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Leanna Hamill, Attorney at Law

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  • I provide estate planning services for families and individuals on the South Shore and surrounding areas of Massachusetts, working with clients to draft Wills, Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney, and other instruments to protect their families. I also assist older individuals and their families as they plan for the future, or deal with a crisis situation. Please see the "About" page for more information on my practice areas, or call my office today to schedule a consultation.

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John Holzmann


Thanks for your thoughtful and informative blog! (I've only been visiting for a few days, but I've been pleased with what I've seen.)

This post on charitable giving particularly struck me partially because--as one who has been involved in a number of non-profit/tax-exempt entities, I would want to stress your last piece of advice ("ask lots of questions") above your first ("try a website like Charity Navigator") . . . primarily because of what may be a too likely response to Charity Navigator's rating system. Specifically, I want to note (what Frank Bettger brought to my attention through his book HOW I RAISED MYSELF FROM FAILURE TO SUCCESS IN SELLING (

While donors, absolutely, should want to consider charitable organizations' EFFICIENCY (, we need, also, to consider their EFFECTIVENESS--a distinction that Charity Navigator's rating system is unable to analyze--and a distinction many of us forget at crucial points in our analyses.

The difference between EFFICIENCY and EFFECTIVENESS? Well, consider Bettger's stories about Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, the great baseball players. (Please note that Bettger wrote in 1947; the records he speaks of have all been broken many times since.) Still . . .

On pp. 179-184, Bettger recounts how he watched Ruth ignominiously strike out twice in a game in 1927--on three pitches each time.

"In the eighth inning when he came up for his third turn at bat, the situation was critical. The Athletics were leading the Yankees [Ruth’s team], 3 to 1. The bases were full, and two were out. . . .

"[The count was already no balls and one strike when] Babe took that magnificent swing, . . . missed, . . . staggered--and went down. He had literally swung himself off his feet. . . .

"Finally, regaining his feet, the Bambino brushed the dust off his trousers, dried his hands, and got set for the next pitch. [The great left-handed pitcher Bob] Grove delivered the ball so fast, none of the fans saw it. Babe swung—but this time he connected! It was only a split second before everybody seemed to realize what had happened. That ball was never coming back again!

"It disappeared over the scoreboard and cleared the houses across the street--one of the longest hits ever made in baseball.

"As Babe Ruth trotted around the bases and across the plate behind the other runners--with what proved to be the winning run--he received a wild ovation from the crowd. . . .

"In 1915, Ty Cobb set up the astonishing . . . record of stealing 96 bases*. In 1922, seven years later, Max Carey of the Pittsburgh Pirates set the second-best record, 51 stolen bases**. Does this mean that Cobb was twice as good as Carey, his closest rival? I’ll let you decide.

"Here are the facts:

134 Attempts
38 Failed
96 Succeeded
71% Average

53 Attempts
2 Failed
51 Succeeded
96% Average

"We find that Carey’s average was much better than Cobb’s, but Cobb . . . goes down in history as the greatest base-runner of all time***. . . .

"[W]e now read of the amazing record of the immortal Babe Ruth, with his unapproached total of 714 home runs****; but another unapproached world’s record of his is carefully buried in the records, never to be mentioned--striking out more times than any other player in history. He failed 1,330 times*****! One thousand three hundred and thirty times he suffered the humiliation of walking back to the bench amidst jeers and ridicule. . . .

"[But n]obody will remember the times you struck out in the early innings if you hit a home run with the bases full in the ninth."

My point?

Clearly, we shouldn't IGNORE efficiency; it can reveal interesting and, quite possibly, essential information. BUT . . . I think we need to keep in mind that sometimes it is good to underwrite those who are willing to take the risks (and, possibly, suffer "lower efficiency") in order to achieve the goal we really want to attain.

Today, Carey is neither remembered nor applauded; no one cares about his astonishingly high EFFICIENCY in stealing bases. Rather, Cobb is remembered for his astonishing EFFECTIVENESS in stealing bases.

Similarly, Ruth isn’t remembered for his relatively bad strikeout percentage. Instead, he is remembered for his prodigious homerun production.

* Cobb’s modern baseball record has since been surpassed nine times: by Maury Wills (104 bases in 1962), Lou Brock (118 bases in 1974), Ron LeFlore (97 in 1980), Rickey Henderson (100, 1980; 130, 1982 [current modern baseball record]; 108, 1983), and Vince Coleman (110, 1985; 107, 1986; 109, 1987).

** I don’t know how or why Bettger makes this claim about Carey. There are many people who have stolen more than 51 bases in a season.

*** No question Cobb was a great and exciting baserunner. But there are others who might press him for the title. --Just one astonishing Cobb statistic, however: he stole home 54 times during his career! And he stole second base, third base, and home plate during the same inning four times during his career!

**** Of course, The Babe has been surpassed, now, by Hank Aaron and the infamous Barry Bonds.

***** The Babe has also been surpassed by 70 other men since Bettger’s book was written! Indeed, according to an All-Star spreadsheet I consulted, Reggie Jackson holds the career strikeout record: 2,597--almost twice Babe Ruth’s and some 661 more than his next closest All-Star rival, Willie Stargell. Indeed, among the All-Stars, Bobby Bonds, Lou Brock, Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Rank Robinson, Willie Mays, Carl Yastrzemski, and Hank Aaron also have all produced more strikeouts than did Babe Ruth. But I don’t think many of us remember these men for their strikeouts. It was other aspects of their game--most of them, in fact, their remarkable hitting ability--for which we remember them. (See also for the "complete" Strikeout story.)

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