Joe’s book handles the story of Maddon’s life and career
Joe Maddon is anything but complex. Wonder what it was like to be in the dugout at 12:47 a.m. on November 3, 2016, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, as the Cubs won their first World Series championship since 1908? Maddon, in just his second year of what would be five seasons in charge of the Cubs, has you by his side on the bench.
What was it like being in the game, digging in analytics before practice was cool? Maddon takes readers with him to his job interview with the Tampa Devil Rays, with the soon-to-be-hired manager carrying his overloaded stat binder.
Did you know that in 2003, Maddon was about to be hired by the Boston Red Sox as a manager? How many of you baseball fans remember Maddon picking up his first World Series ring as a member of the Anaheim Angels coaching staff in 2002?
Finally, after 40 years in the game, Maddon tells his story. The more you learn, the more you’ll no doubt give the ordinary, thoughtful guy from Hazelton, Pennsylvania a standing ovation.
“I was aware, all the way, where I was coming from,” Maddon said in a recent early morning phone conversation from his home in Mesa, Arizona. “I just didn’t get things handed to me. I had to win, fight through the tough times.”
So what or who became the tipping point for one of baseball’s most successful bench bosses to get him to tell his story? Working with three-time National Sportswriter of the Year Tom Verducci partly sweetened the deal.
“I’ve been asked (to write a book) since our season the Rays went on the show in 2008. Then in 2019 I started thinking about it. When the pandemic hit, I had time. I was allowed time to tell my story.”
Recounting his life’s journey, both in and out of the game, Maddon did not restrict his scope on how he would communicate with Verducci, who, along with his work for Sports Illustrated, can be seen on the MLB Network as well. than on Fox Sports MLB. cover.
Maddon says he placed a dictaphone, on a chain, around his neck while he was riding his bike. When the world slowed down, the manager of over 2,500 major league games decided to bare his life.
“I look up to the authors. When I thought it would be cool to write the book, I needed Tommy every step of the way,” says Maddon, who swears that when he was six, he had decided he would one day play MLB ball, then make it happen.
Behind every success story in the clubhouse and on the field, there is historically a strong woman who navigates the often bumpy path to success. Maddon’s Yang Ying is his second wife Jaye. Although Maddon opens up about his personal life only slightly, beyond his upbringing in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains, readers will learn that his team outside the stadium is just as important as the one inside.
Jo’s book could also be interpreted as a directory of how best to navigate a position of leadership, whether in sports or beyond in a cubic corporate setting.
These are the names of players that many readers may not have heard in a while, and no longer forgotten, it’s an added bonus in Jo’s book. Billy Bavasi, Bob Clear and Gene Mauch top this list of baseball influencers Maddon has crossed careers with, all of whom have made lasting contributions.
When you’ve had a life where you quote John Wooden, Alan Greenspan and Michaelangelo, it’s clear that Maddon is someone you want to sit next to – and just listen.
One of the many guidelines offered by Maddon, hoping you will question and think for yourself other than just follow, is found in Chapter 14.
“Never allow pressure to exceed pleasure” is a keeper; a takeaway by which Maddon shapes his daily schedule. Jo’s book is the summary of a man that most, if not all, people would like to emulate, but who hasn’t had the opportunity to come knocking.
Joe Maddon is a successful regular, and should have been. What a beautiful story.