Andrew McCutchen E60

When I was a kid I always wondered who liked the Pittsburgh Pirates, besides my dad. True, I grew up in Chicago, but even there you could find people who would say, “You know, I always kind of liked…” followed by a random team. Not so with the Pirates. They seemed to exist to frustrate whatever poor soul put his faith in them. Today, with Andrew McCutchen on the team, it’s a different story. He’s not only a National League All-Star, but he seems to be a really good person who can teach us something about hard work, loyalty and family values.

For those not familiar with McCutchen, he grew up in a Florida trailer park. His parents had him at 17 years old. His dad worked in a phosphate mine and his mom worked at a grocery store. And when those two loving parents did the best they could to raise their son with good values, the seeds for success they planted in his head began to blossom:

“We used to get up 4:00 a.m., 5:00 a.m., hit balls, and he just decided he wanted to do that. He wanted to be great,” (Lorenzo McCutchen).

Lorenzo McCutchen

And great he became. In fact, he’s so good at the sport that the Pirates signed him to a six-year, $51.5 million contract extension last season. But the thing is, the playoff-bound Pirates really couldn’t afford what the market could deliver “Cutch,” and yet he stayed in Pittsburgh. He turned down millions to stay with the team that offered him his first big break.

“This is the team that drafted me. I owe them signing this contract. Why would I waste it on going: ‘Maybe I can get $31 million if I had a good year.’ Then I would be contradicting myself and going: ‘Are you doing it for the money or are you doing it because you love the game?’ I want to do it because I love the game,” (Andrew McCutchen, E:60 interview).

“He feels like he was predestined to be there […] He wants to make a difference in Pittsburgh. I think that it’s important that you play where your heart is, and I think his heart is in Pittsburgh,” (Lorenzo McCutchen)

When I was a kid, I’d watch sports stars leave cities over contract disputes and wonder why anyone would uproot their family over a few million dollars when they’re already financially set for life. I never begrudged them for doing so, but I always told myself that if I was put in a similar situation I’d rather stay in the city I love than to exit on bad terms because of money. Andrew McCutchen is living proof that loyalty while living a good life will be rewarded — Pittsburgh fans love the guy.

Want a sure-fire recipe for success? Look at the McCutchens:

  • Be a good father.
  • Teach your kids that they can decide to be successful — and then instill in them the importance of hard work.
  • Follow your heart.
  • Know that money is nice, but that it doesn’t bring those who possess it true happiness.
  • Be loyal to those who love you and treat you right.
  • Give back to your community.

Did I forget to mention that Andrew McCutchen mentors inner-city youth baseball players and at-risk children? Well, he does. At this point in time, it’s really hard to find many faults with a guy who bats .318, gets his team in the playoffs, and works to leave a positive lasting mark on the city that brought him to the big leagues. Even his response to a question about the World Series is golden: “I never really followed the World Series very much. […] I’d much rather play in it … and make my own memories.”

When you dig deep down and focus on who you are and who you want to be, the distractions of the external world melt away. When you believe in yourself and then put in the hard work, the world becomes less stressful. When you surround yourself with positive people, “impossible” tasks suddenly become possible. These are not just lessons for Pittsburgh Pirates fans — they are lessons for us all — and for imparting those lessons I would like to thank Mr. McCutchen.

Hat Tip: Denver Pat

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

2 comments

  1. Thanks for the hat tip! Lorenzo himself is a great story as he really made an effort to change his life at a young age for the betterment of his family. Having been blessed with a great Dad myself, I enjoy these stories. It is an awesome family story too, his grandmother still runs a store in the town, his mom (who is apparently a well practiced church choir singer, and has done the national anthem at pirate games) made sure the family kept their roots in the church, and you documented the story of his father. These are just simply good, hard working people, and it’s nice to see a decent family “win” , for lack of a better term. Andrew himself says he stays successful because he surrounds himself with good people, and he has a radar for that from his upbringing.

    The baseball fan in me is happy to finally read something about a player that doesn’t involve PED’s or something else obnoxious. The Pirates clinched a wildcard spot, and with my teams out, I will be pulling for them this year. I wasn’t able to see the Pirates when they came to town due to my schedule this year, but I hope to catch them on their next visit to Coor’s field, I’ll be cheering for McCuthchen; I’m glad you found his story inspiring like I did!

    1. This was definitely the kind of story I’m into. Thanks for sharing. I sort of got away from baseball after the whole steroid scandal. You think about all the teams that won … those close games … and then the guys who corked their own body, and it just makes you shake your head. I’m slowly getting back into the sport, and it’s guys like McCutchen who make that process possible.

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