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Field of Broken Dreams: What Mariano Teaches Financial Advisors

By ClientWise | May 8, 2012

Mariano Rivera is the all-time best closing pitcher in baseball. He has a record 608 career regular-season saves. His 2.21 earned run average is the lowest ERA of any pitcher with a minimum of 1,000 innings, since 1920. His post-season ERA is even better, 0.70. He has not allowed a postseason home run since the 2000 World Series.

Rivera also personifies the best qualities of the professional athlete, and played the game with a dignity and grace that provides some lessons to us all (even Boston Red Sox fans!)


Life is fickle: One minute he’s gliding along shagging practice fly balls, the next moment he’s utterly helpless on the turf in Kansas City. Top-performing financial advisors understand the fickleness of the markets, and fully take advantage of these whims and vagaries… and guide their clients to do the same.

Loving the game: As ironic as Rivera’s freak injury might seem, part of his massive appeal is exactly that he seems to take joy in the small ritual-like maneuvers of the game—that he still plays the field with his teammates before games, goofing around a little in the outfield to stay in shape. For the best financial advisors, their profession is not drudgery, but a joyful calling. Sounds kinda corny. But, it's true.

Humility: Rivera is, quite possibly, the most respected athlete in pro sports today. A good explanation for his revered status is his humility and grace, an increasingly rare trait among elite athletes today. As humble in his many victories as in his rare defeats, Rivera has been a complete professional (in all the best senses of the word) throughout the entirety of his 18-year career, always deflecting the credit given to him onto his teammates. In the same way, top financial advisors are selfless, generously sharing credit with their teammates and colleagues, and unselfishly-focused on the needs and concerns of their clients. 

Always the competitor: 24 hours after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament, Rivera tells reporters that he won’t let the injury end his career. “I’m coming back. Write it down in big letters. I’m not going out like this.” Ironically, in spring training it seemed that he had made up his mind that this would be his last season. Of course, the preeminent FA’s have an unquenchable competitive fire that allows them to persevere, for themselves and their clients, in all manner of conditions.

Playing to his strength: Rivera achieved his immense success with a single pitch, the cut fastball, or “cutter,” which would baffle opponents and freeze them for called third strikes, or come in on the hands and saw their bats off, or else drift out of the zone, yielding harmless groundouts or fly balls. In the same vein, the elite financial advisors keep it relatively simple, and differentiate themselves and their practice by highlighting what they do best.


Rivera’s career, thus far, has been an extraordinary one. At this point, he could easily retire (without need of explanation), and still be regarded as one of the all-time greats. However, in his final innings, he seems to have decided that he has the power to control how he ends things.


How fitting! Always the closer.


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Topics: Leadership Perseverance

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