Ep. #1103 - Frank White: 8x MLB Gold Glove Winner
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey is excited to welcome Frank White to the podcast. Our guest is a legendary eight-time Major League Baseball Gold Glove Award winner. Stay tuned as Frank shares his baseball journey from undrafted to winning All-Star athlete accolades.
Covered In This Episode
Matt is an ecstatic fan about to realize one of his dreams. Do you know why? Because Frank is here with us to share his inspiring story of success.
In between their conversation, they share insights on how you can find an ideal work-life balance. They also talk about the importance of staying focused on achieving your goals. Also, tips for dealing with setbacks in your life and career are given.
Catch every piece of advice in this Startup Hustle episode. And make your own home run victory!
- Frank White’s journey to the All-Star path (02:52)
- On having a chip on your shoulder (07:07)
- Frank’s practice routine (08:21)
- Finding the right roommates (10:13)
- The mindset of winning the Golden Glove (12:57)
- Frank’s longevity (16:04)
- What was it like to play during Frank’s time? (17:12)
- The difference between Major League Baseball’s average pay before and now (20:46)
- Finding work-life balance and staying focused (24:09)
- Dealing with comments (29:20)
- A shout out to the people that help Frank along the way (34:33)
- The key piece in team and leadership dynamics (38:18)
- Frank’s top advice for achieving your goal (39:35)
To be the best, you have to put yourself in a position to get there. And you want to be good; you want people to like you for being good. And you have to be a little humble at the same time; you got to give credit where credit is due. But the main thing is when we need to compete, you compete as hard as you can.– Frank White
First, you have to identify what you want to do. Look for the opportunity to do it. And when an opportunity comes, give it your best shot . . . it’s up to you to change people’s minds.– Frank White
One thing I’ve learned is that success demands payment in advance. So start writing checks because it’s rare, if ever, that you’re gonna get to that place where you’re winning Gold Gloves, World Series championships, or whatever it is you’re chasing. You got to put in the work, and you got to be able to stay consistent with it.– Matt DeCoursey
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Moreover, we also have Startup Hustle partners to help with your other business needs. Be sure to check out their offers available to Startup Hustle listeners.
Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 00:01
And we’re back! Back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. You know, I think, when I look at being an entrepreneur, when people look back at what I’ve done and what I’m doing, I want people to see me as consistent. A Gold Glove Hall of Famer kind of guy. And so I figured I would bring someone that’s done a lot of that already. Before I introduce who that is, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult. Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has a platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. If you’re not aware, that’s my company, and we love talking to Startup Hustle listeners. So reach out to me. Today, I gotta say I’m a little star-struck because I got one of my childhood and lifetime heroes on the show today. And that’s Frank White. If you don’t know who Frank White is, let me tell you. And this is going to take a second because the man has so many accolades playing for the Kansas City Royals for 18 years; he was a five-time Major League All-Star; was the first American League Second baseman who won eight Gold Gloves. That’s a lot of gold. In 1980, voted the most valuable player of the American League Championship Series and led the Royals to their first World Series. Did it again in 1985. Nicknames Smooth and Hoover. He’s the super consistent guy. Frank White, welcome to Startup Hustle.
Frank White 01:32
Matt, thank you so much. I’m glad you reached out to me.
Matt DeCoursey 01:36
Yeah, I’m really glad to have you on the show. And I gotta say thank you for your continued commitment and representation of our hometown in Kansas City. I struggle to find many names and people that do a better job. Always being a big admirer of your work ethic and consistency and stuff like that. So here we are with a ballplayer on an entrepreneur podcast, you know. But I think, even though I gave a lot less of all the stuff that you’ve done, I still like to ask everyone I talked to for a little bit of your own backstory.
Frank White 02:12
Well, in terms of entrepreneurship, in terms of just everything. Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, I grew up here in Kansas City. I was, you know, we talked a lot of years ago, and I was always one of those kids that always wanted money in my pocket. I’d always have a shovel on my shoulder when it snowed, a rake on my shoulder when the leaves fell, and a lot more in the summer. So I was always looking to make extra money, but I didn’t have anything else other than entrepreneurship or putting together a lot more business or whatever that might be. But I know people that have, and they’re very successful at it. And I know players that have started their own businesses, and so they are happy, they were happy doing that. And then some of them are still happy doing it. And so my entrepreneurship now is just being able to do as many things in life that I never thought I could do and just challenge myself at every level.
