Skip to main content

Wise Words of Wisdom from Baseball

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Wisdom We Can Learn From Baseball

Wise Words of Wisdom are sought from many sources. Each day, millions of people seek wise words of wisdom from the Holy Bible, the Koran, Bhagavad Gita, or the Torah. Others seek wise words of wisdom from Buddha, Confucius, Ann Landers, or Jon Stewart.

Some look to philosophers, or aphorists, while others only want to hear what scientists have to say about human life. But we are going to look at baseball wisdom, as these wise words of wisdom are easily applied to everyday life.

No one knows how long the game will last. There is no time clock in baseball. One game might last six times longer than another. How long the game lasts is hardly as important as what you do when you are in there.

And one thing else is for sure about a baseball game: No one knows what is going to happen.

The game is not always fair. Sometimes you hit a scalding line drive, but it is right at a defender, or a defender makes a great play to "rob" you of a hit. Sometimes you hit a ball 400 feet, but it is caught at the center field wall. Great swing that was, but to the wrong part of the park. All you can do is prepare to do the best you can in the next at bat. Remember that there are also times when you hit a little granny blooper off the end of the bat that luckily falls between three fielders, and you are safe. And times when you will get on base only because of someone else's error.



Baseball Wisdom

Umpires make mistakes. Umpires enforce the rules of the game, make judgment calls, and may take disciplinary action against you. There will be times when you are called out when you were really safe. It helps to remember that there are just as many times when you really are out, but called safe. There are times when umpires realize that they've made a mistake—but it is too late to change their call—and they give you the benefit of the next close call to make amends. It is alright to argue a bad call, but if you cross the line to public disrespect, umpires have long memories.

You have to start at the bottom. Most of the great players had to pay their dues, riding buses, making hardly any money, playing in the middle of nowhere for tiny crowds, receiving very little applause. The best move up the ladder. Natural talent is important, but devotion to your craft, passion for what you love to do, a positive attitude, and constant practice for proficiency often tells the tale.

Be prepared to sacrifice. A good teammate will selflessly sacrifice for others, so that they might score. Even better is to "hit one the other way" to move someone else into position to score, for which you will not even receive credit for the sacrifice you have made. Only those who truly understand the game will realize the good you have done.



Wise Words of Wisdom

Wait for a good pitch. It is not unusual to see a player swing at a curveball two feet outside or a 99-mile-an-hour fastball over their head. You can't hit that pitch. You are wasting your swings, and you only have so many. It puts you behind on the count, which makes it much harder to get a hit. Why do people do it? It is just too tempting. It is hard to stay in control of yourself. Every pitch is not a good one. Be willing to take a walk.

Don't try to stretch a single into a double. We see players, not satisfied with the single they got, thrown out trying to make a double out of it.

Don't stretch a triple into a single. Some players these days hit a long drive and instead of running, they stand at the plate admiring what they have done. They assume the ball is going over the wall. They assume they have hit a home run. So they don't hustle. If that ball bounces off the top of the wall right back to an outfielder, the batter only makes it to first base; if he had hustled—played the game the right way—he would have had three bases.

A hitter has two-tenths of a second to decide whether to swing. When trying to hit a baseball coming at you from 60'6" away at 90 mph, you have only a split-second to decide whether to swing or not to swing. This is why you need to be completely focused on what you are doing; have a good stance at the plate; and mostly: you need to develop discernment.



Wise Words

Everybody makes errors. This is important to remember. Because of this fact, you do not want to get down on yourself when you make an error; you do not want to disparage other players when they make an error. Errors are part of the game. Sure, let's keep them to a minimum. But once they happen, quickly move on.

Sometimes you must slide to avoid the tag.

Position yourself well on defense. Defense is mostly about judgment and reflexes. But being properly positioned is very important. Play too deep and you will give up lots of little dinky hits. Play too shallow and they'll hit it over your head.

Throwing accuracy is more important than velocity. It does no good for a fielder to wing the ball 115 mph if it sails up into the stands.

Scroll to Continue

Cooler heads prevail. The best pitchers are those who work well under pressure. They are in a jam, things are going wrong; they do not lose control of their emotions, they are not thinking about what just happened. They focus on what they need to do now. The best pitchers are neither too high after a win nor too low after a loss.

