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Management Tips from an 80-Year-Old Badass

Management wisdom from octogenarian badass Jack McKeon

Not wearing a hearing aid is one of the many tricks Jack McKeon has learned during his six decades in baseball. “I used to be a very strong disciplinarian,” says McKeon, sitting in the Oakland Coliseum one recent afternoon as his players take batting practice. “Then I decided to back off a little bit. I don’t use the hearing aids because I don’t want to see a lot of things, and I don’t want to hear a lot of things.”

It may be too late for that. McKeon took over the last-place Florida Marlins on June 20, the day after then-manager Edwin Rodríguez quit. While Rodríguez wanted the Marlins to offer him a long-term contract, McKeon didn’t exactly need one. The 80-year-old’s appointment is almost without precedent in pro sports. In 2003 the Marlins hired a 72-year-old to take over a club filled with young, inexperienced players. That year, McKeon’s Marlins beat the New York Yankees in the World Series. Still, hiring a bona fide octogenarian is even harder to believe. The odds of McKeon winning the World Series this year (1 in 75, according to Vegas.com) are longer than the odds of him dying this year (1 in 15.5, according to Social Security’s actuarial tables).