Frank Bettger - Inspiration

The year was 1907 and Frank Bettger was a minor league baseball player.  That is, until his manager fired him. Frank said the best thing that ever happened to him was going to the manager to ask why. He was fired because he was lazy. "You drag yourself around the field like a veteran who has been playing 20 years." Bettger tried to talk himself back onto the team saying he was nervous, scared and was trying to hide this from the crowd.

"Frank, it'll never work. That's what's holding you down. When you leave here, for heaven's sake, wake up and put some enthusiasm into your work." He was making $175 a month before he move to a lower league making $25 a month. Although he wasn't enthusiastic about the pay, he did decide to take his manager's advice and act enthusiastic. After just three days an old ball player, Danny Meehan, asked, "Frank, what in the world are you doing in a rank, bush league like this?" Bettger replied, "Danny, I would go anywhere if I could get a tryout in a better league." 

The next week, Danny encouraged New Haven, Connecticut to give Frank a tryout. No one knew Bettger so no one knew of his reputation for being lazy. He made up his mind to be the most enthusiastic player ever seen in the New England League. He figured if he could establish the reputation he would have to live up to it. From the minute he stepped on the field, he played like a man electrified. Did it work? It worked better than Frank or anyone else could have imagined. According to Frank three things happened: 

  1. His energy almost entirely overcame his fear. In fact, he credits his nervousness as working for him. It helped him play better than he ever had before.
  2. His enthusiasm affected the other players on the team. They became high-energy also.
  3. Instead of dropping from the heat he felt invigorated. When the game was over he felt better than he ever had before.

The New Haven newspaper the next day called him “Pep" Bettger. "This new player, Bettger, inspired our boys. They not only won the game, but looked better than at any time this season." Within 10 days Frank had went from making S25 a month to now $185 a month at New Haven. Three weeks prior he had been fired for his laziness. Now he was known as 'Pep'!  Two years later he was playing third base for the St. Louis Cardinals.

  • In the beginning of Frank’s career, what was holding him back?
  • What initiated the change?
  • How do you handle criticism?
  • You saw what some inspiration did for Frank, what do you suppose it can do for you?