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Don't die on third

Friday 10/7/22

In 1927, George Moriarty became the manager of the Detroit Tigers. He had played from 1903 to 1916, mostly as a third baseman (which may explain some things), but also at first and in the outfield, for the Cubs, Yankees, Tigers, and White Sox, and had been an umpire, which perhaps caused him to think he had some insights he may not have actually had. He wasn't very good as a player. A career .251 hitter when batting average was king. But he was good at one thing: stealing bases. Specifically: stealing home.


George Moriarty believed in stealing home more than he believed in anything else in baseball, and conceivably more than he believed in anything else in life.


Upon becoming the field general of the Tigers, he told the team that they were going to steal home. A lot. Everyone on the team was to try and steal home often. Didn't matter if you were slow, if you weren't a skilled baserunner, if you'd never stolen a base in your life. That's how it was going to be.


"We steal home, boys."


In hotels, Moriarty would show how home was to be properly stolen. He'd take passionate runs across hotel lobbies, sliding past potted palms and the front desk. Then he'd get up and do it again. People thought he was crazy, but he'd simply resume his tutorial. That's how passionate George Moriarty was about stealing home.


Tiger baserunners were erased at home plate on a nightly basis. Very few were successful in their bids to steal home.


Still: believing in his mission, his mantra, George Moriarty wrote a book called Don't Die on Third, a message to all.


He lasted two years as Tigers skipper, compiling a 150-157 record. He never managed again.


But ask yourself: Have you ever believed in something as much as George Moriarty believed in stealing home?


Allegedly, the last words he uttered in this life were these: "Don't die on third, bitches."


I feel like there is much we can learn here.