The Work of Harvey Dorfman: A Professional Baseball Mental Training Consultant

By Andrew D. Knapp and Alan S. Kornspan

This article was published in the Spring 2015 Baseball Research Journal.

Many years ago, Albert Spalding recognized the importance of psychology in the development of baseball players.1 Specifically, he acknowledged that considerable information could be gained from studying athletes within the psychology laboratory. Subsequently, Babe Ruth entered the Psychology Laboratory at Columbia University where psychologists analyzed characteristics and qualities which allowed Ruth to reach a high level of performance.2 Thus, throughout the early part of the twentieth century individuals recognized that information learned in the psychology laboratory could benefit baseball players.

Harvey Dorfman and Karl Kuehl's 1989 book has been widely read by players in the major leagues. By the late 1930s, professional baseball front office personnel began to value the importance of psychological training for successful athletic performance.3 Specifically, Coleman Griffith and Jack Sterrett were hired by Philip Wrigley to provide psychological expertise to the Chicago Cubs organization for the 1938 baseball season.4 Griffith believed that his experience consulting with the Chicago Cubs clearly showed the value of having a psychologist provide services to professional athletes. In fact, Griffith stated: “The experience gained during the summer of 1938 shows clearly that the method of having a trained man travel with the team can produce results of great value.”5

Approximately a decade later, the St. Louis Browns hired David Tracy to provide hypnosis and psychological consulting to the St. Louis Browns.6 Tracy chronicled his work in a book titled, Psychologist at Bat.7 After Tracy’s work with the St. Louis Browns others in professional baseball took note of how psychology could influence performance both on and off the field of play. Not surprisingly, hypnosis began to be an intervention used with baseball players. Accounts of hypnotists aiding professional baseball players began to become more common in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.8 For instance, an example of psychological consulting in baseball was the Kansas City Royals utilization of psychologists as part of the training and scouting of baseball players.9 In fact, during the 1970s additional reports of psychologists consulting with professional baseball teams began to be chronicled.10

In general before the 1960s there was little application of sport psychology to aid athletes and coaches in using mental skills to help athletes enhance performance. However, in the 1970s leaders in the field of sport psychology began to work with athletes on the mental side of sport. In fact, the United States Olympic Committee formed a sport psychology committee to help to advance sport psychology work with athletes. By the 1980s, the use of sport psychology became increasingly popular with Olympic and professional athletes.11

Although psychologists have a long history of involvement within professional baseball, a dearth of literature has explained how professional baseball organizations began to utilize the services of full-time mental training consultants during the 1980s. An individual who began consulting full-time as a mental training consultant in professional baseball during this time period was Harvey Dorfman. For over twenty-seven years, Dorfman worked with three professional baseball organizations and the Scott Boras Corporation. Additionally, to advance the field of mental training applied to baseball, Dorfman produced four baseball specific mental training books.12 Moreover, Dorfman explained his employment in professional baseball in a three part autobiographical memoir documenting his life’s work.13

Thus, the purpose of the present manuscript is to pay tribute to the life and work of Harvey Dorfman (1935-2011). In order to document Dorfman’s work, primary source material was utilized from three autobiographical texts: Persuasion of My Days, Copying it Down, and Each Branch, Each Needle.14 Also, newspaper and magazine articles written about Dorfman were used as well as additional books that Dorfman composed.

Therefore, the manuscript begins by providing a discussion of Dorfman’s life prior to consulting. This is then followed by a description of how Dorfman began working in professional baseball. His approach to consulting with athletes is overviewed next. A description of his work with the Oakland Athletics, the Florida Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays and the Scott Boras Corporation follows. Finally, the paper concludes with feedback from those that consulted with Dorfman and the current status of mental training in professional baseball today.

WHO WAS HARVEY DORFMAN?

Harvey Allen Dorfman was born on the northeast side of New York City in the Bronx in 1935. Throughout Dorfman’s early life, although not able to participate in much physical activity, baseball had a profound influence on his early years. For instance, Dorfman recounted a memory of his first baseball game at the Polo Grounds. In this contest the New York Giants competed against the Chicago Cubs. Dorfman recalled that his father encouraged him to pay attention to the game. Throughout the game, he sat silently observing the competition and was fascinated by the athletes' movements rather than what was occurring within the contest. Dorfman believed that his attendance at that game led him to develop a desire to actively participate in baseball.15

Initially, Dorfman became involved in baseball during the eighth grade. While playing for the Sharks who were a community league team, Dorfman became more confident in his baseball ability. Subsequently, he left the Sharks and joined a team closer to his home. Dorfman reminisced that the highlight of his baseball career was pitching a two-hit shutout during high school.16

After completing high school, Dorfman entered Brockport College in September of 1953. Dorfman majored in general education and was the goalie for the soccer team.17 In fact, Dorfman’s soccer team at Brockport College won a co-national championship.18 After graduation, Dorfman entered into employment as a teacher and coach. Throughout these early years of teaching and coaching, Dorfman coached football and basketball and also served as an athletic director.19 Later in his career, Dorfman served as an academic dean. Additionally, in 1980, his final season as a basketball coach, Dorfman’s team won the Vermont State Girls Basketball Championship.20

In 1960, Dorfman married Anita Wiklund and they had two children, Melissa and Danny. Dorfman earned a master’s degree in educational psychology from Brockport College in 1961.21 Throughout his career Dorfman became an influential mental training consultant in professional baseball working with three professional baseball organizations and the Scott Boras Corporation. Additionally, Dorfman also consulted with National Hockey League (NHL) teams including the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Islanders.22 His many influential publications related to the mental game of baseball included the following books, The Mental Game of Baseball, The Mental Keys to Hitting, The Mental ABC’s of Pitching, and Coaching the Mental Game.23