Matt DeCoursey 03:13
We have another former Royal, Jeff Montgomery, on the show and actually talked a lot about the entrepreneurship that athletes go through because you’re in while you may have an agent or whatever, but coming up like you’re your own product, you are your own startup. You know, what did that look like for you coming up to the major leagues? And what did you learn from that being your own business?
Frank White 03:37
Well, we had a, I had a different start than most guys. You know, I wasn’t a high draft choice. I wasn’t even a draft choice at all. I mean, I was one. It was just me saying when I was 19 years old, I’ve always been curious, always, never have been afraid to take a chance. And I decided when I was 19 years old that I was gonna go down and trial for the Royals. And I asked my boss for a couple days off, and I went down to try it out. And they were starting this experimental baseball school in Florida. So they selected me to go to this school. And then I realized, okay, I didn’t have all the formal training that most kids have today. And I knew that I was a good athlete. I just didn’t have all the fundamental stuff down to be able to do what I needed to do. But being in that school and working six days a week on fundamentals. And once I got the fundamentals down, then as I say, Good example without some muscle turning 20 When I went into the academy, and this is after playing like 30 games in the summer, and I was in the big leagues and 73. So it just happened that fast for me. And then once I got to the major leagues, then if you want to count this as being an entrepreneur, I said I was a shortstop, and I looked around, and I saw the second baseman was older than the shortstop. And I said, Well, it looks like he might be returning a lot faster than the shortstop. So I set up and learned how to play second base. So I went back to AAA. So I have my second base. Over the next three years, I went to Venezuela in the winter for two years and went to Puerto Rico for one year. And then in 1977, when after 76 Season Cookie retired, I was able to play second, may say, on a daily basis, but from 73 to 7776, we had no free agency. So we basically had to take whatever the owners wanted to give us. So we didn’t really have any say over what was going to happen to us until we went through a few strikes and got better benefits and got higher pay and, then when free agency started in 1977, everybody in the open market came into play. And then that’s when you really saw how much value you had to your team as a player and then the market that the rest of the way.
Matt DeCoursey 05:49
You look at so many people as entrepreneurs or startup founders are trying to develop a little street cred, you know, you talk about a lot of us are pretty young when we start our business, and you’re swimming upstream against the experience, you don’t have that I think that that applies to your story, you talk about the I think that it’s probably fair to assume that like a number one draft pick is gonna get maybe more opportunities or faster than an undrafted. You know, did you have a chip on your shoulder? Did that motivate you? Did it make you want to wake up and prove everybody wrong? Or I mean, I think that what I wanted was an opportunity.
Frank White 06:27
And I feel like if you get an opportunity, and you’re a good athlete, and you put hard work into that opportunity, then good things happen. The only thing that I had the draft choice would have over what I did was they would get more money when they signed. Obviously, where I signed, it was $50 a month. They were they would probably get they were probably getting back then a bonus. Maybe it was like 30,000 a year. And so I had to work hard to get to where I wanted to go. And so you do have a chip on your shoulder. I mean, the keyword well, but you know that when it was time to practice, you had to practice you guys wanting to go out and, and hang out. So you guys hang out, I’m gonna work out first, and I’ll catch up with it. So I got really selfish about my workouts. And I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to miss anything. And, so mainly, you just say, hey, you know, we got all these guys who are trying to get to the major leagues. And everybody’s got to take a different path to get there. So you’d have to develop your path. And that started with getting the right roommate and minor leagues and, and things like that, and just making sure that you don’t, you know, get off track. And because you can get off track.
Matt DeCoursey 07:41
What’s an example of something in your practice routine that you? Yeah, I find that people that are diligent about that kind of stuff, often, their teammates and people around them kind of poke fun at them sometimes that you know, like, you just hear the stories about the basketball player that shot 250 free throws and didn’t leave until he made 30 in a row or so I was I’d still be there shooting today. But was there something with your approach that that everyone was like, wow, like, he’s that guy?
