Back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s there were four Major League Baseball franchise relocations over the span of just seven seasons. In 1966, the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta; in 1968, the Kansas City Athletics moved to Oakland; in 1970, the Seattle Pilots move to Milwaukee to become the Milwaukee Brewers; and in 1972, the Washington Senators moved to Texas to become the Texas Rangers.
Following the Senators’ move, most baseball people assumed that another franchise would be moved to Washington, D.C. in no more than a couple of years. That seemed logical, considering the trend toward franchise moves. Besides, the last time a team left Washington (when the original Senators left in 1961 to become the Minnesota Twins), it was replaced with the expansion Senators before a single season had passed.
Well, those people appeared to be right on target in early 1974, when the San Diego Padres were on the verge of being sold and relocated to Washington. Topps even printed “Washington” instead of “San Diego” on some of the Padres player cards that year. The impending move would be baseball’s fifth franchise relocation in nine seasons. However, enter McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. He stepped in at the last minute and offered to buy the team and keep them in San Diego. Baseball owners, weary of the recent spate of franchise moves, welcomed his offer and saw to it that the team was sold to him. The move to Washington was off, as he made good on his word and kept the team in San Diego, where it remains today, years after his death.
Still, the baseball world was confident that another baseball opportunity for Washington was just around the corner. It wouldn’t be long before another franchise would be sold and relocated to Washington. They reasoned that there wouldn’t be a Ray Kroc to come along and rescue the next team that went up for sale.
No one in their wildest dreams would have guessed that it would be 33 years before Washington would get another team (when the Montreal Expos were relocated to Washington in 2005 to become the Nationals). Even more surprising was the fact that there were no baseball franchise moves at all for 32 seasons, after four of them occurred in just eight seasons. Who knew?
Even if you’re not a baseball fan, there are some lessons in here somewhere. First, trends are temporary. You never know when they will abruptly end. Second, just because a certain condition exists now doesn’t mean it will always exist. To paraphrase what they say in the investment world, past (or current) performance is no guarantee of future results. Times change. If times are good now, don’t assume they will always be. Instead, be prepared for the inevitable setbacks and downturns of life. Third, never made the mistake of assuming you’ll get another opportunity soon. Sure, opportunities may be presenting themselves to you right and left at this point in your life. But that’s no guarantee that you’ll ever get another one. Take opportunities seriously -- don’t let them slip through your fingers.