Today is a bittersweet and strange day for me. It marks the 20th Anniversary of the end of my career in professional baseball, August 31, 2001.
It’s impossible to imagine 20-years have passed since this date. I know I don’t look old enough to have two, 20-year careers, but to date, I have.
I feel tremendous grateful to have been able to both pursue my childhood dream on my own terms and follow it where-ever it led me, as well as being able to make my own decision to end my baseball career and move on to something else on my own terms and on my own timetable. It was 100% my decision.
Not everyone can say they have been able to either one of those things, never mind both.
I knew at a very young age and stage of my career, probably in my 2nd or 3rd season as a CEO in baseball that I would be out of the game by the age of 50. I made the move at 41.
That move led me to a second career as a professional business coach and professional keynote speaker, workshop presenter, and author, which is now coming to the end of its 20th year. I know I don’t look that old.
But, it was that baseball career that was launched when a 7-year-old boy, walked hand-in-hand with his dad on Father’s Day in 1967 across the parking lot of Shea Stadium, the former home for the New York Mets.
It was on that day that I believe I subconsciously decided I would have a career in professional baseball.
Of course, the idea at that age and through junior high school was to be the athlete on the field. At the spry old age of 13 I was cut from the tryouts of my 9th grade baseball team and figured I better launch a new career path. So I did.
Originally, I chose a career in sports broadcasting and attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio to attend is highly regarded broadcast journalism school. In my senior year at OU learned of its even more highly regarded Sports Administration & Facility Management Masters Program.
An internship in 1982 with the Charlotte O’s, the Class-AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles got me started and just years later on January 28, 1986 I was officially promoted to vice president, general manager and CEO of my first professional baseball team, the Greensboro Hornets.
In some of my keynote speeches I tell the story of how during a home game in the middle of my 17 season in baseball I decided it was time to move on to something else. But baseball, to that point in time, was all I knew, all I seemed to care about, and all anyone knew me for.
What else could I do? I decided during that 17th season I would take the next 2 1/2 years to figure it out and leave after 20. And, I did.
These are some of the photos from that final home game. A night, with people I will cherish forever, including:
Martha & Mel – my two parents who gave me every opportunity and all the support a kid could ever ask for in pursuing his dreams.
Marvin Goldklang – owner of the Hudson Valley Renegades, the last of the 5 baseball franchises I served as CEO for. And, who helped me fulfill my secondary dream of equity ownership in my own baseball team, when he offered me the opportunity to join him in the ownership group of the Hudson Valley team when we moved from Erie, Pennsylvania to Fishkill, NY in 1994.
Steve Gliner (2nd from the left next to Marv Goldklang in the photo below) – the man who replaced me as president, general manager and CEO of the Hudson Valley Renegades and who remains a close friend and what seems to be my only remaining conduit to the professional baseball industry after all these years.
’til next time,