Have a game plan. The best pitchers go into the game with a clear idea of what their goal is, and a road map of how they plan to achieve it. Once they get into the game, it is all about execution of the game plan.

To succeed you need good control. It serves no purpose to have the ability to pitch a baseball 100 mph if you can't throw strikes. Take a man such as Greg Maddux. He doesn't look like an athlete; more like a librarian. He threw the baseball slower than most others. But he threw it in the right place more often that any pitcher ever.



Be Wise

Don't allow inherited runners to score. So your buddy messed up and he is in trouble. You come in to relieve him. The bases are loaded and there's nobody out. If these runners score, it won't be on your record; it will be on your teammate's record. A relief pitcher is also known as a fireman. He didn't start the fire, but he's here to put it out. Save a victory for your friend if you can.

You need a nice level swing. It does little good to use your precious turn at the plate to flail away, swinging wildly at the ball.

Pick up your teammates. So your big hitter strikes out with the bases loaded. You come up next. If you drive in those runs, nobody will remember your teammate's failure. If you are pitching and your shortstop drops a ball; strike out the next batter for your shortstop so that his error will be forgotten. Back up your other fielders. If a ball gets by them, you need to be right behind them to limit the damage.

It is great to sit at the end of the bench on a championship team. Not everybody is going to be Willie Mays. Find a role you can play well. If you are the 25th man on a 25 man roster, be the best 25th man there is.

The best hitters fail 70 percent of the time. You will not make it to the big leagues if you cannot accept failure. The 70 percent of the time you fail is not what will be remembered; it is the 30 percent of the time that you succeed. You must accept the failure to achieve the success.




The difference between a Hall of Famer and an average player is small. The statistical difference between a batter who becomes famous and is remembered by history, and one who is average and remembered only while he has living family members, is only 50 hits per 1,000 at bats. It is the small things that separate the men from the boys. Besides your God given gifts, there is discipline, training, nutrition, taking care of yourself, staying sharp mentally and physically, getting a good night's sleep. The devil is in the details.

It may not be he with the most talent who wins the race. The man with the most hits in a career of all baseball players who ever played the game is Pete Rose. He had less than average natural gifts. He made the most of what the Lord gave him, through sheer desire.

It can all end at any moment. Some players are cut down in the prime of life by unforeseen injuries or illnesses. You may not always be able to do what you love. Enjoy it while you have it. Know that the only game you have for certain is today's game.

Every player leaves a legacy. Even beyond your actual performance, you will be remembered for your comportment, and the way you treated others. It may be said "He was always a gentleman who carried himself with class." Or "He was a real arse. Nobody liked him, not even his teammates."

Be a mentor. After your day in the sun has passed, when you are replaced by the next generation, pass on your wisdom and experience to younger people who can use your guidance. Many former players stay involved in the game by becoming talent scouts, instructors, coaches, or managers.



Baseball is a Great Teacher

There are no loafers on a championship team. Let's say some of the people on your team—or in your community—decide they are not even going to try. They are going to just loaf around and expect the rest of the team to do enough work for all of you. This team will never win a championship. Unless everybody, all hands on deck, contributes what they can, the team will ultimately be eliminated. A good manager will not tolerate—and certainly not encourage—sloth.

The game must be played according to permanent rules. There has to be an expectation that the game will played without the rules changing in the middle of it. The game must be played with the same rules applied to everybody. This is what equality actually means. Equality does not mean everybody hits the same number of home runs, or finishes with the same batting average. People are decidedly not equal when it comes to natural ability, training, or motivation. The game is not fair if I have to hit a ball 400 feet to count as a home run but you only have to hit it 200 feet. That is not equality. That is not fairness. If people are unsure of the rules, or think they will be changed at any moment, they will not invest in the game.

You always have a chance. Even with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, you always have a chance in baseball. Never give up. Miracles do happen.




James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 10, 2011:

BIKTIMIA— Is that a riddle? :D

Thank you for your wise words of wisdom. I do appreciate the visit and your comments.

