To read this content please select one of the options below:

Going global: the historical contingency of baseball hall of famer developmental networks

Richard D. Cotton (Walker College of Business, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 14 June 2013




The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the changing of institutional logics in an established field shapes the developmental networks of high‐achievers.


This research combines time series analysis of more than 80 years of historical data (1922‐2004) with qualitative analysis of induction speeches of 99 hall of fame players from the same period.


Findings indicate that a change in field logics from a more staid “insular” logic to a market or more business‐oriented logic coincided with changes in key players' developmental networks. In particular, the key players' self‐identified developmental relationships become both more numerous and more diverse in nature. Results of the time series analysis connect the shift in logic with the late 1950s which was an important time in Major League Baseball's history. It was during this period that, for the first time, each team had at least one African American player on their roster and each team had an average of at least one full‐time scout based in a country outside the USA – both indicators of MLB's increasingly global search for talent.

Research limitations/implications

The study focuses on extraordinary career performers (versus all performers) in an all‐male professional sport where the nature of the sport and the number of organizations remains relatively stable over time.

Practical implications

These findings show how changes to industry level logics can affect individual level changes in mentoring and developmental networks. In particular, they demonstrate how organizations can create and remove potential developer roles as their respective logics change from era to era.


This is the first known study to explore the effect of macro level changes on mentoring and developmental networks at the individual level.



Cotton, R.D. (2013), "Going global: the historical contingency of baseball hall of famer developmental networks", Career Development International, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 281-304.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles