January 10, 2011

I Lost A Hero Last Month

By Paul Bieber

Bob Feller passed away on Dec. 15, 2010. He was a Baseball Hall Of Fame member remembered as one of the all-time best pitchers of the 40’s and 50’s. So, why was he my hero, and what does that have to do with a blog in the glass industry?

First things first. He was my hero because I grew up in Cleveland in the 1950’s. He was the star pitcher of my Cleveland Indians. All I heard was Bob Feller on the news or in the papers. A quick history…signed when he was 17 years old, for one dollar and an autographed ball…first player to ever strike out his age (struck out 17 batters when he was 17 years old)…3 no hitters…8 times an all star…first player under 21 to get 20 wins…and much more.

Wait a minute…did Bieber make a mistake when he wrote that Feller signed for ONE DOLLAR? Nope, now don’t you wish for those good old days? But, that is not the reason why Bob Feller was my hero. My Dad worshipped Bob Feller because of how he felt about America, and for the fact that he consistently threw over 100 mph.

You see, the most successful pitcher in baseball joined the Army on December 8, 1941. The day after Pearl Harbor was attacked. Bob served until 1945 without questioning if his career would be stalled or even stopped.He felt that this was his responsibility, along with millions of men across America, and many other baseball players. My Dad had also served in WWII, and when he began to teach me baseball, he told me stories about Bob Feller.

I have a couple of Bob Feller autographs and while they are very important to me, they are not worth much in the baseball marketplace, because Bob would sign for everyone, everywhere he went. He didn’t ask for money like some of the big boys do today. By daughter Jess and her friend, Bobby, were at a Washington National game in May of 09, ran into Bob Feller where he was signing autographs for free. Jessie had him autograph her ticket stub, which has been on my desk ever since.

OK, enough already. Bob was my baseball hero until he retired, and then Rocky Colavito came along. More on him another time. But what does this have to do with a glass blog?

You run a glass shop or glass related business. You, too, should have heroes who will motivate you to run your business the best you can. Whether it is Rudy Giuliani on leadership, or Steve Jobs on innovation, or Bill Gates on being the first in line with software, you should have a hero. Study the newspapers and see which business names keep popping up. Do a search on various business leaders and see whom you would like to have running your company. Look at management books and see if your hero has a book sharing their thoughts. Having a hero, especially a business hero will help you and your company.

PS. As a young business man, I admired Lee Iaccoca, for his outspokenness and leadership. Later on I admired David Packard, as he developed Hewlett Packard, and now I admire Bill Gates, both for his business acumen and his philanthropy.