BIKTMIA on February 09, 2011:

I didn't get anything done doing things the same way, but I got a lot done by consistent doing.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 29, 2010:

Shane Belceto— Thank you, my new friend. I am expecting a miracle as we speak. :D

Shane Belceto from WA USA on October 28, 2010:

Deal!!! :)

Off to take a looksy thanks for creating so much good on HUBpages.

~Expect Miracles

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 25, 2010:

Shane Belceto— Shine on you crazy diamond! :D

I published something new tonight: Economic Growth & Job Creation

Shane Belceto from WA USA on October 25, 2010:

As do i with your kind words .. Shine On!

What you got coming next for us all to enjoy?

~Expect Miracles

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 25, 2010:

Shame Belceto— You are most welcome. Expect miracles. Yes.

Thank you for taking the time to read my piece. I very much appreciate your thoughtful comments and compliments.

Shane Belceto from WA USA on October 24, 2010:

I was really enhoying this and liked several sections .. ok all but especially the ones about an umpire and piture .. but then you end with a perfect bang "Miracles do happen" and love how this does all fit right into anyones life. Thank YOU for creating and sharing it.

~Expect Miracles

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 18, 2010:

libby101a— Thank you for your gracious laudations! It makes a man feel good to be recognized. I appreciate you!

libby101a from KY on October 17, 2010:

"Natural talent is important, but devotion to your craft, passion for what you love to do, a positive attitude, and constant practice for proficiency often tells the tale."

A lovely analogy!!!!

I loved it!!

Keep up the awesome work!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 11, 2010:

DavePrice— I am a Cubs fan! I have written three Hubs about my beloved Cubbies. Lord knows being a Cubs fan teaches one patience and longsuffering. Thank you for the compliments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

DavePrice from Sugar Grove, Ill on October 11, 2010:

But James, I'm surprised that you didn't include this: Cubs fans are the most patient people on earth. Spoken by one who knows. I enjoyed the hub a great deal, and can't wait to read more. Love your style.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 03, 2010:

Bacs O'Bannon— Having read your Hubs it sounds like you have plenty to forgive. I think your heart is big enough to handle it. You have a good soul.

You are right that life is not a game, but it is like a game in some ways. Thank you for taking the time you do have to read my works. I appreciate that, and your insightful complimentary comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 03, 2010:

DjBryle— You are quite welcome. It is nice to hear from you again. And I love that word "splendid." Thank you for reading my Hub and leaving your kind comments.

Bacs O'Bannon on October 02, 2010:

This makes me think about things besides baseball. Everyone is just human, and everybody is capable of all kinds of things. Good and awful. And I think everybody is capable of forgiving the awful things, if they look inside themselves. When the awful stuff came from somewhere else, and when it lives inside your own heart, either way, there is a way to forgive. At least I hope so. I believe so. I'm forgiving as much as I can all the time. And hoping I'm getting forgiven too.

I never really played sports myself. I don't know much about baseball, or any sport. But life must be sort of like a sport. I mean besides the rat race, or the race against time. Trying to follow the right rules, and breaking the rules when you have to so you can stay in the game. Just never trying to hurt anyone else, or yourself. Just trying to stay in the gane. The game of life. But it's not really a game.

I wish I had lots of time to spend reading your stuff. I will come back and read somemore as soon as I can. You write so good. And you just put it out here and let me and everyone read for free. It's really a nice gift you give to people.

DjBryle from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =) on October 01, 2010:

You're so clever with logic and a very wise hubber! This hub is splendid. Two thumbs up! One of my favorite Yogi Berra quote is, "Even Napoleon has his own Watergate." Thanks for sharing! =)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 01, 2010:

sharon e dix— You are welcome. This idea just popped into my head as I lay in bed. I got up and wrote it out. I don't know where it came from. Thank you for the laudations. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

sharon e dix on September 30, 2010:

My new found friend , you are a well spring of knowledge that touches others and gives direction in life. Thanks for helping others to take the turn in the road for there good. Sharon E Dix

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 30, 2010:

Theresa_Kennedy— Thank you very much for saying so. I appreciate your lovely comments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

Theresa Kennedy from Minnesota on September 30, 2010:

Wow. So creative and original to use baseball analogies in this way. Inspiring!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 29, 2010:

stars439— You are welcome. Thank you for your ongoing support and friendship.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 29, 2010:

Allan McGregor— It is great to see you back in circulation my friend. I've missed your erudite expositions. God is the true source of wisdom. Thank you for your piercing insights. Always great to read your words.

