Earlier this week, the Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza pitched his first no-hitter. As many of you are probably aware, Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan holds the record for the most career no-hitters with seven. However, I bet you don’t know who holds the record for catching the most no-hitters. That honor would go to the Boston Red Sox’s Jason Varitek.
A Sporting News article from May 10th recaps Varitek’s thoughts from each historic effort. The following is what we can gain as leaders from the Red Sox captain.
Aggressiveness – Hideo Nomo (April 4, 2001) “stayed aggressive with what he had that day and was able to keep the hitters on the defensive.” The lesson for us is that one of the defining characteristics of quality leaders is that they make things happen. They are catalysts and agents of change. Leaders are constantly moving forward and taking people somewhere.
Stability – Derek Lowe (April 27, 2002) and Varitek had been teammates since the minor leagues in 1995. While leaders are agents of change, they also bring incredible security and stability to the organization. As a result, their teams have time to develop and mature resulting in compounded success over time.
Opportunity – Clay Buchholz (September 1, 2007) went into the game with Varitek not knowing his full capabilities. Demonstrating great location on his fastball and other pitches throughout that game, Buchholz has since been a mainstay in the rotation. The leadership application for us is that opportunity has a twin brother named preparation. As John Wooden once said “When opportunity presents itself, it’s too late to prepare.”
Confidence – Jon Lester (May 19, 2008) had been previously diagnosed with lymphoma and was having a hard gripping the ball in the windy, cool weather that day. Varitek noted however that “his confidence kicked in around the sixth inning, and he became a different pitcher. That game changed him as a pitcher.” Leaders, are you making a conscious effort to install confidence in your team members? When the time comes to perform, they will need it.
Aggressiveness, Stability, Preparation and Opportunity, and Confidence. To “throw or catch no-hitters” or perform at the highest level in your chosen field, these disciplines should be integrated into your leadership style. Tell us how you are doing in these areas.
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