Thursday, October 13, 2005

Lessons on Leadership

Basil over at The Blog Formerly Known as Nationals Inquirer has a great post fisking a Bill Ladson interview with Nats Prez Tony Tavares. Tony basically slams Hall of Famer Frank Robinson for failing to instill proper work ethic in the team and, generally, for a lack of leadership, especially down the stretch. All of which is very true.

But in reading Basil's piece, a thought struck me: Why are we surprised? Why should we have thought anything differently about Frank Robinson? He wasn't a particularly effective leader as player -- notoriously prickly and aloof, as if he, first and foremost, wanted to make sure that everyone knew how great he was. There was no indication that he was a mentor to younger players -- you don't often hear players from the next generation how Frank showed them the way. Nor has he shown that trait in his many previous mediocre managerial stints. Have you ever heard Frank quoted as saying "I just love being around the ballplayers, especially the younger guys, teaching them to play the game the right way."?

Someone once said leadership is the ability to inflict pain and get away with it. Unfortunately Frank is expert in only one of those things.


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