The Container Store

Leaders We Love: Ted Williams

Leaders We Love: Ted Williams

*This is part of our “Leaders We Love” series. Learn more about it.

I’m a passionate baseball fan, specifically a Boston Red Sox fan. I love everything about the game and my children are just as passionate. We connect over it and beyond just watching games and being entertained, I’ve really enjoyed being able to use stories and examples of sports achievements to help illustrate many of life’s lessons for my children, and of course I apply them in my own life as well.

The favorite player in our house is Ted Williams….which when you think about it says a lot. Considering he was a player in the 1930s and 40s, no one in my house ever saw him play! The reason he’s our favorite is because of the principles he stood for. His integrity and honor meant more to him than any baseball record. He interrupted his hall of fame career twice to fight in two different wars.

And he wanted to be the best – every day – no matter what he was doing.

In fact, one of my favorite Ted Williams stories isn’t even about baseball, it’s about fishing. He meant to be the best at that too. One day he said to a Boston sportswriter:

  • “Ain’t no one in heaven or earth ever knew more about fishing.”
  • “Sure there is,” said the reporter.
  • “Oh, yeah? Who?”
  • “Well, God made the fish.”
  • “Yeah, alright,” Ted said, “But you have to go pretty far back.”

But what really set him apart for me is the story of the 1941 baseball season when he hit .406 for the year. No one has hit .400 since, but that’s not what amazes me. (OK, it’s a little amazing!)

Going into the final day of the season, playing a double header, he was hitting .39955. According to baseball rules, that average would be rounded up to .400 so he could have sat out the final day, guaranteeing he reached the elusive .400 batting average. In fact his manager offered to sit him.

But his ethics and sense of integrity wouldn’t let him take the final day off. So he played, and went 6 for 8 and ended the season batting .406. He wanted to be the best at what he did, but more importantly, he wanted to do it the right way.

I tell that story to my son often. Not when we’re watching a game, but when we’re talking about his development in other areas. Communication, relationships, approach to school work and how that will translate later in life to his professional ethics. I want him to know that while great people reinvent themselves every day, they’re also focused on doing it the right way.

I’m also a passionate The Container Store fan. And like my admiration for “Teddy Baseball,” it’s the principles that we stand for at The Container Store that make me so passionate about our company.

Everyone wants to work for a great company; a successful company, where you can build a career. But I am most proud of the fact that I tell my kids The Container Store stories to help make them better people. I am proud we’re a successful company, but even more so because we’re a conscious company, achieving success the right way, and always looking out for our employees, vendors, customers and communities.

If you’d like to learn more about the “Splendid Splinter” you can read Ted Williams, The Biography of an American Hero.

Kevin B., Store Director, Sixth Avenue, New York City