Take Me Out to the Ballgame … Of Life

Touching All the Bases Can Help Your Family Score Big

America’s pastime, baseball, is a game that has captured our attention for over 100 years. There are the unforgettable moments—home runs, diving catches and the biggest crowd pleaser of them all—the grand slam. And as anyone knows who has eaten a ballpark dog and sipped a tall Coke through four-hour-plus big league games, it’s a sport that has specific rules that just can’t be broken, no matter what … kind of like life.

If we go back to September 23, 1908, there was an infamous game against the eventual World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Fred Merkle, a 19-year-old rookie of the New York Giants (yep, they were the New York Giants at that time) was on first base, and Moose McCormick was on third base.

Baseball base

There were two outs, and it was the bottom of the ninth inning with the score tied 1-1. The next batter, Al Bridwell, drilled an apparent single into center field. McCormick ran home from third, and the game appeared to be over, a 2–1 Giants victory. Giants fans poured out of the stands and mobbed the field. Merkle, advancing from first base, saw the fans swarming onto the playing field. He turned back to the dugout to join the celebration with his teammates without ever touching second. The Cubs’ second baseman Johnny Evers noticed this, retrieved the ball, tagged second, and appealed to the umpire, who called Merkle out, nullifying McCormick’s run.

The Giants and Cubs would finish tied atop the National League standings, and a one-game playoff was played to decide which team would win the Pennant. The Cubs would win this game, eliminating the Giants. Had the Giants won that September 23 game, the one-game playoff would have been unnecessary, and the Giants may have won the same 1908 World Series that the Cubs proceeded to win.

He didn’t touch all the bases—one of those critical rules of the game.

Contrast this game with some headliners during the 1974 baseball season. Hank Aaron was a player with the Atlanta Braves. He was seeking the record for hitting the most home runs. Aaron needed just one home run to equal the record held by Babe Ruth, the greatest hitter in baseball history. Aaron got that home run the very first time he had a chance to hit the ball. He sent the ball over the wall. That gave him 714 home runs—the same as Babe Ruth.

After that day, baseball fans held their breath every time it was Hank Aaron’s turn to hit. When would he hit home run number 715? The wait wasn’t long. In the second week of the season, Aaron again hit the ball over the wall. He had beaten Babe Ruth’s record. But first, he had to run around the four bases. The other players on his team watched carefully to make sure he touched each one. If he did not, the home run would not have counted. There would have been no new record.

How does this apply to our lives? With our families, our work, our relationships, our spirituality and our giving, we all want to hit home runs, right? But we can’t do this without touching all the bases.

Just like baseball, we have home plate, first, second, and third bases. Our most important—or “home plate” possessions—are our foundational assets: our family, health, values, talents, heritage, spirituality, future, etc.

We also have another base comprised of our intellectual assets. Wisdom is a product of knowledge multiplied by experiences (and not just the good ones—I’ve learned more from my bad experiences in life). Other intellectual assets would include our formal education, reputation, systems, methods, traditions, alliances, skills, etc.

Next, would be our financial asset “base,” comprised of all of our material possessions—the “things” of life. This is our money, our property, our retirement funds, and the like.

The final base consists of our civic or social assets, which we contribute back to society. Most governmental systems in the world have a method whereby be must give back to society, and that normally comes in the form of taxes. But there are ways that we can maintain choice and control by redirecting otherwise payable taxes, taking ownership and becoming self-sufficient rather than relying on government to take care of us. We can contribute our money, time, talents and other resources to many charitable causes.

The point is: it’s imperative that we touch all of the bases in life to stay balanced.

To make sure your “home runs” will count in life, remember to touch all of the bases. You can’t stop with just the foundational, intellectual and financial bases. You’ll just score a triple if you don’t pay it forward by contributing of your means to others and come back to “home” to make it all count.

Sharing this approach is one of the reasons I have recently written my book, Entitlement Abolition, to help families make sure they don’t lose out by trying to score home runs with just their money. Throughout the book I help families identify and eliminate the entitlement mentality, helping parents coach any children who may have been “born on third base” and grew up thinking they hit a “triple.” It’s a thorough exploration with practical how-to steps for leading a life of Authentic Wealth and leaving a legacy of abundance for generations to come. And that’s a lot of home runs!