RIP Lance Ringhaver, Tampa Bay business and baseball leader BOOK EXCERPT

Lance Ringhaver, Ring Power, Tampa Bay Baseball Group, Stadium For Rent, by Bob Andelman
Lance Ringhaver

(Lance Ringhaver, a prominent Tampa Bay businessman and once a member of the Tampa Bay Baseball Group, died in a car accident on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. I profiled him in my 1993 book, Stadium For Rent: Tampa Bay’s Quest for Major League Baseball, and share that excerpt below. You can read more about him in this Tampa Bay Times story. Rest in peace, Lance.)

Truck dealer Lance Ringhaver once told auto dealer Frank Morsani that if the Tampa Bay Baseball Group ever had room for one more person, or if Frank Morsani ever needed another investor, please call.

In 1990, Morsani called.

“He said he had asked several people and he had an opening,” Ringhaver says. “Mark Bostick had been invited and since I knew Mark, maybe I’d join up, too.”

Ringhaver, an enthusiastic sports booster at his alma mater, the University of Florida, was a baseball fan from way back. He first tasted the game as a bat boy on his father’s company ball team and later played in the Pee Wee League. As he grew up, he loved to watch the game.

In 1961, Ringhaver and his father started Ring Power Corp. in St. Augustine, Florida. The company started as the Caterpillar engine franchise for North and Central Florida, growing to cover 44 of Florida’s 67 counties. Lance Ringhaver became president of the heavy equipment company in 1976 and later added the title of chairman of the board. He operates Ringhaver Equipment Co.’s Central Florida companies out of Tampa and his brother Randal oversees North Florida operations of Ring Power in Jacksonville. Annual sales reached $400-million in 1990.

When the potential to own a piece of a major league franchise arose, it sounded too good to be true. “I initially thought it was fairly profitable,” he says. “Reading about George Steinbrenner, the Yankees, his television contract, it was a pretty picture.”

Ringhaver and the Bostick family were friends over two generations. Ringhaver met Morsani almost as soon as the car dealer came to town. Morsani was easy to know in the community. They also shared a love of the soil and engines. Morsani’s career made him one of Tampa Bay’s leading dealers of new cars; Ringhaver was one of the state’s largest sellers of Caterpillar earth-moving vehicles.
“I liked Lance,” Morsani says. “He was a very genuine guy. No big flair—just get the job done.”

To Be Frank: Building the American Dream in Business and Life by Frank Morsani with Dave Scheiber
To Be Frank: Building the American Dream in Business and Life by Frank Morsani with Dave Scheiber. Order your copy now by clicking on the book cover above.

The deal Morsani proposed to Ringhaver and Bostick all but cut out his original gang at the TBBG. The new guys would become the majority investors in pursuing an expansion franchise, each taking a 45 percent interest. “They both felt they could handle whatever the figure was. I never got into their finances. I never saw their financial statements,” Morsani says.

“We’d both have gone to the bank,” Ringhaver says of himself and Bostick. “We didn’t have it sitting around. There’s no doubt we’d be pretty well going into hock individually; I’d be going to my pocket, not my company’s.”

The remaining 10 percent would be Morsani’s (less a fraction of the action for the TBBG) as compensation for the time and $2-million he already invested. The remaining $65-million of the expansion fee would be raised by SunBank of Tampa Bay through a limited partnership.

“We always felt that we had to expand the ownership group,” Morsani says.

Morsani says he warned his new partners about the rocky state of his personal finances and that one of his banks might call in a loan. They knew he was in trouble and structured their partnership so that Morsani bore no responsibility for a cash investment. Morsani invited them to the table, knew his way around and possessed a decade of experience with baseball. He was worth a 10 percent stake if the partnership succeeded. Further, Ringhaver and Bostick were prepared to assume the Tampa Bay Baseball Group’s debt if they were awarded a team, greatly reducing the pressure on Morsani.

What mattered most to Ringhaver as an investor was staying in the background. Much as he loved the game, he already ran a demanding company, one that took virtually all of his time and energy, day in and day out. “I never wanted to be a major part of the team but Frank wanted to keep it small. And it was easier to make decisions without a big committee,” Ringhaver says.

The new Morsani group met two or three times a month, sometimes more. Ringhaver’s primary responsibility was to work with Bostick to develop a line of credit for the partnership. Beyond that, Bostick and Morsani handled all the baseball-related responsibilities because they had all the contacts.

Stadium For Rent: Tampa Bay's Quest for Major League Baseball, Second Edition, by Bob Andelman
Stadium For Rent: Tampa Bay’s Quest for Major League Baseball, Second Edition, by Bob Andelman. Order your copy today by clicking on the book cover above.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman

Happy Birthday to Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot!

Built From Scratch by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank with Bob Andelman
Order ‘Built From Scratch’ by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank with Bob Andelman, available from Amazon.com by clicking on the book cover above!

Happy Birthday to one of my most famous collaborators, Bernie Marcus​, co-founder of The Home Depot​ and co-author of ‘Built From Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion.”

