When I was six or seven years old, my father took me to my first Major League Baseball game—the New York Giants versus the St. Louis Cardinals. It wasn't just about seeing the game. My father, who retired as an admiral in the U.S. Navy, wanted me to see two players in particular on the Cardinals—No. 9, Enos Slaughter, and No. 6, Stan Musial. “They'll teach you something about values,” my father told me.
When Slaughter came up to bat, he hit a ground ball and ran to first base like his life depended on it. That was the first leadership value: “If anything is worth doing, you've got to give it your all. Be like Enos Slaughter running to first,” my father told me.
When Musial came up to bat, he was the perfect gentleman. Even when the umpire made a bad call on a pitch, Musial never said anything. That was the second value: Accept what comes your way graciously, and understand that sometimes others make mistakes.
Through those two players I received an early education in leadership values—courtesy of my father, who was one of the most important role models of my life. (Among the others are my wife, Margie, and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, whom I had the honor of meeting in 1986 when I was 47 and he was 87.)
That long ago baseball game also taught me another important lesson ...