SABR 43: Larry Bowa opens up about his four decades in baseball

Larry Bowa has spent more than 40 years in baseball, as a player, manager, coach and analyst. He talked about his long and tumultuous career at the SABR 43 Awards Luncheon on Friday, August 2. Bowa’s discussion with’s Barry M. Bloom was the keynote speech of the SABR 43 convention in Philadelphia.

Here are some highlights:


“I always played with a chip on my shoulder. I was small. Nobody wanted me. I was taking ground balls, and out of the corner of my eyes I see somebody getting ready to take ground balls. It was Mike, and he said, ‘Do you mind if I take some ground balls?’ I said, ‘No, go ahead.’ We were alternating. He’d tell you this story. After about five minutes, he was taking grounders and I was taking grounders and I said, ‘You know, it would be better if you took some at third, because I don’t think you’re going to play here. I plan on playing here for a while.'”


“We go out to dinner a lot, and he’ll say, ‘Are you getting this tab?’ And I’ll say: ‘What are you talking about? You’re a Hall of Famer.’ And he’ll go, ‘Yeah, but I was the throw-in.”


“There’s only one thing that stands out, and that’s winning the World Series. The trade deadline just passed and you see guys on a fourth- or fifth-place team that say, ‘I don’t know if I want to go to that team.’ I still to this day can’t understand why a guy wouldn’t want to go to a team that has a chance to win the World Series. To me, that’s the ultimate. You can make all the money in the world. You can be happy in a certain town. But to me, chasing that ring is the ultimate, and that’s something you can always hang your hat on. As many players as I’ve played with, you make relationships, but there’s a special bond on a team that wins the World Series.”

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Watch or listen to the Awards Luncheon and Larry Bowa keynote session by clicking play below:

Originally published: August 4, 2013. Last Updated: July 27, 2020.