Frank White 08:11
Well, to me, it was about your routine, you know, fundamentals, you know, from when I would go out to a handball court and I would throw balls against the wall to work on my affiliate technique. I would tire oats, hold open ahead, enter tubes, take a tractor into you, cut it into links, and put it on the end of a bat. And then you wrap it around a pole and just work on developing your forms. If you didn’t have a weight program back in those days, everything was done on your own. So I think the big main thing was just the ground ball and left the ground ball after you got that technique down. And, when I got the second base job. My thing was always wanting to be the best defensive second baseman in the game. That was my goal. And when I got a chance to play every day in my first year, I made seven errors. And when my first go glove, and then I won six consecutive Robles from there and skipped a couple of years, and then came back and won two more. So I just want to be the best. And I think that to be the best, you have to put yourself in a position to get there, but you want to be good. And you want people to like you for being good. And so you have to be a little humble at the same time. And you got to give credit where credit’s due. But the main thing is we need to compete as hard as we can.
Matt DeCoursey 09:33
You mentioned finding the right roommates. I want to talk about that for a second because there’s this really strong belief in the current world of self-improvement and achievement that the people that you’re around, namely the five people that you spend the most time around, you kind of end up being the average that’s in there and you know, with that, I personally take that seriously. I try to remove myself from people that are negative, or people that are just kind of. I don’t know. There are some people that lead you down the wrong path. And I know that in pro sports, there’s a lot of temptation and things that go on, you know, like, what do you do, how what made you out? It sounds like you did it at a pretty young age to, like, I don’t think most young 20s Anyone was like, You know what, let me find the most responsible or hardworking person to be a roommate with, but what, what, what made you want to do that? Or what did you learn from that?
Frank White 10:26
Well, I was married at the time and had my first son. So even though we were separate, that gave me some balance, but I had a strong respect for my parents. And they basically, the ages have to be humble, the same people you’ve made going up, you’re gonna make those same people coming down. And really, I just wanted to say, just really just put myself in the best position to do what I need to do. And it all started with just making a commitment to yourself that you’re going to be the best, whether you come through the minor leagues, and if you’re going to be an everyday player, then you don’t want to run with a guy and have to play every day. Because that guy may not come in on time and that type of stuff. And the same way, in the major leagues, you don’t want to run with a guy who doesn’t give you every day. You don’t want to remember the guy who doesn’t play every day. And so you always want to have that routine and want to go to bed at a certain time, getting up at a certain time. Here are the same hints in the conversation as you hear you want it to be a good conversation. So you run with guys that play every day. So the conversation is one way. So if you want to get a better play every day, and he’s worried about not playing, and so forth, and so on. So it keeps you in another mindset that you don’t want to be in on a constant basis, at least I did.
Matt DeCoursey 11:44
So you mentioned you know, the strong desire to want to be the best player you could be and especially defensively and you weren’t you were a pretty good hitter to man like that’s let’s, I mean, the bat the bat was working to you see a lot of guys that went gold gloves that also hit 208. I won you too. Now when you’re in this phase, like you mentioned winning a half a dozen, was it a half a dozen gold gloves in a row? I want six in a row? Yes, six in a row. And then you didn’t win a couple?
Frank White 12:14
I think it was three, three years. I didn’t.
Matt DeCoursey 12:17
So that happens a lot, too. I mean, that’s not an uncommon thing and to be able to so how did that affect your thought process? Because some people get defeated by that stuff. And some people I know a lot of people too. I’m actually one of them. I’m not. Okay, I’d love to win gold gloves and awards. But that’s not the that’s not really why I don’t get up wanting to do that. I know that there’s a legacy item to that. But like when you went through winning for a bunch in a row, and then, you know, I think it says something to come back and win him again. But did you have to make any changes? Like how did that affect your thought process? With that? How’d you get back into that Gold Glove phase of the game?
Frank White 13:01
Well, I think the one thing every year, every year, I tell myself, just be the best. I don’t get into what if I don’t win, because I always feel like if people got to vote, then you might as well let them both and see what happens. So you don’t want to set yourself up for a big letdown. So when I didn’t get it, I just wrote and said, well, I had a good year, we move on to the next one. And then after three years, I came back and one or two more. So it’s just staying with it, staying confident in your abilities and hopefully that other people will see it. Now. It was one year at nine when I was about 13 years old. And I played 150 games and only played for four years. And they were throwing errors for different first baseman. So I went there for a year and I missed the ball. They’re missing trombones or missing ground balls. And I thought that would be the year that I would get my knife and your glove. And apparently making four errors and 150 games and Harold Reynolds won one Gold Glove, the 17 there so so you just don’t know when the coaches and managers voted so maybe they didn’t believe what they were seeing at my age.
