A Solid Connection for Raines
All-time great base stealer Tim Raines gave a nice speech in honor of his induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame. He smiled, told great stories, and made solid connections with his audiences.
This past weekend, our friend Tim “Rock” Raines, the great left fielder who played five years with the White Sox, spoke in honor of his induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Raines, one of the top base-stealers of all time, was best known for his career with the old Montreal Expos. He also played three years for the Yankees, and a bit with the A’s, Orioles and Marlins at the end of his career.
While he spent most of his speech acknowledging those who had helped encourage and inspire him throughout his childhood and develop into a ballplayer, he punctuated it with a number of personal stories about his own favorite players and teammates, many of them fellow hall-of-famers who were seated behind him.
Raines was relaxed, comfortable, gracious, funny, and easy to listen to. You could tell by his pace, by his tone, and by his facial expressions that he enjoyed every minute at the podium. He didn’t bring great energy, but he showed genuine emotion, told good stories and connected to his audience as he spoke for just over 30 minutes.
When Raines told stories, his eyes sparkled a bit, he smiled, he looked up from his notes and made eye contact. In particular, he looked at people as he was talking about them, even with those who sat behind him. Certainly this was a celebratory day for all who attended the event. But we found it very entertaining to hear Raines address his fans and friends from a great career in baseball.
Here’s an important takeaway for all you young presenters out there: when a speaker is comfortable and willing to share personal stories, those in the audience tend to enjoy listening even more. You don’t want to make a business presentation all about YOU, but you can allow the listeners to s
ee just a bit of your personal side through an anecdote or by sharing a surprising fact about yourself.
As a player, Raines’ best years were spent in Montreal. By the time he came to the Sox in ’91, his bat slowed a bit and he didn’t steal bases with the same gusto, but he played hard. In his speech, he spoke about playing with The Big Hurt, Frank Thomas, saying that Frank was a great hitter but not such a great fielder.
“I remember playing left field, and Frank was playing first base. Every time we picked off the first base, I’d start running in towards second base because I knew if the guy took off, Frank had to make a throw to second base, it would come out to me in left field. Thank you, Frank, for helping me be aware of everything that was going on in the games.”
His stories about other fellow players were also personal and entertaining. In addition to Thomas, he spoke about Joe Morgan, George Brett, Ricky Henderson, and his former Expo teammates, including Andre Dawson and the late Gary Carter.
We congratulate all the 2017 inductees: the great catcher Ivan Rodriguez; Jeff Bagwell; Commissioner Bud Selig; and Braves exec John Schuerholz.