With the year winding to a close, Baseball Prospectus is revisiting some of our favorite articles of the year. This was originally published on September 21, 2016.
Baseball is not introduced to most of us as a career. A game, a passion, an escape, a pastime—just not, usually, a career. But a career it is, however awkwardly it might fit the framework of a nine-to-five office job, and as such, it includes LinkedIn profiles. Here, the archetypical examples of famous baseball men’s very real and seriously, real LinkedIn accounts:
The Slick Professional: Cole Hamels.
Hamels is not here to tell you about his baseball skills. He is here to wear a sports jacket (still with baseball in hand, though, lest you forget) and to tell you about his operations management skills. Or perhaps his talent with inventory management, if you’re more interested in that, or maybe his process improvement. If some other shiny buzzword is more your style, don’t fret—enjoy his endorsements for cross-functional team leadership or brand awareness or strategic partnerships. You might be thinking: “Wow! Could Cole Hamels be any more perfect for engaging in small talk at a corporate networking mixer?” Actually, yes! He can! For the man has two interests, and they are new technologies and traveling. Just don’t ask for details on how he applies these skills in his current position as pitcher for the Texas Rangers baseball club, because he provides none.
The Evolution to a Singularity: Dan Duquette.
Duquette describes his first front office job through several lenses: his duties (“oversaw professional scouting staff of 30”), his results (“drafted and signed Gary Sheffield”), his accomplishments (“honored as Organization of the Year”). But as his resume moves from Milwaukee to Montreal to Boston, his explanations shrink to something less detail-oriented. Finally, with Baltimore, he defines his job with one phrase. He does not bother to clarify whether this one phrase represents his one goal or his one achievement or his one responsibility or all of the above. It doesn’t matter. Dan Duquette’s job is singular in nature, and Dan Duquette’s job is “rebuild Orioles.”
Also singular in nature—his interest. (It’s skiing.)
The Disregard for Form and Function: Curt Schilling.
Here are some activities considered “career experience” by Schilling:
“Customer and fan” of a World of Warcraft website (only for nine years; his fandom apparently came to an end in 2010),
The “#1 Fan….” of a politician (ellipses his own, with no indication as to whether he left this position because he stopped being a fan or because someone else replaced him as #1),
“Client” of a communications firm (which he severed ties with in 2013),
Doing “some nice things in October” as a player for the Boston Red Sox (though his time with other teams is listed, no details are provided).
He received a “nope” degree from Yavapai Junior College, where he majored in “basic attendance,” and he is pictured wearing Christmas pajamas surrounded by family.
Too Cool For This, And Yet Still Here: Elvis Andrus.
A cursory glance at Andrus’ LinkedIn profile makes it fairly clear that Andrus does not outwardly care about LinkedIn too much. “But wait,” you might say, “was that not the defining characteristic of the Schilling archetype?” An understandable reading, but not quite a correct one! While the Schilling archetype is built on not understanding LinkedIn, it is also built very much on caring about LinkedIn. Effort is evident on every level of the Schilling profile, albeit effort that is somewhat confusing and perhaps misdirected at times. Conversely, there is no effort evident in the Andrus profile—save the effort to appear effortlessly cool. This is not the contradiction in terms it might seem. Being effortlessly cool means not having a LinkedIn profile at all. Putting in effort to appear effortlessly cool means having a LinkedIn profile that features a car selfie with Rougned Odor as your profile picture, a misspelled version of “business—my own” as your only career experience, and “living the Dream” as your current position. So cool. Except for the fact that two people still endorsed him for Microsoft Excel. Less cool.
The Hustling Climber: Dean Anna.
Cool is a luxury. Or, at the least, the sort of cool evident in Andrus’ profile—the cool that comes from elevating yourself above the act of caring—is a luxury. It is a luxury that Andrus has, with his spot in the big leagues secure, and a luxury that Dean Anna does not. In his ninth year as a minor leaguer, Anna has a profile that is full of care and full of want. His skills and accomplishments are thoroughly detailed all the way back to high school, his biography is earnest and comprehensive, and his mission statement is as suitable for an office job sports analogy as it is for an actual athlete: “my versatility allows me to play my game efficiently and effectively all over the field.”
The Modest Reflector: Barry Bonds.
There’s a Baseball Prospectus article about Barry Bonds from September 2001 that reads, “This isn't run-of-the-mill greatness here. This is the kind of season that our grandchildren will look up in Total Baseball XVII some day and wish they could have seen in person.” There’s an entire book written about the glory of his 2001, titled “The Gracious Season: Barry Bonds and the Greatest Year in Baseball.”
There’s one line on Barry Bonds’ LinkedIn profile about 2001: “Hit 39 home runs by the All-star break (major league record). Had a .515 on-base average. Slugging percentage was .863 (major league record). 73 home runs (major league record).”
Honorable mentions: the identity crisis (is Rajai Davis a “professional baseball player” or a “major league baseball player”?), the true player’s manager (Terry Francona’s top skills are “leadership” and “customer service”), the professional profile beyond LinkedIn (Matt LaPorta, “known for high engagement, collaboration and integrity with clients”).
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