Matt DeCoursey 14:09
So the thing I’ve learned with the Gold Glove and MLB is that it often has a lot of gold bats in it as well. I’ve always found that to be interesting, because I keep saying I couldn’t tell you who won last year’s Gold Glove at second base. But I’ve noticed that a lot of times that a really strong offensive year sometimes helps winning the goal while it does help.
Frank White 14:30
I think so too. It’s by today’s standards, it’s hard to get in there anymore. And they play by the standards you’re playing with today. It would have been a lot easier.
Matt DeCoursey 14:44
What do you mean you think that they give you an error a lot faster than then they would now oh yeah, I think the I think the accountability was a lot higher.
Frank White 14:48
Because you wanted to make plays for your picture and, and I think today if the balls hit hard and gotta catch it, then it’s done. I must be a bass player. You know, when I, when I played, we used to say, hey, balls hit hard and that means that they are supposed to get caught. So we had different standards. You know we and then I think that is one thing I’ve noticed is that if a guy who lays a ball or beats it and gets in front of a ball hits hard, and it’s basic so you always penalize the pitcher at that point.
Matt DeCoursey 15:24
So 18 years of Major League service is extremely long at that mean, that’s a heck of a career I think. I mean, well first off he like you said most people just want to stay relevant. Stay in the league. Was there any point along the way where you thought about quitting or retiring?
Frank White 15:44
No, no, I was always in good shape. I never had any serious injuries. At 18 years I was only on the disabled list three times to pull muscles and a broken hand by being hit by pitch but didn’t have to be.
Matt DeCoursey 15:59
The most phenomenal stay out of all of them. Honestly, that’s a lot of games.
Frank White 16:03
Yeah, I’ve never had a bad knee or bad equals a bad shoulder to bad back to even play in October. But I worked out all year round. I did tons of setups and tons of push ups. I mean, I just kept working on time because I played on the turret. You have to beat your core and have to be strong. Yeah. And so I stay with that and you get what you want for two days here. But for the most part, I was on the field. I think I played 20,23,34 games.
Matt DeCoursey 16:32
Thinking of the turf that you were playing on compared to what they call what turf is now is way different. You weren’t. You were playing on that green carpet that they have at the driving range that was about with turf back then.
Frank White 16:46
It was horrible. I mean, I mean, they put a piece of padding down like laying carpet in the living room. And they had no drainage. So when it rained, somebody hit a ground ball through the infill. You had to chase it because it got waterlogged and wouldn’t make it to the outfielder. And then the Zamboni machine, Sam Zamboni machines suck. suck the water. Yeah. But in the process viewer, you’re crushing the padding. And after a while, just like he was playing on concrete. I mean, I had to take my spikes and get them grabbed up to the grinder and just get them as short as I could so my ankles wouldn’t roll over. So what the Secretary of State came up with was very good. And I really really didn’t plan on that.
Matt DeCoursey 17:29
That would have been what it was in the early 80s at that point.
Frank White 17:33
And we know before that so late 70s, probably.
Matt DeCoursey 17:38
But there wasn’t one year of George brothers when he was playing first base. Remember, he tore his ACL and that was kind of a turf related thing. I might have been more in the late 80s.
Frank White 17:47
Yeah, when we entered my whole career, we never we never had grass while I was there. And we went to places like Minnesota, it was horrible. Seattle’s horrible. Toronto was really, really bad. So a lot of people just didn’t have the knack of doing it the right way. They run the seams the wrong way and things like that. But the second one we got was they had underground draining, so we didn’t have to worry about pulling water, things like that. So I mean, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have changed my career. I mean, I really love playing otter, because it showed all the skills that you had, your quickness and, and things they range, things like that. So I really enjoy playing.
Matt DeCoursey 18:29
So in 2014, I went to all 89 home games for the kid at one regular bucket list item. I’ll never do it again. But yeah, so I went to all 81 home games, and then the playoff games I got, I felt like I injured myself just showing up and watching. I had a whole new appreciation for the 162 games season. I was like wow, because I don’t think you ever get any time to heal when things go the wrong way. Alright, so let’s shift the topic for a second because one of the things you know, we talked about entrepreneurship and sports and sports and collectibles and, and that has oh my gosh, talking about the difference and things now and then was that ever a part of your day with was that ever a part of your entrepreneurship as an athlete like, you do appearances and autograph stuff, and I feel like that’s like way different now than it would have been then. And by the way, I did find a Frank White autographed Royals ticket stub and even know where it came from. I found it in the box a couple of weeks ago, so well. So this isn’t the first time we’ve met.