HOW DORFMAN BEGAN CONSULTING IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL

After Dorfman completed his coaching tenure, he continued to instruct at the high school level and also taught evening and summer graduate level courses at the University of Vermont, St. Joseph the Provider, and Castleton State College.24 Additionally, he was a freelance writer for the Rutland Herald. Many of the articles he authored have been published in a recent book.25 These articles related to people and places in Vermont and his articles appeared in a column titled “Miscellany.” In addition, Dorfman began writing baseball columns for the Berkshire Sampler. A main purpose of these articles was to gain interest and attention for the Pittsfield (Massachusetts) Rangers, a Double-A minor league team of the Texas Rangers organization.26

The baseball columns written for the Berkshire Sampler led to an interview with Roy Smalley who was the number one draft pick for the Texas Rangers organization. According to Dorfman, their conversation was quite extensive and they subsequently developed a friendship. Specifically, whenever Smalley traveled to Boston as member of the Texas Rangers, they would meet for lunch. These meetings were sustained even after Smalley joined the Minnesota Twins.27

After Smalley was traded to Minnesota he became acquainted with Karl Kuehl who was a coach for the organization. Smalley then introduced Dorfman to Kuehl prior to a game because he believed that they would have a lot in common. This initial meeting led to various breakfast gatherings between Dorfman and Kuehl. Dorfman recalled a meeting in which Kuehl brought 3x5 cards with notes all over. These cards contained details about the thought patterns of baseball players during competition. Kuehl’s hope was to use this information to author a text on the mental game of baseball.28

Dorfman had the background that Kuehl surmised could help him complete a book related to the mental component of baseball. Specifically, Dorfman had an adequate comprehension of the game, academic training in psychology, and was an author. Hence, Kuehl asked Dorfman to co-author a book on the mental game of baseball. Initially, Dorfman declined Kuehl’s offer; however, he eventually agreed to co-author the text. In order to prepare the manuscript for publication, Dorfman began to interview athletes during the 1983 baseball season.29 During this process Dorfman was provided with positive feedback about the mental game of baseball. Additionally, these interviews resulted in players asking Dorfman for assistance with the mental game of baseball.30

While Dorfman continued gathering research data for the manuscript, Kuehl left Minnesota and served as a consultant to the Oakland and Philadelphia organizations.31 In August of 1983, Kuehl joined the Oakland Athletics organization as the team’s director of the minor leagues.32 With a strong belief in the importance of the mental game and the knowledge that other teams had previously hired performance enhancement consultants, Kuehl hired Dorfman.33

In a consulting role, Dorfman was a counselor/instructor during the summer of 1984 with the Oakland A’s Double-A affiliate in Albany, New York. He provided mental game consultation to players and staff. As Dorfman experienced success, he was offered full-time employment with the Oakland Athletics. Initially, Dorfman was unsure about accepting the position, however with Kuehl’s encouragement, Dorfman agreed to join the Athletics organization as a full-time instructor.34

When Dorfman was hired by the Oakland Athletics in 1984, he became one of the few full-time mental training consultants employed by a professional baseball club. However, other organizations were utilizing the services of mental training consultants. For instance, the Houston Astros, in 1986, initiated a mental skills training program enlisting Jim Johnson and Ronald Smith to work with the Astros organization.35 Similarly, Ken Ravizza began consulting with the California Angels organization during the mid-1980s and implemented mental training programs both at the major and minor league levels.36 The Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers were also reported to have consultants as part of their staff.37

In addition to providing services to major league baseball organizations, Dorfman was an active contributor in helping to advance the field of sport psychology. For instance, Dorfman was part of a panel who described their work in professional baseball at the inaugural Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology (AAASP) conference in 1986. The panel titled, Sport Psychology Consultation for Professional Baseball, was organized by Ken Ravizza and included Ron Smith and Karl Kuehl.38 Additionally, Dorfman, while still with the Oakland A’s organization, was part of 1993 AAASP panel titled, Issues and Implications in Professional Sport Consulting.39 Ronald Smith noted Dorfman’s contributions to baseball and the sport psychology discipline when he stated, “Since 1989, the baseball specific sport psychology market has been dominated by Harvey Dorfman and Karl Kuehl’s seminal work, The Mental Game of Baseball.”40

DORFMAN'S TEACHING OF MENTAL SKILLS AND CONSULTATION PHILOSOPHY

was interested in advancing the profession of sport psychology. He was a member of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology (AAASP) and participated in professional sport psychology conferences. Dorfman’s main responsibility with the Oakland Athletics organization was to provide performance enhancement consulting. Within the provision of mental training services to the organization, Dorfman explained the mental skills he taught to baseball players in his book, The Mental Game of Baseball and also published an article in The Sport Psychologist which detailed his approach.41 The consulting services provided were primarily focused on mental skills training for the purpose of enhancing performance. His philosophical belief was that on-field distractions were the cause of an athlete’s anxiety. Hence, this nervousness could usually be alleviated by educating and teaching athletes specific mental skills to relieve tension.42 Specifically, Dorfman stated, “I work on performance first and foremost … But mental skills are a tremendous part of the game. Just like a hitting coach, or a pitching coach, I am a mental skills coach.”43

