubs.
I forget the exact inning but I was pitching against Ralph with the bases loaded. ( Two outs)
A two and two count and Wes Westrum called for a curve ball.
I threw a beautiful sidearm curve ball right over the outside corner of the plate
which was a perfect strike. I started to walk off the mound and head for the dugout
when I heard the umpire yell, " ball three"....I couldn't believe it. Next pitch called by Wes,
was another curve ball This time, I threw it overhand and hung it...I think
(it has never been reported by anyone) that Neil Armstrong found it on the moon.

I do believe that Mr. Kiner had a habit of hitting " moon shots"

I hope you enjoyed this little trip back to a time when baseball players were there for the fun
of the game we all loved and not for the double digit millions of dollars per year.

I did. And do. On all sorts of levels.

First of all, you cannot imagine the pure joy it gives me that MNB is being read by someone who played with Willie Mays and pitched to Ralph Kiner. (That's a picture of Fowler and Mays, above.)

And I love the way Charlie Fowler describes the scene … it could have happened yesterday, the memory is so clear. You know that he can still see that first curve, and hear the umpire's voice, and still is kicking himself for that second pitch…

As for the business lesson … well, it seems to me that in all our businesses, there are times that we do everything right, and it still doesn't work out. And so we have to do everything right a second time, and maybe a third time … until we get the result we're looking for.

Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn't.

This morning, I want to thank Charlie Fowler for sharing a bit of his past, a little bit of history, in a way that makes me smile.

He reminds us that everybody has a story…

It indeed was an Eye-Opener.

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