Frank White 19:33
Well, you know, we did that pretty much all the time. I mean, you have autograph sessions you do but you do personal appearances. You do speaking engagements, you do delimit everything. And that that was part of I guess your side hustle, I guess is an easy way to say it. But I mean today it’s more. It’s more planned. There’s more marketing involved today than it was when I played it and we just get an invitation here and invitation there. I didn’t pay very well. And I just took a few leaves and didn’t pay for them.
Matt DeCoursey 20:06
Well, then. I mean, that’s why I was asking because we, for those of you listening, although he has passed Frank and I share a family and known friends de Barros, who was a major league player, coach and manager, and he was the Royals third base coach for quite a while. And I knew my mom and his wife were friends. But I remember I only met him a few times. But I remember him talking about being he played for the Detroit Tigers a long, long time ago. And you mentioned being in the league after free agency. He certainly was not. And he used to work as a shoe salesman in the offseason. And think about that now. Like, there’s nobody that plays for the Kansas City Royals right now that probably has a department store job, if any kind of job at all. And the offseason about the money was way different. So like, how did that dynamic change for you over your career or even compared to what it is now?
Frank White 21:06
Well, I, my first three years were under the old reserve clause. So I played three years ago, when there was no free agency. And in 1973, the average salary, the starting salary was 14,000 a year that was the minimum salary. And you get your standard 3% 2% corporate raise for those type things. But in seven in 1972, I was a double player. And at the end of the season, like we said, we had to work, we had to work from the end of the season to spring training. So I couldn’t find a golf course for six months. So I went down to the union hall. They were building a conference Stadium at the time. And Mr. Coughlin chauffeur picked me up and took me to the unit Hall. And I got a union card. So I worked as a union labor from September of 72, to April of 73, when I went to spring training, and then on June 12, I played my first game in the state. So I was the first guy to go from building the stadium to planning in the stadium. And then my current job is Jackson County Executive, we own the stadium. So it’s sort of a weird deal.
Matt DeCoursey 22:16
One day, and now they’re talking about building another one. Hopefully you don’t have to go work on that one. I think I’ll go do that for you. That’d be the least I looked at, I asked chat GPT to give me some info about major league salary history just even over the last 20 years. Like, even in 2002, the minimum salary was 300 grand.
Frank White 22:37
Right? Because of all the strikes we went to, I mean, when I came in the game, you had to be in League 20 years to even qualify for pets. And so we got it down to five years and then finally got down and what the first day. And so that to me the epic the minimum salary now is what 750 maybe it’s 2020 was 563.
Matt DeCoursey 22:58
But it’s somewhere in that ballpark. Yeah, it keeps going up. And yeah, that’s I mean, that seems like such a big difference.
Frank White 23:12
You know, it makes a big difference in how you get to how you get your life started. I mean, yeah, I cared about buying a house right away. What didn’t happen when we were coming on. So what they do that people get, though, is back in the 70s. And mostly these were the 50% tax bracket also. Oh, wow. And so, so a lot of the guys, a lot of money got eaten up between agents and taxes. So you had to really watch yourself. Pretty close.
Matt DeCoursey 23:39
Yeah, I want to hear in a second, I want to talk a little bit more about how you kind of maintain the balance between work life and everything. Got to do some left in here first, because right, everyone, finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you go to FullScale.io where you can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team. Go to FullScale.io to learn more. I get in trouble if I don’t do that. Yeah. Well, Muir, you were one of my favorite commentators for years too. So I think you get that. Now, one of the things that that is really challenging about entrepreneurship and business ownership is that it rarely if ever falls into a nine to five job you know, like Murphy’s Law says that the worst thing will happen at the worst possible time and I can validate that Murphy has a strong influence on all entrepreneurs lives meaning like if something’s big is gonna break it doesn’t on your first day of vacation, or three in the morning or something like that. And, with that, a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with consistency and balance similar to athletes, musicians, and other people that are really passionate about what they’re doing, we also oftentimes get obsessed with things too. And that causes a lot of turmoil. Now, in your particular case, you’re talking about a lot of travel. You know, between spring training and 81 home games a year, you’re gone a third of the time. Did you develop any on the net? We talked about roommates and some other stuff, but what were some of your tricks for us? Or what are your tips for balancing some of that, and not having things fall apart around you?
