People Don’t Boo Nobodies

I was listening to a Freakinomics podcast the other day and they were talking about “booing”.  You know, ref makes a bad call and you boo?  Ok that’s not the point.

It was a story about booing that got me.

Johnnie LeMaster played 12 seasons in the majors, mostly with the San Francisco Giants.  He was a shortstop with a career average of around 220.  Nothing special but an all around good player to have on your team.

One season the team wasn’t doing so well.  Johnnie wasn’t doing so well either.  A couple errors here and there and one game fans began to take their anger out on Johnnie.  The boos began.  When he was up to bat at first, then it progressed to whenever he’d so much as poke his head out of the dugout.  They loved to boo Johnnie.

After a while Johnnie had enough, he was going to turn this into a positive, or at the very least have a laugh about it.  He got a jersey made without his last name “LeMaster” on the back, instead his last name read “Boo”.  That night the fans didn’t shout their disapproval of their shortstop, no, that night they were screaming his last name.  Johnnie gained back the respect of the fans and the media had field day.  They only person who wasn’t amused was the general manager, he fined Johnnie $500 for not wearing his proper uniform.

In Johnnies last season he played with the Oakland A’s, Reggie Jackson was on the team. On the road, one morning Johnnie went for breakfast by himself but to his delight, Reggie Jackson had come for breakfast at the same time and sat down with him.  They were talking for a bit then Reggie looked at him and said, “I hear you get booed every once in a while.”  Johnnie said, “Reggie, I did”.  Reggie looked at him from across that table, eyeball-to-eyeball, and said, “Let me tell you something, people don’t boo nobodies.”

Johnnie said that day, Reggie Jackson made him feel like a million bucks.

Just because people are criticizing you, doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.  At least, people are acknowledging that you’re doing something.

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