A look back at 150 years of baseball – and lessons in leadership
INDIANAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–What do Purdue University and Major League Baseball have in common?
In 2019, both institutions will celebrate their 150th
anniversaries, and a pair of professors affiliated with Purdue are
marking these dual sesquicentennials by introducing a six-week online
course that promises to serve as a virtual management game plan for
leadership outside the locker room – and potentially in the boardroom.
The course chronicles 150 years of baseball history as seen through the
changing lens of business management, including economic changes through
two world wars; advancements in gender, race and labor relations;
marketing; leadership; technology; and the use of Big Data in
The course curriculum was developed by Prof. Rebecca Herman, a baseball
author and faculty member with Purdue University Global’s School
of Business and Information
Technology, and Prof. Randy Roberts, a 150th Anniversary
Professor and Distinguished Professor of History at Purdue
University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The course debuts online in
March, beginning as an exclusive offering to Purdue Alumni Association
members. More than 700 people already have enrolled in the course.
“We want people who have never taken an online course to experience one,
and this particular experience unites people in their love of baseball,”
said Herman, a baseball enthusiast whose grandmother played professional
women’s baseball during World War II. “The virtual classroom is a place
of ideas, conversation, questions and discovery and, throughout its
history, baseball has been enmeshed in almost every important societal
or economic trend and change. It offers a fantastic environment for
lessons in business and management.”
Purdue Alumni Association members who register in the noncredit,
six-week class will spend roughly three to five hours a week on
course-related activities, including a weekly live seminar, readings,
discussion and video messages from noted baseball leaders.
“The course will offer a historical perspective of how baseball has been
a reflection of American history, whether it’s race relations, labor
relations or entertainment,” Roberts said. “It will examine the role
baseball has played and how baseball has changed and evolved as America
has changed and evolved.”
Herman pointed out that the course was developed with the support of
Major League Baseball and was featured as part of Purdue Global’s
offerings at the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas in December. She said
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been incredibly helpful in providing
resources such as John Thorn, MLB’s official historian, who has reviewed
course content and was interviewed for the Distinguished Leaders Video
Given the tiny fraction of baseball players who reach the professional
level and even fewer who make the jump to the major leagues, Purdue
University Global presents a convenient online option that offers them a
quality, highly personalized education that can provide a competitive
edge to advance in an alternate career path.
“Highly competitive jobs in professional coaching, broadcasting and the
front office often strongly recommend or require a college degree,” said
Herman, a Purdue Global faculty member since 2005. “The lessons of
baseball in areas like diversity and race relations, management and
labor relations, and data analytics and decision sciences are incredibly
relevant in today’s work environment. We explore all of these topics in
For more information about the course, visit the Purdue Alumni
Association website at www.purduealumni.org/alumniu.
About Rebecca Herman
Rebecca Herman, Ph.D, is an organizational culture expert, best-selling
author, professional speaker, leadership consultant, and baseball
researcher and writer. She loves to work with people and organizations
to help them achieve their fullest potential and wants to help people
become a major league leaders.
Dr. Herman is a graduate business professor of leadership and
organizational development for Purdue University Global. Prior to her
academic appointment, Dr. Herman enjoyed a successful career as a leader
in human resources for over two decades.
She is co-author of “Lead Me Out to the Ballgame,” a leadership book
based on two years of interviews with over 100 people in Major League
Baseball. She frequently blogs about the San Diego Padres as co-founder
of Padre360 and also discusses all things baseball as TheBaseballPHD.
She is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi fraternity with over 30 years of
volunteer service and most recently as international vice president on
the Executive Board.
Dr. Herman earned her undergraduate degree from the University of
Evansville and earned her Ph.D. in Organization and Management from
Capella University. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human
About Randy Roberts
Randy Roberts, 150th Anniversary Professor and Distinguished
Professor of History at Purdue University, was the 2015-16 Charles Boal
Ewing Chair of Military History at West Point. In addition to winning
the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Teaching Award at Purdue University
and twice receiving Teacher of the Year in the School of Liberal Arts,
he won the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Indiana
Professor of the Year.
He specializes in teaching military history – including courses on World
War I and World War II – sports history and popular culture.
Roberts is also an award-winning, best-selling author. He has won
several national book awards. His book, coauthored with Johnny Smith, is Blood
Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X,
which received featured reviews in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall
Street Journal, the New York Times, the London Times,
the National Review, and other newspapers and magazines. His most
recent book coauthored with Johnny Smith is A Season in the Sun: The
Rise of Mickey Mantle.
About Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global is the extreme personalization online
university, providing students the competitive edge to advance in
their chosen careers. It offers a hyper-tailored path for students to
earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on
their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college
credits and other considerations — no matter where they are in their
Purdue Global serves approximately 29,000 students, most of whom earn
their degree online. It also operates 14 locations in Indiana, Iowa,
Nebraska, Maryland, Maine, Missouri and Wisconsin. Purdue Global is a
nonprofit, public university accredited by The Higher Learning
Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship
institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West
Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates two regional
campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest, Indiana, as well as serving close
to 6,000 science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana
University-Purdue University (IUPUI) Indianapolis campus.
For more information about Purdue Global, please visit www.PurdueGlobal.edu.
Greg Ten Eyck