Frank White 25:29
Well, I think being married at the time really helped a lot. Because, you know, you had a family to consider that SMF in itself that keeps you focused and keeps the challenge. And I just wanted to be able to be the best player I can be. I mean, I think that really just has to go fall back on your principles that you were raised on. My mom always said that, you know, if you value your relationship with your parents, and and when you have to make a decision, always ask yourself, what are my parents like? And so you always have these balancing points that you go by. And then if you if nothing else, you pick the phone up, you call in. And I could talk to my mom and dad about anything, and they would give me pep talks and, but the one thing that really helped me a lot was an awful lot. I’ve never been a guy that I wanted people to tell me what they thought I wanted to hear. I always wanted to be one of the guys I was gonna say, tell me what, tell me the truth. And let me deal with it. And how come Cray wasn’t my teammate? And how was he gonna trust the most and I would go to hell. And I say, Well, no matter what I asked you, I want you to tell me the truth. Don’t try to sugarcoat it, whatever it is, just let it go. And I really felt like that, that kept me balanced. I think that kept me from taking mediocrity and trying to turn it into something good. And it just and I think it helped me more accountable for being on the field accountable to my teammates accountable to the game. And I really felt like that was a balance that I made. It was just just making sure and just getting up every day and knowing that somebody’s expecting you to be at a certain place at a certain time doing a certain job. And I just focused on that.
Matt DeCoursey 27:21
I’m like McCray to a lot of entrepreneurs as well. I’ve learned, you know, I tell you what, I’ve learned a couple things with it. Because I say that I’m the guy that people call, it’s not uncommon for me to have started a conversation. Hey, man, I’m calling because I know you’ll tell me what’s up. Don’t sugarcoat it and whatever. But I’ve also ruffled a lot of feathers with that. And so when people call me and ask me that it’s okay. First off, remember you asked, Second off, I’m not going to tell you what you just I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear. And I’m also not going to argue with you about whether or not I’m right, or I’m right or wrong. Because some people like to ask for feedback, but they don’t have that, that you tell them and then they want to prove you wrong. They’re like, Oh, but you’re wrong. I’m like, maybe I am, maybe I’m not. But that’s the way I’m seeing it. Now, whenever anybody that’s in a, like musicians and athletes stand on these stages that we all all look at. And in this man, I’ll tell you what, I’m sure it’s a lot different when you were playing, but I don’t know how people do it now, because there’s a million chat rooms, comment threads, like all this stuff. What is your advice or input or experience about dealing with other people’s commentaries? Because I think in the history of commentary, there’s always been haters.
Frank White 28:40
Well, that’s true. That is true. But you know, when I play, once you set a standard of play, then people expect to see this standard of play on a year in year out basis, because people say, well, what’s the most difficult thing about playing the game? Was it that the 95 mile fastballs with a slider were curveballs? No, it was maintaining a standard of play that people wanted to see on a nightly basis. To me, that was the most difficult. And I think that it wasn’t hard, because I was surrounded by good players. And we knew that we had a good team, we knew we had a chance to when we went out there. All we had to do was do our job. And I was never concerned about the manager who the manager was, I said, I’m thinking of magic. Tell me in spring training this, I wouldn’t go to the office. I said, What do you expect this year? You’ll say 140 games as you find them, and I’m out of the office. So I figured if a manager put me in a lineup, then whatever happens to me, it’s my fault. Because not because I control what goes on at that point. So forgive me, if you never get in the lineup, then you’re gonna complain a lot. So to me it is about I don’t care who the manager was long, just as long as my name is Alana. And it was on me while I was gonna be in there the next day or so. I just want to make sure that I just focus on my accountability and being able to take good constructive criticism is something that’s difficult for a lot of folks. And I think that, if you’ve got to get better, then you have to be able to hear the bad because we can always sugarcoat things and make you feel like you’re better you’re you. But if when you tell someone what they need this the self improvement or whatever it might be, or maybe he’ll to a different business model, or whatever it may be, this will not working whatever, then they’ve got to be, first of all, in a position where whoever has given them the information, they trust him. And if that’s the case, then making that switch is not hard. But if you don’t trust the person to bring the information, then you’re gonna go a different direction.