Dorfman preferred to provide mental training to athletes during individual sessions rather than group sessions. He believed that even the most successful athletes tend to be self-conscious in group meetings. Thus, generally, the only time group meetings were held was during spring training and instructional league camp. These meetings consisted of baseball related themes such as courage, responsibility, preparation for at-bats, playing with pain, and winning attitudes.44

Although Dorfman generally focused on providing mental training services he noted that other consulting services were available through the organization.45 One such service that Dorfman provided while employed with the Oakland Athletics was academic services which were provided to all players in the minor and major leagues. Dorfman’s job was to act as the liaison between the player and the college or university he was attending or wished to attend. The Oakland Athletics organization encouraged athletes to obtain a college degree and wanted to accommodate their academic needs in order to not affect their baseball careers.46 The team also encouraged community service as players were involved in the community in order to establish a connection between the professional athlete and the fans. Despite the wide range of services provided, Dorfman’s main responsibility was to serve as a performance enhancement instructor.47

In 1997 Dorfman explained the type of knowledge that one needs to provide mental skills training to athletes. Dorfman stated that, “There are three things to need to know in order to do what I do … Obviously you have to know psychology, what’s inside people’s heads. Two you have to be a communicator. You have to be able to talk to players in their language. The third thing is, you have to know the game.”48 Dorfman also stated, “If I’m just talking about relaxation techniques or feeling or thinking blue, the players are not going to relate to that. But I can talk to them in the context of their at-bats, of their deliveries, of the game.”49

Throughout the years since Dorfman began consulting with major league baseball players, sport psychology research has demonstrated the importance of the mental aspects in successful baseball performance. Specifically, Ronald Smith and Donald Christensen found that a minor league baseball player’s mental skills were predictive of whether or not they persisted in their pursuit of playing in the MLB. Thus, they found that those with lower levels of coping ability were more likely to not be playing professional baseball two to three years after their mental and physical skills were assessed (Smith & Christensen, 1995).50

One approach that Dorfman focused on with his athletes was helping them to develop a routine before each pitch or each at bat. Recent research has been supportive of the use of routines in helping athletes improve their pitching performance.51 In general, the sport psychology research conducted by sport psychology researchers since the 1980s has shown that mental skills training (such as the type of techniques taught by Dorfman) has been effective in enhancing performance (Weinberg & Gould, 2015).52

THE FLORIDA MARLINS

At the start of the 1993 Major League Baseball (MLB) season, the Florida Marlins joined the National League as an expansion team. As a new organization, Dave Dombrowski, the General Manager of the Marlins, sought the assistance of Dorfman. The Oakland Athletics allowed Dorfman to provide consultation to the Marlins while also consulting with the Oakland Athletics.53 Dorfman’s work with the Florida Marlins was reported in April of 1993.54 Initially, Dorfman was a temporary mental training consultant for the organization and also provided presentations to the Marlins major and minor league staffs.55 In addition, Dorfman also provided consultation to Dombrowski about hiring a full-time mental skills consultant.56 Ultimately, Dorfman would be hired in November of 1993 as the full-time instructor and performance enhancement consultant for the Florida Marlins.57

As Dorfman began working for the Marlins, Renee Lachemann, the manager, was very accepting of Dorfman’s work. This was demonstrated as Lachemann distributed copies of The Mental Game of Baseball to every player during spring training. Also, during Dorfman’s first visit to Miami, Lachemann stated, “He told me he was coming … I said, Yeah I can use you.”58 Lachemann also believed that it was helpful to have Dorfman on staff because of the helpful information he provided.59

Dorfman was very busy while serving as a consultant for the Marlins. Specifically, a newspaper report stated, “team counselor Harvey Dorfman has a full appointment book.”60 During the many appointments, consultation was provided during both practice and in uniform while sitting in the dugout during games. Initially, most of Dorfman’s work with the Florida Marlins was with the major league staff, while very little time was spent providing consultation to the minor league teams. Also, approximately seventy five percent of his time was spent working directly with the pitching staff.61

The Marlins had great success while Dorfman was employed by the organization. In fact, in 1997 the Florida Marlins made the World Series. During the games Dorfman was able sit in the dugout where he assisted players by helping them stay focused on what they needed to do to be successful and also support them in staying positive about their effort.62 Dorfman helped the Florida Marlins have success as they won the 1997 World Series. As a result, Dorfman received a Florida Marlins World Series ring.63

THE TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

After the Florida Marlins won the World Series, Dorfman made the decision to take a new position with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.64 As this transition occurred, the Rays' general manager Chuck Lamar stated the following about Dorfman joining the organization, “It’s a tremendous plus for any organization, especially one just starting out that has to maximize players’ abilities.”65 Dorfman was influenced to join the Devil Rays by his friend and Marlins pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who was the Devil Rays first coach.66 In recounting Dorfman’s work, Larry Rothschild stated, “He’s irreplaceable. He just had an unbelievable way of describing in one sentence something that it took other people paragraphs to describe.” Rothschild also stated, “He had a way of getting right to the point and analyzing things quickly.”67 Due to a family illness Dorfman decided to end his association with the Tampa Rays at the end of the 1998 baseball season.68

SCOTT BORAS CORPORATION

After leaving the Tampa Bay Rays, Dorfman joined the Scott Boras Corporation. Working for this organization was ideal for Dorfman since he was able to provide consultation while not having to travel as much. Initially, Dorfman began working with Scott Boras clients in 1999. His work with the Scott Boras Corporation remained consistent with the past services he provided for the A’s, Marlins, and Devil Rays organizations. Specifically, Dorfman worked with those that approached him for assistance and thus did not initiate mental training sessions with athletes.69

