Rick Wolfe’s resume is almost as long as a major league roster, and his various professions are tied together by his adoration of sports and interest in sports psychology.
He was a professional baseball player, college baseball coach, author of books on sports psychology, and editor and publisher of books on athletes (and business figures) such as Tiger Woods.
In the early 1990s, he became the psychology coach for the Cleveland baseball team now known as the Guardians, helping them rise from the American League academy to regular pennant contenders. And for 25 years he hosted .sports edgeis a New York sports station, WFAN, dedicated to helping families navigate the increasingly competitive world of youth sports.
His final episode, which dealt with whether his children were losing interest in youth sports, aired on April 10, two weeks before his death, at his home in Armonk, Westchester County, New York. he was 71 years old. His son John said the cause was a brain tumor.
Mr. Wolf began his quarter-century at WFAN after completing a stint as an itinerant psychology coach in Cleveland. It was hereditary to become a broadcast writer. His father, Bob Wolfe, was a radio and television sportscaster for nearly 80 years, the longest of any. Guinness World Records.
Across hundreds of Sunday morning episodes, Rick Wolf tackles heavy topics about youth sports like haze, the impact of social media and concussion risk, as well as lighter topics like chewing big league bubblegum. also worked.
The motif is the misdeeds of overly competitive parents and the mental health of young athletes. In last year’s introductory episode of sports psychology, Wolff said sending children to a game unprepared is “just like taking a big test at school.” , the children are not really studying or preparing.” for that exam. “
His psychological acumen was forged in the melting pot of Major League Baseball.
He began playing for Cleveland in 1990 when the team was in the longest playoff drought in major league history — Cleveland hadn’t made the postseason since 1954.
Cleveland was so infamous for losing that the fantastically doomed team was central to the 1989 film comedy. “Major League.”
Wolfe has worked with many young players in the Cleveland system, including future stars such as Albert Bell, Manny Ramirez and Jim Tohm in the early 1990s.
He often accompanied Cleveland and its minor league teams, and had a dedicated home phone line that players could call him at any time. He was there to listen to them, even as they dealt with batting slump, pregame anxiety and anger issues.
His counseling approach included visualization techniques, muscle memory, and encouraging players to face failure. He had some unconventional views. For example, he argued that setting overly ambitious goals can be paralyzing rather than motivating, and that pre-match anxiety is often accepted as a normal part of sport.
On last year’s program, Wolfe said sports psychology was rare in baseball, but Cleveland players “take the mental side of the game seriously” and within a few years they will be “a powerhouse in the American League.” ‘, he said.
The idea has gained popularity: “It’s rare these days to find a sports team, professional or university organization that doesn’t have at least one sports psychologist on staff,” he added.
As editor for various publishers, Mr. Wolff has written books such as Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad (1997) and General Electric CEO Jack Welch’s Jack: Straight from the Gut (2001). Year). He also bought a number of sports books, including Roger Angel’s A Pitcher’s Story: Innings With David Cone and Tiger Woods’ How I Play Golf.
As an author, he is the author of Sports Psychology Secrets Revealed: Proven Techniques to Improve Performance (2018) and The Harvard Boys: The Adventures of a Father and Son Playing Minor League Baseball (2007). I have written books such as with John Wolfe.
Richard Hugh Wolfe was born on July 14, 1951 in Washington. His mother, Jane (Hoy) Wolfe, was a nurse in the Navy, but she became a homemaker. His father was the voice of the Washington Senator at the time.
In 1961, the senators moved to Minnesota, where they became the Twins, and the Wolfe family eventually moved to Edgemont, Westchester County, New York, where Wolfe grew up. He played baseball and football at Edgemont High School, graduating in 1969 and attending Harvard University.
As an infielder playing for Harvard, he began searching for a mental edge, but found little information on sports psychology. Over time, he applied visualization techniques advanced by surgeon Maxwell Maltz in his book Psycho-Cybernetics.
The Detroit Tigers selected Wolfe late in the 1972 amateur draft and, while earning a BA in psychology from Harvard, played in the Tigers’ minor league system in 1973 and 1974.
After playing in the minors, Wolff became editor-in-chief of the Alexander Hamilton Institute. The Institute is now a defunct organization that published educational materials on business and management. He continued in that position after becoming the head coach of baseball. Mercy University He coached there until 1985, leading the team to a record of 114-81-3.
In 1982 he married Patricia Varvaro, with whom he survived. In addition to her and his son, he has two surviving daughters, Alyssa Wolfe and Samantha O’Connor. Brother Dr. Robert Wolfe. Sister Margie Clarke. and three grandchildren.
Mr. Wolf received a master’s degree in psychology from Long Island University in 1985. His book The Psychology of Winning Baseball: A Coach’s Handbook (1986) caught the attention of Harvey Dorfman, his athletics psychology coach and one of his baseball players. . First time in major league. He called Wolff and told him that another team was looking for a psychologist. After talking to several teams, Wolf chose Cleveland.
He bonded with the Cleveland players by wearing team uniforms and practicing together.
At the time, his playing career was more recent than the young players he counseled thought, just the year before. He appeared in three games (4-for-7) for the South Bend, Indiana, White Sox of the Midwest League in 1989 at age 38, an experience he wrote about. sports illustrated.
His South Bend teammates were wary of him until he hit a ground ball in their first game together and shorted the dribbler. After the game, he wrote, a pitcher asked him, “Tell me, Rick, you knew him, but what was Babe Ruth like?”
With that little rib Mr. Wolf knew he had succeeded. “I was the target of an outdated treatment of ultimate acceptance in baseball.”