Matt DeCoursey 30:48
Yeah, the advice I give people a lot is listen for what lesson for the echo, when it starts to sound like an echo, because you just hear the same stuff again, and again, and again. And again. That’s probably there’s probably a lot of merit to what’s going on. I also give the entrepreneur specific advice because they’ll be like, hey, I’m getting a lot of buy in on this. I mean, is it from your mom? Is it from your Uncle Steve? Is it like, you know, people that inherently aren’t going to be like, Yeah, your idea is terrible. I don’t do it. And, you know, like, who’s it coming from and, and I think that athletes are getting, I know, I’ve referenced musicians as well, because they feel the same way. They’re either really resistant to it. Or they’re like, are, that’s the most impactful stuff, like a player telling another player something about their game is either fighting words, or they’re like, or it hits home, it’s like, wow, that’s, that’s up here. Did you find that like, it’s, you’re, you’re very humble, and I believe that you could listen to it. But I know a lot of guys aren’t.
Frank White 31:49
I think first of all, I think if somebody were to come up and just start banging on something that I know is not true, then I probably react a little differently. But the main thing is I asked for, you know, I’d say this is what I want, but only dealing with one guy, I wouldn’t ever deal with two or three guys, just one guy that you trust. And that really helped me a lot. Because if you’re gonna get better, then you need to hear the things that you need to hear to get better. You just can’t, you know, get better. Keep doing the same old things and feel the same old way. If someone has a, they make this, make this change, make this, try this. Try that. You practice it, and it comes to you. Sometimes they don’t. But you gotta be able to hear and then it’d be better. And I mean, I would go into a game and a three game series, four game series, whatever it might be. And I would go to the second baseman on the team. And I say, Look, I’ll play you for three days. I’ll play you for four days, because I always challenge myself that way. And I was always a disciplined guy. I mean, I never got to control. I mean, I played 18 years and never got kicked out of the ballgame. And, and people say well, why, you know, people will say well, you maybe didn’t care enough, maybe you’re not firing enough. But now it’s knowing what you’re, what you’re there for. I made a play. And I will tell my manager, if I don’t agree with something out there, and we’ll let you know. But if I don’t see you come in and we’ll walk away. It’s your job to get kicked out of my mind. So my dad was playing. And so when I hit those guidelines for myself, then I stayed with it the whole time.
Matt DeCoursey 33:25
You were a manager for a while. Were you better at getting kicked out in that scenario?
Frank White 33:29
Oh, I got kicked out of a rookie wall. Yeah, man, I gotta tell you. Most as you get kicked out, your players get to kick that you tried to support those guys. But the first time I got kicked out of a game as a peasant, as a rookie league man, I had no clue what to do with myself. So I’ve been here before. So that sounds kind of funny in the end, but yeah. Manager you always got a kick kicked off something for sure.
Matt DeCoursey 33:53
I’m glad you kept that standard of excellence on the field. Some of the best advice I ever received was regarding the ascent that we all have to whatever it is we’re trying to achieve. Someone said to me once I said Matt, what’s easier climbing the mountain by yourself or asking those on top to pull you up? And that was like one of those moments for me coming up. I was like, what oh, it’s like in The Matrix I’d spoken to the Oracle and I had this secret key. I tell people all the time after I heard that I spent all my time looking up and yelling can I get it?