When Dorfman joined the organization, clients represented by Boras were made aware of the services that Dorfman provided. To initiate consulting, Dorfman met with players during the 1999 spring training in Florida and Arizona. During the season, Dorfman traveled to meet with players when they needed assistance and subsequently he would follow up with phone calls. During the off-season, players would visit Dorfman’s home for consultation. Dorfman continued to travel to provide consultation to athletes until approximately 2006 when he stopped traveling and only met with clients in North Carolina.70

INFLUENCING FUTURE MENTAL TRAINING CONSULTANTS AND PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES

Dorfman was certainly interested in advancing the profession of sport psychology. Specifically, he was a member of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology (AAASP) and participated on various panels at professional sport psychology conferences. He also contributed to the development of the profession through taking part in think tanks with other mental training consultants.71 Additionally, in his last published memoir he discussed those individuals he mentored as they prepared for a career in sport psychology. In particular, Dorfman provided his thoughts about obtaining employment in the sport psychology profession. He explained that over the years he was contacted by many individuals interested in obtaining a career in sport psychology.72

In addition to influencing individuals to become mental training consultants and providing insight to those with an interest in sport psychology, Dorfman consulted with many athletes and coaches who had great success in the game of baseball. Several have credited Dorfman with being influential in their attainment of success. However, Dorfman did not believe that mental training consultants should take credit for the success of those that they have worked with.73 Although, Dorfman did not take credit for an athlete’s performance success, many of the athletes he worked with were very complimentary toward Dorfman’s work. See Appendix 1 at the bottom of this page for professional baseball player’s thoughts about Dorfman’s work.

CURRENT STATE OF MENTAL TRAINING CONSULTATION IN MLB

When Dorfman began consulting with major league baseball players, few professional teams had full-time mental training consultants. However, not long after Dorfman began to work full-time with the Oakland Athletics organization, other teams began employing sport psychologists and mental training consultants to work with their organizations. Presently, almost 30 years later, most MLB teams employ a mental training consultant or sport psychologist. For instance, teams that have been reported to have consultants through media reports or have listed professionals on their websites include:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks74
  • Atlanta Braves75
  • Baltimore Orioles76
  • Boston Red Sox77
  • Chicago Cubs78
  • Chicago White Sox79
  • Cleveland Indians80
  • Colorado Rockies81
  • Detroit Tigers82
  • Kansas City Royals83
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim84
  • Milwaukee Brewers85
  • Miami Marlins86
  • Minnesota Twins87
  • Pittsburgh Pirates88
  • New York Mets89
  • New York Yankees90
  • Texas Rangers91
  • San Francisco Giants92
  • Seattle Mariners93
  • Tampa Bay Rays94
  • Washington Nationals95.

In total, at least 22 of the league’s 30 teams have been reported to have a sport psychologist or mental training consultant on staff. Clearly, Dorfman’s work has had an influence on changing the culture and acceptance of mental training and sport psychology as integral part of professional baseball today.

SUMMARY

Harvey Dorfman had a very accomplished life which is documented in Appendix 2 at the bottom of this page. He spent 21 years (1962-1983) as an educator, academic dean, athletic director, and coach. As an athlete, Dorfman’s 1955 collegiate soccer team won the National Championship. While coaching, Dorfman’s basketball team won the Vermont state championship. In addition, he was an author and also taught at the college level.

An article that Dorfman wrote led him to Roy Smalley who then introduced Dorfman to Karl Kuehl. In 1983, Kuehl and Dorfman began research on a joint project that would result in a book, The Mental Game of Baseball. Before the text was published, Kuehl influenced Dorfman to become a full-time professional baseball instructor. Dorfman officially joined the Oakland Athletics in 1984 as a mental training instructor, making him one of the few full-time mental training consultants in professional baseball. During his tenure with the organization, the A’s won the 1989 World Series.

Dorfman provided services to the Florida Marlins beginning in 1993. Following the end of the season, Dorfman opted to join the Florida Marlins full-time and began working with the team for the 1994 season. In Oakland, Dorfman split his time between the major league team and all of the minor league affiliates; however, in Florida, he initially spent most of his time in Miami with the major league team and also was in the dugout for almost every game. With the help of Dorfman, the Marlins won the 1997 World Series. Following the Marlins World Series victory, Dorfman joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Dorfman spent one season with the expansion team and then began consulting with the Scott Boras Corporation in 1999.

Harvey Allen Dorfman passed away on February 28, 2011. Harvey Dorfman had a very profound life. Perhaps one of the greatest things that can be taken away from his work is the influence he had on the individuals that he worked and what he has done for the game of baseball. He helped numerous clients through mental training consultation and some went on to be the greatest players in the game. For those interested in becoming consultants his work is a great example of how mental training can help baseball players enhance performance. Students studying sport psychology that plan to work as mental training consultants can learn about the success that Dorfman achieved. Dorfman was one of the first full-time mental training consultants to have a tremendous amount of success over a long period of time in professional baseball.

ANDREW D. KNAPP completed his undergraduate degree in Sport Studies at the University of Akron and his master’s degree in Sport Psychology at the University of Tennessee. Currently, Andrew is the Interim Head Cross Country Coach/Interim Co-Head Track and Field Coach at Marietta College.

ALAN S. KORNSPAN is an Associate Professor in the School of Sport Science and Wellness Education at the University of Akron. Alan received his Ed.D. from West Virginia University in Sport Behavior. His research interests include the history of baseball, the history of the sport sciences, and professional issues in sport psychology.

