Head baseball coach and former German national team coach Greg Frady will be the first American elected into the German Baseball Hall of Fame.
When Greg Frady was invited to lunch with members of the German parliament at the Reichstag building in Berlin last spring, a bundle of nerves went with him. However, Frady wasn’t feeling pressured about representing the United States in the way you might expect.
“I wasn’t nervous about meeting the politicians,” he said, “it was about knowing which spoon to eat with.”
Frady calls that luncheon, where he was honored for his 12 years as head coach and general manager of the German national baseball team, one of the most memorable experiences of his career. This summer, Frady will become the German Baseball Hall of Fame’s first American inductee and just the 12th overall.
Prior to his arrival, the Germans were foundering in international competition. The team was invited to play in the 2003 European championship, lost every game, and at that point had never finished higher than seventh place in a European competition. Today, they’re ranked 17th in the world and have sent two players to the major leagues in the U.S.
Although Frady was the architect of that turnaround, the recognition caught him off guard.
“It was a big surprise to me, to be honest,” he said. Frady became an expert at balancing his family life with his two positions on opposite hemispheres. Frady’s family spent summers in Germany when his children’s schools were on break, and Frady would often appear to both his baseball teams via satellite. The cross-cultural coaching experiences in Germany have definitely changed the way Frady approaches baseball, he said.
“I started with young men who were 18 years old and [was] still coaching them when they were 30,” he said. “You see them transition from young adults to fathers and real leaders. They became a lot like family to me.”
He gives his experience in Germany credit for making him more patient and open-minded with his team at Georgia
State. He even managed to scout and recruit players from his time in Germany to play for the Panthers.
“As a coach, I was able to bring back theories, ideas, concepts, information and opportunities to grow my own players so that they would have better opportunities in the future,” he said.