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on September 29, 2010:

Many wonderful sayings that we can take to the bank of life. Thank you for sharing this wonderful hub. God Bless You.

Allan McGregor from South Lanarkshire on September 28, 2010:

A splendid hub, James.

You have a gift for concise delivery, but I also concur with 'always exploring', that this one is a deceptively deep. I recognised a lot of principles from the Book of Proverbs encapsulated in your prose, and wisdom from elsewhere in the Bible.

That should come as no surprise, as 'Wise Words of Wisdom' delivers what it says on the packet, and God is the the only source of true wisdom.

Well done!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 25, 2010:

Midtown Girl— Loved your profile page, BTW. Thank you for reading my work and leaving your kind compliments. I am gratified to read your words.

Midtown Girl from Right where I want to be! on September 22, 2010:

A wonderful way to share truth and wisdom with understandable analogies. A great read - nicely done!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2010:

mwatkins— You are most welcome. I am always happy to hear from another Watkins. :)

The story of using this Hub for your nephew really warms the cockles of my heart. Thank you for telling me this. And I appreciate the visit and the "Thumbs Up!"

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2010:

CMerritt— Welcome to the Hub Pages Community! I'll soon come over and see what you have been writing. I am glad you like my work. Thank you and you are welcome. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 21, 2010:

DeBorrah K. Ogans— You are welcome. I had to take a break from my book. I am almost halfway through my first revision, and that I am finding to be not nearly as much fun as writing the first draft was. So, I am back on Hub Pages for a while. In a week or two I'll get back to the book and try to finish it in a month or two.

Thank you for coming to see me. I enjoyed your gracious comments. You are always a wise one! :)

mwatkins from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC on September 20, 2010:

I am dealing with a 17 year old nephew right now who has some childish issues that I am trying to help him understand. I have used a few of your wise words here to explain to him and I am glad to say that because of your help, I can give him something to understand that makes sense to him. Especially the life is not always fair paragraph! Thumbs up and Thank YOU!

Chris Merritt from Pendleton, Indiana on September 20, 2010:

James I am new here, but you are one who I believe I will make a regular visit with. It seems as if you are putting many of my thoughts to the words, I wish I had in me to communicate as you do.

I am going back to read more of yours....

Thanks and keep it up.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on September 20, 2010:

James A Watkins, Wonderful antidotes and wise insight! I am not that big on sports but you certainly have enlightened me with the great metaphors! Your writings are always well researched and concise! I always learn something from whatever you write… Nice to have you abroad The Hub Pages again.

I pray all goes well with your Book! Congratulations in advance...

Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love Peace & Blessings!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 20, 2010:

xixi12—Thank you! Thank you very much. :-)

Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

xixi12 from Everywhere but here. In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. You can never be truly free till you have the discipline to manage it. on September 20, 2010:

Lovely write up.Well written

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 19, 2010:

tinamarie9884— Thank you! Thank you very much. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 19, 2010:

Kaie Arwen— My, you are eloquent. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 18, 2010:

lightning john— It is good to see you, my friend. Thank you for reading my Hub and leaving your kind comments. I'll be coming by to read your writings again soon.

tinamarie9884 on September 18, 2010:

Great hub, I like the way you layed everything out.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 18, 2010:

Vladimir!! Hello my brother. Thank you and you are welcome.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 18, 2010:

Petra Vlah— It is a pleasure to see you here. Thank you ever much for the gracious compliments. I am grateful for your words.

Kaie Arwen on September 18, 2010:

grandiloquent ;-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 18, 2010:

TheListLady— You are quite welcome. I'll bet youngsters do love to hear wise words of wisdom. Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate this visitation. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 18, 2010:

Kaie Arwen— Thank you, Kaie. :)

I am well pleased you sense I have found my writer's voice. But is it sonorous?


lightning john from Florida on September 18, 2010:

Really cool! I like it. James you are a very persistant man and that is what makes anyone a success. Keep on hitting them home runners.