 


 

APPENDIX 1: Baseball Players' Thoughts about Dorfman’s Work

  • Jim Abbott: “When I was playing major league baseball, Harvey Dorfman’s teaching would help guide my approach, on and off the field. Little did I know that years after I had retired, I would still find myself asking how Harvey would view a certain situation.”96 
  • Rick Ankiel: “He’s the best”….“I like the way he talks about baseball. He teaches you different keys on focusing.”97
  • Jeff Conine: “He breaks it down and brings common sense to the forefront…Things you already know he just reinforces. I don’t know if you just forget them or what but he just says do this or why don’t you think about this. Just common sense stuff that everybody knows but in the process of getting into a slump you forget about. He’s really good at waking you up and making it simple.”98 
  • Roy Halladay: “I’m certain I never would have had the success I’ve had if it weren’t for the time I’ve spent with him and the things I’ve learned from him.”99 
  • Raul Ibanez: "The stuff he taught us, for the players and the people whose lives he blessed, those teachings — and the caring, and the passion — we can pass that along to other people. And through them, he can live on longer than any of us will be alive, if we can make sure it just keeps getting passed down. And I hope that happens because I wouldn't have had the career I've had without him.”100 
  • Mark Kotsay: “He’s a good guy. ... He asked me what I was trying to do in those situations. And I said I was trying to drive the guy in. That I felt responsible for getting him in. He said that’s not the thing. That all I could control was trying to have a quality at-bat. So that’s what I am doing now, just trying to relax”101 
  • Al Leiter: “What helped me it was after years of a lot of understanding of what a pitcher’s job was. Harvey Dorfman got my mind where it needed to be. That’s the whole part of superior athletes that are able to separate what the emotions are and what the elevated anxiety will be to being able to focus at the task at hand.”102
  • Jamie Moyer: “The mental side of the game has gotten me to where I am today. Author and friend Harvey Dorfman really helped me in that area.”103
  • Dustin Pedroia: “He matched his message with the person who needed to hear it, which is exactly why he is the best sports psychologist in the world. He’s the kind of guy who can figure out your personality in five seconds. Talk about being born to do a job. Harvey was born to do what he does.”104 


APPENDIX 2: A Timeline of Harvey Dorfman’s Work

  • 1953: Entered Brockport College
  • 1955: Dorfman’s soccer team shares national championship
  • 1957: Graduated from Brockport College
  • 1961: Earned Master’s degree from Brockport College
  • 1975: Dorfman begins writing a baseball column for the Berkshire Sampler
  • 1984: Dorfman begins full-time consulting work with Oakland A’s
  • 1986: Dorfman presents work with the Oakland A’s at the First Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology Conference
  • 1989: Oakland A’s win the World Series
  • 1989: Dorfman and Kuehl publish Mental Game of Baseball
  • 1993: Dorfman begins full-time consulting work with the Florida Marlins
  • 1997: Florida Marlins win the World Series
  • 1998: Dorfman hired as full-time consultant for Tampa Bay Devil Rays
  • 1999: Dorfman hired by the Scott Boras Corporation
  • 2000: Dorfman Publishes The Mental ABC’s of Pitching
  • 2001: Dorfman Publishes The Mental Keys to Hitting
  • 2003: Dorfman publishes Coaching The Mental Game
  • 2010: Inducted into the College at Brockport: State University of New York Golden Eagles Athletic Hall of Fame
  • 2010: Dorfman Publishes two autobiographical memoirs about his life’s work in professional baseball including, Copying It Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art and Each Branch, Each Needle; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Final Stories
  • 2013: Dorfman’s book Babbling Echoes: Soundings from Yesteryear is published posthumously

 

Notes

1 Edward Marshall, “The Psychology of Base Ball Discussed by A. G. Spalding,” New York Times, November 13, 1910.

2 Albert H. Fuchs, “Psychology and the Babe,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 4 (1998): 153-165.

3 Christopher D. Green, “Psychology Strikes Out: Coleman Griffith and the Chicago Cubs,” History of Psychology 6 (2003): 267–283.

4 Christopher D. Green (2011). “The Chicago Cubs and the Headshrinker: An Early Foray into Sports Psychology,”Baseball Research Journal, 40(1) (2011): 42–45.

5 Coleman R. Griffith, “General Report Experimental Laboratories Chicago National League Ball Club January 1, 1938-January 1, 1939,” In Coleman R. Griffith Papers RS 5/1/21, Box 13, Folder, Chicago National League Ball Club Experimental Laboratories General Report, 1938-1939, 9, Courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives.

6 Alan S. Kornspan and Mary J. MacCracken, “The Use of Psychology in Professional Baseball: The Pioneering Work of David F. Tracy,” Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture 11(2003): 36–43.

7 David F. Tracy, The Psychologist at Bat (New York: Sterling, 1951).

8 Alan S. Kornspan and Mary J. MacCracken, “The Use of Psychology in Professional Baseball: The Pioneering Work of David F. Tracy,” “State Psychologist Given Baseball Job”, The Progress, May 27, 1957, 12. ; “Whitey Ford Quits Smoking, Finds That His Stamina Has Increased”, Post-Crescent, D5, May 5, 1963, D5 ; “Perry Wins 5th,” May 12, 1966, The Lima News, D1 ; Dennis Morabito, “Kirkpatrick Hit Sparks 2-1 edge”, Valley Independent, May 31, 1975, 6.

9 Richard J. Puerzer, “The Chicago Cubs College of Coaches: A Management Innovation that Failed,” The National Pastime 26 (2006): 3-17; Bob Bender, “Royals Outline Plans for Baseball Academy.” The St. Petersburg Times, February 18, 1970, 2C.

10“ Angels Mentally Sound According to Psychologist,” St. Joseph Gazette, August 8, 1973, 10.

11  Alan S. Kornspan, “History of Sport and Performance Psychology” in The Handbook of Sport and Performance Psychology, edited by Shane M. Murphy, 3-21. New York: Oxford Press.

12  Harvey A. Dorfman and Karl Kuehl, The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance. (2nd ed.) (South Bend, IN: Diamond Communications, Inc., 1995); Harvey A. Dorfman, The Mental ABC’s of Pitching: A Handbook of Performance Enhancement (Lanham, MD: Diamond Communications, 2000); Harvey A. Dorfman, The Mental Keys to Hitting: A Handbook of Strategies for Performance Enhancement, (South Bend, Indiana: Diamond Communications, 2001); Harvey A. Dorfman, Coaching the Mental Game: Leadership Philosophies and Strategies for Peak Performance in Sports and Everyday Life (Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2003).

13  Harvey A. Dorfman, Persuasion of My Day; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Early Years (Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books, 2005); Harvey A. Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art (Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books, 2010); Harvey A. Dorfman, Each Branch, Each Needle; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Final Stories (Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books, 2010).

14 Dorfman, Persuasion of My Day; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Early Years; Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art; Dorfman, Each Branch, Each Needle; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Final Stories.

15 Dorfman, Persuasion of My Day; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Early Years, 11-12.

16 Dorfman, Persuasion of My Day; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Early Years, 73-77.

17 Dorfman, Persuasion of My Day; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Early Years, 93-98.

18 Dorfman, Persuasion of My Day; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Early Years, 121; Daniel Cody, “Golden Eagles of Brockport: National Collegiate Soccer Co-Champions of 1955” (2004) Papers on the History of the College at Brockport. Paper 19, accessed December 15, 2013, http://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1018&context=student_archpapers

19 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 14-24.

20 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 38-41, 57-61; Burr and Burton’s Academy’s The View, “Harvey Dorfman Teacher and Coach”, accessed December 15, 2013, http://www.burrburton.org/uploaded/Alumni/Documents/View/THE_VIEW_Winter_2011.pdf Dorfman’s record as high school basketball coach at Burr and Burton academy was 60-24 and he won over 71 percent of the games he coached.

21 Dorfman, Persuasion of My Day; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Early Years, 157-160. Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 25.

22 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 129-135.

23 Harvey A. Dorfman and Karl Kuehl, The Mental Game of Baseball, (Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing, 1989); Harvey A. Dorfman, The Mental Keys to Hitting: A Handbook of Strategies Peak Performance, (South Bend, IN: Diamond Communications, 2000); Harvey A. Dorfman, The Mental ABC’s of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement (South Bend, IN: Diamond Communications, 2001), Harvey A. Dorfman, Coaching the Mental Game: Leadership Philosophies and Strategies for Peak Performance in Sports, and Everyday Life (Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2003).

24 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 57.

25 Harvey A. Dorfman, Babbling Echoes: Soundings from Yesteryear (Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books, 2013).

26 Dorfman, Persuasion of My Day; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Early Years, 57-58.

27 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 57-58.

28 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 58-59.

29 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 59.

30 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 59.

31  Bob Chick, “Relaxing Comes Naturally for This Farm Director,” Evening Independent, December 21, 1983, 1C.

32 Brian Kappler, “Expos Batters Feast on Giants in Runaway Win” Montreal Gazette, August 18, 1983, 57.

33  Chick, “Relaxing Comes Naturally for This Farm Director”, 1C.

34 “A’s Hire Counselor to Help Players”, Modesto Bee, August 22, 1984, D8; Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 60-61.

35 Ronald E. Smith and Jim Johnson, “An Organizational Empowerment Approach to Consultation in Professional Baseball,” The Sport Psychologist 4 (1990): 347-357.

36 Kenneth Ravizza, “Sportpsych Consultation Issues in Professional Baseball,” The Sport Psychologist 4 (1990): 330-340.

37 “What’s Up Doc”, The South East Missourian, June 14, 1982, 4; “Can Cards Win Without Counselor,” Palm Beach Post, October 19, 1982, B12; “Relax, Relax..it’s Only a Game,” Eugene Register Guard, September 4, 1983, 7B; “Hiring Shrink a Capital Idea”, Spokane Chronicle, August 3, 1988, 14; “Dr. Charlie Maher Retires from GSAAP”, accessed December 15, 2013, http://gsappweb.rutgers.edu/about/spotlight/maher.php ; Douglas Frank, “MVP: Most Valuable Psychologist,” September 22, 2000, accessed December 15, 2013 from http://urwebsrv.rutgers.edu/focus/article/MVP%3A%20Most%20Valuable%20Psychologist/195/ ; Joan M. Biskupic, “Baseball Team Hires Psychologist to Beef Up Batters,” July 4, 1985, accessed December 15, 2013, http://newsok.com/ball-team-hires-psychologist-to-beef-up-batters/article/2113835

38 Kenneth H. Ravizza, Ronald E. Smith, Karl Kuehl, and Harvey Dorfman, H. “Sport Psychology Consultation for Professional Baseball,” Workshop presented at the National Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology, Jekyll Island, Georgia (1986).

39 Cal Botterill, Harvey Dorfman, James Loehr, Richard Coop, Kenneth Ravizza and Wayne Halliwell, “Issues and Implications in Professional Sport Consulting,” Symposium Presented at the National Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology Conference, Montreal, Canada (1993).

40 Ronald E. Smith, “Heads up Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time [Book Review],” AASP Newsletter, 12 (1) 1997: 16-17.

41 Harvey A. Dorfman, “Reflections on Providing Personal and Performance Enhancement Consulting Services in Professional Baseball,” The Sport Psychologist 4 (1990): 341-346.

42 Dorfman, “Reflections on Providing Personal and Performance Enhancement Consulting Services in Professional Baseball,” 342.

43 Marc Topkin, “Spring is a Perfect Time to Practice Winning,” St. Petersburg Times, March 15, 1998, 4C.

44 Dorfman, “Reflections on Providing Personal and Performance Enhancement Consulting Services in Professional Baseball,” 342. For more detailed accounts of interventions and the methods Dorfman provided to professional baseball players please see, “Jamie Moyer and Larry Platt, Just Tell Me I Can’t: How Jamie Moyer Defied the Radar Gun and Defeated Time (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2013) and Dorfman’s books, “Persuasion of My Day” and “An Anecdotal Memoir: The Early Years”

45 Dorfman, “Reflections on Providing Personal and Performance Enhancement Consulting Services in Professional Baseball,” 343.

46 Dorfman, “Reflections on Providing Personal and Performance Enhancement Consulting Services in Professional Baseball,” 343.

47 Dorfman, “Reflections on Providing Personal and Performance Enhancement Consulting Services in Professional Baseball,” 343.

48 “Dogs Working on Mental Skills Too,” Portland Press Herald, May 4, 1997, 5D.

49 “Dogs Working on Mental Skills Too”, Portland Press Herald, 5D.

50 Ronald E. Smith and Donald S. Christensen, “Psychological Skills as Predictors of Performance and Survival in Professional Baseball,” Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 17 (1995): 399-415.

51 Justin Otto, Noah Getner, Dan Czech, Trey Burdette, and David Biber, “Baseball Pitcher’s Pre-Performance.” The Journal of Excellence 16 (2014): 84-97.

52 Robert S. Weinberg and Daniel Gould, Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology. (6th ed.) (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers, 2015).

53 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 136.

54 Dan LeBatard, “Psychologist Hired,” Miami Herald, April 17, 1993, 5D.

55 Gordon Edes, “A Confidence Man Marlins Can Trust,” Sun Sentinel, April 22, 1993, accessed November 7, 2013, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1993-04-22/news/9302070355_1_marlins-rene- ; Victor Lee, “Marlins hire psychologist to help set up team’s counseling program,” Palm Beach Post, January 20, 1993, 3C.

56 Victor Lee, “Marlins hire psychologist to help set up team’s counseling program,” Palm Beach Post, January 20, 1993, 3C.

57 “Transactions”. New York Times, November 19, 1993, accessed November, 7, 2013 from http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/19/sports/transactions-408093.html ; Specifically, this transaction stated, “Florida Marlins - - Named Harvey Dorfman instructor-counselor in charge of performance enhancement and staff development at the major and minor league levels.”

58 “Lachemann Welcomes Psychologist,” Miami Herald, August 25, 1993, 6D.

59 Gordon Edes, “A Confidence Man Marlins Can Trust,” Sun-Sentinel, April 22, 1993 from accessed December 16, 2013, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/199 3-04-22/sports/9302070355_1_marlins-rene-lachemann-harvey-dorfman

60 Gordon Edes, “Bad on Average: Marlins Will Hit Won’t They?”, Sun-Sentinel, April 16, 1996 from accessed October 12, 2012, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1996-04-16/sports/9604150542_1_marlins-tom-glavine-base

61 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 150.

62 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 158-162.

63 “Marlins Get World Series Rings,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 11, 1998, C5.

64  Marc Topkin, “Rays Hire Counselor to Perfect Mental Game,” St. Petersburg Times, December 11, 1997, 2C.; “Transactions,” New York Times, December 11, 1997, accessed October 13, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/19/sports/transactions-408093.html

65 Topkin, “Rays Hire Counselor to Perfect Mental Game,” 2C.

66 Marc Craig, “Yankees Remember Late Baseball Author Harvey Dorfman,” Star-Ledger, March 3, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2011/03/yankees_remember_late_baseball.html

67 Craig, “Yankees Remember Late Baseball Author Harvey Dorfman”

68 Dorfman, Copying it Down; An Anecdotal Memoir: Sport as Art, 168-169.

69 Dorfman, Each Branch, Each Needle; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Final Stories, 1-12.

70 Dorfman, Each Branch, Each Needle; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Final Stories, 1-12.

71 Arthur Poczwardowski and Larry Lauer, “The Process of the Redondo Beach Sport Psychology Consulting Think Tank” The Sport Psychologist 20 (2006): 74-93.

72 Dorfman, Each Branch, Each Needle; An Anecdotal Memoir: The Final Stories, 43-50.

73 Dorfman, “Reflections on Providing Personal and Performance Enhancement Consulting Services in Professional Baseball,” 344.

74 Steve Gilbert, “D-backs Take Mind-Over-Matter Approach”, MLB.com, October 3, 2011, accessed November 7, 2013, http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20111003&content_id=25466718&c_id=ari&partnerId=rss_ari

75 Carroll Rogers, “Braves host prospects for rookie development week – updated with roster,” AJC.com, January 4, 2011, accessed November 7, 2013 from http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2011/01/14/braves-invite-top-prospects-to-turner-field-for-rookie-development-week/

76 Brittany Ghiroli, “Orioles add sports psychologist to staff,” MLB.com, February 23, 2012 accessed November 7, 2013, http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120223&content_id=26829668 .

