In college, Dan McMurtrie was a devastating pitcher. He went 28-1, but had to learn how to throw in a completely new way after he got injured. He accomplished this in much the same way The Karate Kid learned to fight.
Dan’s “Mr. Miyagi” was a long-term relief pitcher in the major leagues named Mike Marshall, who baseball fans will remember as “Iron Mike.” Mike Marshall was not just a great relief pitcher; he was also a Doctor of Kinesiology who believed there was a way to throw a baseball that would eliminate elbow injuries and allow major league pitchers to play with no days off. And he proved it. In most seasons, Mike Marshall pitched more innings than starting pitchers did. He would often pitch in a dozen consecutive games, something that would never happen today. His work ethic and his endurance were simply unexampled, and he went on to become the first National League relief pitcher to win a Cy Young Award. Anyway, after six months of “waxing on” and “waxing off” with Mike Marshall, Dan McMurtrie had a 98 MPH fastball with pinpoint accuracy, and wound-up pitching in the Mets organization for several years.
I invited Dan on the podcast to talk about Mike Marshall, who died not too long ago, and about the many challenges of reinventing yourself. I also wanted to hear a few real-life Bull Durham stories, which he was happy to share. But mostly, I wanted to discuss Dan’s ongoing attempts to save the restaurant industry. After his baseball career ended, Dan got into the food and beverage business, and wound up building a portfolio of seventy restaurants. He’s done well. Since then, he’s been focused on creating a software solution to help independent restaurateurs stay in business. That was pre-covid, when running a restaurant was already difficult. Now, thanks to inflation, a broken supply chain, and a shrinking workforce, independent restaurants are going out of business faster than ever before. Over a hundred thousand in the last year alone, and it’s only going to get worse in the coming year. Dan is on a mission to change that, and after seeing what he’s built, I think he just might do it.
To sum up, if you share my affection for baseball, hard work, Bull Durham, entrepreneurship, reinvention, Ma-and-Pa restaurants, and the joy of chewing and swallowing things, this is the conversation for you.