Frank White 34:43
And I gotta say there have been amazing people that took an interest in me for reasons I couldn’t explain some of it was maybe just because I asked or they saw something in me shout out a few of the guys or gals or whomever that that were that pulled you up you know your coaches always I gotta come first in those are the guys are gonna get behind you and those guys are gonna push you and and win the minor leagues. They say well, I had a triple A coach said you’d be a good shortstop in a major league. You’d be a great second baseman. Major Leagues, so things like that. And then you just keep working from that angle. But my biggest help came, I got to the major leagues. We had guys on our team that were veteran guys. They weren’t free agents, I was creative. So everything they got was going to be at the end of the year if we want any extra money. So but but the advice I got when I first came up was the cook Ross told me, he said, Well, when you learn when to do something, and when not to do something, you’re gonna be fine. And I had no clue what he was talking about. When I started playing the game, I realized what he was talking about was good decision making. Once you learn how to make good decisions, then the game is easier for you. And you learn how to learn how to win. John Mayer, he said, Hey, I don’t care if it’s sunshine and don’t care if it’s raining, snowing and cold, I’ll get the ball into a rock. He said, If you don’t make a play, and the writers ask you what happens, that messes it up. And that’s how you say, don’t try to alibi it to say, I just messed it up. You say because what you want to do is you want to make your mistakes, and you want to admit your mistakes. And then you want to get better for your mistakes. So these are the things that I learned from those guys. I mean, they didn’t play in the gray area. They didn’t say, Well, what if this or whatever that they say, this is a do or die game. Either you do the job? Well, you don’t. There’s nothing that no matter, then we move on to the next play. So the accountability was very high back in those days, and simply because we didn’t have freedoms, and everybody was on one year contracts. And the big guys would say your job is to set the table. My job is driver, man. So you don’t do your job, I can’t do my job. So it wasn’t like I go up there with a man on second base, I can get into third base for the big guy. It was like when I came to the dugout, nobody was patting me on the back. And nobody was saying that’s okay. They will say what the hell are you doing? So, so because it was all about everybody’s job. And that’s what I think that’s what helped me more because I realized how important each player was to the team, because we all played a role. And we had to be good at that role. And those guys, they kept you in line, they wanted to make sure that you knew that this wasn’t a game where you don’t get a bunt down, that you got to come back to the dead guy, and they can patch on the back and say get them tomorrow or they didn’t play that way. They want another way to get it done. And so that sort of pressure was always on there for you, you did the best you could at that particular time.
Matt DeCoursey 37:38
I think one of the things I’ve learned the most about the team dynamic and the leadership dynamic is that the key piece, you take responsibility. It’s like do you like using the term Accountability Responsibility? Their accountability is slightly different, but you know, if you mess it up, say you mess it up, I tell people that work for me, I got 300 employees worldwide, and I would say just own it, eat it, and get better from it. You know, because the thing is, it’s like, I guess I’m the manager in that regard. And I, Yeah, it’s already passed, like we already blew the opportunity. You already made the error or struck out or something, and like, a bunch of excuses for why sound like excuses why you don’t want to grow or get better from that. So yeah, once again with me today, Kansas City Royals, Major League legend Frank White, a local celebrity here in Kansas City. Got to do my final, my final heavy lifting here. I could talk with you all day about baseball. Today’s episode is brought to us by FullScale.io. Helping you build a software team quickly and affordably. Sir, on the way out, like what’s the best advice you could just give anybody that wants to accomplish or achieve the improbable, like becoming a major league player.
Frank White 38:55
And I think first you have to identify what you want to do. Look for the opportunity to do it. And when an opportunity comes, give it your best shot. You know, we all want to get to the major leagues, and we all take different paths to get there. But don’t get hung up on what someone else got as a bonus or who’s getting this opportunity. But you just have to wait for your opportunity. And when you get it, you have to shine in an opportunity. Yep, it’s up to you. To change people’s minds. It’s like being a utility guy. And you get to play when a guy’s out for two weeks with an injury. That’s your job. Your job then at that point is to make the manager’s job tough, make it tough on him as to why he should put you back in the line. And you could do that a lot easier back in those days because other ones have contracts and then low salaries today it would be very difficult to do that. But at least you can play well enough to put doubt in coaches’ and managers’ minds that maybe they should take a look at you somewhere else on the field, things like that.
Matt DeCoursey 39:55
Well, thanks again for joining me. Hopefully, the listeners. They hear me too. I make a lot of baseball references knowing that people often don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. So we could maybe revisit that at some point. Thanks again for joining me. Hopefully, if the lesson you learned, you learned that the playbook isn’t different, folks. Like I think the one thing I’ve learned is that success demands payment in advance. So start writing checks because it’s rare, if ever, that you’re gonna get to that place where you’re winning gold gloves and World Series championships or whatever it is that you’re chasing. You got to put in the work and you got to be able to stay consistent with it. I think that’s what Frank Wyatt confirmed for us today. Thanks for joining me, Frank. I’ll catch up with you. I’ll catch up. I’ll find you on the basepaths somewhere.
Frank White 40:43
Thanks, man. Appreciate it. Thank you.