77 Ian Browne, “Sox prospects gather for rookie program,” MLB.com, January 11, 2010, accessed November 7, 2013,http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100111&content_id=7900182&vkey=news_bos&fext=.jsp&c_id=bos ; Ian Browne, “Red Sox Focusing More on Mental Skills This Spring”, MLB.com, February 13, 2013, accessed November 7, 2013 from http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130213&content_id=41595810&notebook_id=41605262&vkey=notebook_bos&c_id=bos

78 Paul Sullivan, “Cubs' Prospects Get Advice from Mark Prior,” Chicago Tribune, accessed November 7, 2013, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-17/sports/chi-cubs-prior-20130117_1_cubs-prospects-cubs-convention-marc-strickland.

79 Daryl Van Schouwen, “Psychologist Helps White Sox With Approach,” Chicago Sun Times, accessed November 7, 2013, http://blogs.suntimes.com/whitesox/2012/03/psychologist-helps-white-sox-w.html.

80 “Cleveland Indians - Front Office Directory”, MLB.com, accessed November 7, 2013, http://www.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=cle

81 “Rockies announce Minor League staff for 2013”, MLB.com, accessed November 7, 2013, http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130204&content_id=41384370&vkey=pr_col&c_id=col

82  “USD Grad Serving as Detroit Tigers' Performance Enhancement Instructor”, GoYotes.com, accessed November 7, 2013, http://www.goyotes.com/genrel/080803aaa.html

83 “Royals Announce Minor League Coaching Staff for 2014,” MLB.com, accessed November 7, 2013 http://kansascity.royals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20131101&content_id=63611222&vkey=pr_kc&c_id=kc

84  Mark Saxon, “Angels Psychologist Focuses on Attitude,” ESPN.com, March 8, 2011 accessed November 8, 2013, http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/columns/story?id=6191479

85 “Milwaukee Brewers Front Office”, MLB.com, accessed November 7, 2013 from http://milwaukee.brewers.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=mil

86 Christina De Nicola, “Hurricanes, Marlins, Reap physical benefits from mental acuity,” FoxSports.com, accessed January 24, 2015, http://www.foxsports.com/florida/story/miami-hurricanes-miami-marlins-duke-johnson-dan-jennings-sports-pschologist-benefits-102514

87  “Minnesota Twins – Front Office Directory”, MLB.com, accessed November 7, 2013, http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=min

88  “Pittsburgh Pirates - Front Office Directory”, MLB.com, accessed November 7, 2013 http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=pit

89 Anthony DiComo, “Through hitting system, Mets aim to build a winner,” MLB.com, accessed January 24, 2015, http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/news/print.jsp?ymd=20140417&content_id=72395802&c_id=nym

90 “New York Yankees – Managers and Coaches”, MLB.com, accessed November 8, 2013, http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/team/coaches.jsp?c_id=nyy

91 “Rangers Announce Changes to Pro, Amateur, and International Scouting Staffs”, MLB.com, January 31, 2012 accessed December 16, 2013, http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120131&content_id=26529524&vkey=pr_tex&c_id=tex

92 “Giants Announce Minor League Coaching Staff for 2014 Campaign,” MLB.com, accessed January 24, 2015 http://m.giants.mlb.com/news/article/67408298/giants-announce-minor-league-coaching-staff-for-2014-campaign

93  “Mariners announce Minor League Coaching Staff for 2013 Season,” MLB.com, accessed November 7, 2013, http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20121206&content_id=40565324&c_id=sea

94 “Minor League Operations”, Tampa Bay Rays Media Guide, 2013, accessed November 8, 2013, http://mlb.mlb.com/tb/downloads/y2013/minors.pdf

95 “Washington Nationals – Executive Offices”, MLB.com, accessed November 8, 2013, http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=was&sv=1

96 Dorfman, Each Branch, Each Needle: An Anecdotal Memoir, back cover.

97 M. Berardino, “A Time to Forget,” Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, February 17, 2001, accessed October 10, 2012 from http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2001-02-17/sports/0102170127_1_rick-ankiel-richard-ankiel words

98  Juan C. Rodriguez, “Lowell might need some mental exercise,” Sun-Sentinel, July 6, 2005, accessed November 7, 2013, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2005-07-06/sports/0507060055_1_scott-olsen-marlins-mike-lowell

99 Todd Zolecki. “Halladay Dealing with the Loss of His Mentor,” MLB.com, March 1, 2011, accessed November 7, 2013, http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110301&content_id=16779834&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

100  Jayson Stark, “Big Leaguers Will Never Forget Dorfman,” ESPN.com, March 2, 2011, accessed November 7, 2013, http://espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/stark_jayson/id/6175536/harvey-dorfman-%20words-touched-many-major-leaguers

101 David O’Brien, “Marlin Win is Grand,” Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, June 22, 2000, accessed November 7, 2013, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2000-06 22/sports/0006220074_1_mark-kotsay-marlins-luis-castillo

102 Carroll Rogers, “MLB Network’s Al Leiter has advice for Kris Medlen,” AJC.com, October 4, 2012, accessed November 7, 2013, http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2012/10/04/mlb-networks-al-leiter-has-advice-for-kris-medlen/

103  Jamie Moyer. “Age is Only a Number,” The Stories of Success, January 22, 1012, accessed November 7, 2013 http://thestoriesofsuccess.com/2012/01/22/age-is-only-a-number-mlb-pitcher/

104  Dustin Pedroia and E. J. Delaney, Born to Play: My Life in The Game (New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2009), 72-73.