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on September 17, 2010:

James, thank you for words of wisdom'

Petra Vlah from Los Angeles on September 17, 2010:

I don't know the first, nor the last rule of baseball, however your quotes are great and they apply to life (I believe you just made them fit the game and that was a great idea). Super hub, James

TheListLady from New York City on September 17, 2010:

I love words of wisdom. And during those years I was teaching I shared them with my students - and guess what? - they loved them and I would hear them repeating wise words. And applying it to baseball - they will all understand!

Thanks a million!

Kaie Arwen on September 17, 2010:

Words to live by.................. and so well written I could almost hear you talking. The writer's voice has come to the forefront. It's a great voice............ be sure to keep using it! Kaie

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2010:

rls8994— There is no one I would rather see coming than you, my dear. Thank you for offering me your affirmation and encouragement. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2010:

heart4theword— I am an artiste after all. :)

Thank you for reading my Hub and leaving your thoughtful remarks.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2010:

v_kahleranderson— Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read my "wise words of wisdom." I very much appreciate the love and hugs, VKA. You are a good woman.


rls8994 from Mississippi on September 16, 2010:

Hello James, good to see you again! Great words of wisdom to think about! Great article as usual! :)

heart4theword from hub on September 16, 2010:

Yes, we have to be careful who we gain our words of wisdom from. There are plenty of people out there giving us advice. You do get creative!

v_kahleranderson from San Jose, California on September 16, 2010:

Hello again Mr. Watkins! A very informative hub, but I will agree with Msorensson above, I wish I knew more about sports. Hey, actually, I am learning with your last two baseball hubs. Lol!

Love and many hugs to you,


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2010:

singlmomat52— I love baseball too! I am well pleased that loved these wise words of wisdom. Thank you for coming and you are most welcome.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2010:

quicksand— You are welcome! It's a pleasure to hear from you again, my friend. Thank you for visiting and for the nice compliments. Bon Jour!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2010:

Whidbeywriter— Thank you for visiting my Hub. I am glad you enjoy my work and I appreciate you letting me know. :D

singlmomat52 on September 16, 2010:

I love baseball and you are right, these words of wisdom can and should be applied to our everyday lives. Loved this Hub!! Thanks for sharing!!

quicksand on September 16, 2010:

Words of wisdom are found in abundance online and on HubPages too! However I am stupid enough not to pay heed to any of them! :lol:

Well written article. Thanks for continuing to keep your fans well informed! Cheers, James!

Mary Gaines from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington on September 15, 2010:

Baseball and wisdom took on a whole new meaning after this hub, well done. I always enjoy your work..cheers

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 15, 2010:

ama83— There is a lot of baseball wisdom that can be related to life in general. And like you, I enjoy words of wisdom from all sources. I appreciate the visitation. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 15, 2010:

Wayne Brown— You are quite welcome, WB. You make a good point. I thank you, kind sir, for taking the time to come over and share your thoughts.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 15, 2010:

BDazzler— I am glad you loved that one. I should have included "it's a game of inches." It just occurred to me. Your producer is right. You have be pretty darn good just to rise to that level. Thank you for coming to see me. I always enjoy your visits.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 15, 2010:

Loves To Read— Thank you very much. God is amazing. The Spirit moves me. Not much I love more than Truth. Peace and Blessings back to you. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 15, 2010:

ahostagesituation— I am well pleased to read your response to my efforts. Thank you for visiting and commenting. I always enjoy hearing your voice.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 15, 2010:

reddog1027— Yes, I agree with you. I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub. Thank you for coming by to visit.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 15, 2010:

always exploring— I wish you love and peace as well, dear. Thank you for honoring me with your presence. I appreciate the affirmation.

ama83 from San Jose, CA on September 15, 2010:

I always liked reading famous quotes of wisdom. And, it's funny how much we can learn from the game of baseball :)

Wayne Brown from Texas on September 15, 2010:

And now, maybe more people know why it is important for us to experience the game as we go about our lives. Thanks for