Wish him a Happy Birthday by ordering the book in paperback! http://amzn.to/1zXGolq

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman

Bungle in the Jungle: Remembering the late Sam Hall (JUMP)

JUMP_Monthly_cover_July_1987_Sam_HallWhen the Tampa Bay Times published the obituary of Sam Hall on September 4, 2014 (he died August 11, 2014), I was reminded of a Q&A interview that Connie May Fowler–then still going by her pre-best-selling novelist name, Constance May–wrote for Jump Monthly magazine. Jump was a Tampa Bay area, city-style magazine that I published for four issues. And the Sam Hall story was on the cover of the fourth and final issue. It was a great conversation with the former Olympian, Dayton, Ohio, mayor and two-term member of the Ohio State House of Representatives who went on to be a hugely controversial figure as a self-proclaimed counter-terrorist/soldier of freedom.

The irony of the situation between Hall and Fowler was that her fame as a writer a decade later eclipsed his as a figure involved in Ronald Reagan-era Iran-Contra scandal. When Hall died, he was a little-remembered man, a footnote in geopolitical history. By contrast, Fowler today is the Oprah Winfrey endorsed author of Before Women Had Wings, How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly, and many more successful literary titles.

As a side note, before publication of this interview, Connie May and I were good friends. She kept me busy with assignments when she was editor of a regional computer newspaper, The Data Bus–where I eventually succeeded her–and when I started Jump, she conducted this interview for me for free. To be honest, Connie May absolutely hated the headlines I put on the cover, “Bungle in the Jungle: The Private Wars of Sam Hall,” and on the inside, “Send Lawyers, Guns & Money: For Soldier of Freedom Sam Hall, Happiness is a Warm Gun. Shoot, Shoot.” In my defense, I was trying to be provocative, trying to attract eyeballs, trying to stay in business.

Connie May ripped me a new one over my choice of words and hasn’t spoken to me since, although for the last few years we have been friends on Facebook, so I’m hoping she’s no longer mad and that sharing this 27 years later won’t reopen the rift. As for Hall, he made one threatening call to me about it, but nothing else happened. I suspect he gave her a load of crap about it, which set her off on me.

I’m sharing this here, now, because Hall has died and history still hasn’t definitively made up its mind about the guy. And I still think Connie May did a bang-up job dealing with this mystery wrapped inside of an Iran-Contra enigma. — Bob Andelman


JUMP_Sam_Hall_Connie_May_Fowler_July_1987_1
 

JUMP_Sam_Hall_Connie_May_Fowler_July_1987_2

 

JUMP_Sam_Hall_Connie_May_Fowler_July_1987_3

 

JUMP_Sam_Hall_Connie_May_Fowler_July_1987_4

 

JUMP_Sam_Hall_Connie_May_Fowler_July_1987_5

 

JUMP_Sam_Hall_Connie_May_Fowler_July_1987_6

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman

My latest book: Keep Your Eye on the Marshmallow! (Published 2013)

Keep Your Eye on the Marshmallow: Gain Focus and Resilience-And Come Out Ahead by Joachim de Posada and Bob Andelman
Order ‘Keep Your Eye on the Marshmallow: Gain Focus and Resilience-And Come Out Ahead’ by Joachim de Posada and Bob Andelman, available right now at a great price by clicking on the book cover above!

? Cool title, you say, but what’s it about?

Here’s the scoop:

The follow-up to the international bestsellers Don’t Gobble the Marshmallow…Ever! and Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet!

After facing many hardships and challenges, former chauffeur Arthur has come out on top, happily married and at the pinnacle of his career. But Arthur has always had a dream of starting his own business. In the face of a difficult economy and his own fears of success, Arthur begins to flounder in his new endeavor and forgets all of the principles his former boss, billionaire Jonathan Patient, taught him. Instead of delaying gratification, Arthur begins to eat his marshmallows again.

Based on the landmark Stanford University study, the marshmallow theory details the results of an experiment where children were left alone with a marshmallow and told that if they didn’t eat it they would receive an additional marshmallow in fifteen minutes. Years later, researchers discovered that the children who had chosen to wait grew up to become more successful adults than the children who had eaten their marshmallows immediately.

In Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet! and Don’t Gobble the Marshmallow…Ever!, Joachim de Posada revealed to readers that the secret to success is not merely superior intelligence or hard work, but rather the ability to delay gratification. Now, in Keep Your Eye on the Marshmallow, Posada uses the parable of Arthur’s struggles after reaching the top to teach us that adhering to the marshmallow principle is especially important in uncertain economic times. True success is more than just financial gain or recognition; it’s the ability to balance every aspect of life outside of work—including hobbies, family, and love—in order to enjoy your success, maintain long-term goals, and savor the marshmallows of life.

What’s that you say? You haven’t ordered our new book yet? Do it today! Amazon, http://amzn.to/ThzgtP, and Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/11T9mNy!

Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman, Mr. Media Interviews
Order ‘Will Eisner: A Spirited Life’ (2nd Edition) by Bob Andelman, available from Amazon.com by clicking on the book cover above!


The Party AuthorityThe Party Authority in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland!

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman

Review: The Sun (UK) gives Fans Not Customers 4 stars (of 5)

The Sun (London) review of Fans Not Customers
The Sun (London) review of “Fans Not Customers” by Vernon Hill with Bob Andelman

I was nervous when I heard yesterday today that The Sun newspaper in London (circulation: 2.385 million) would be publishing a review of “Fans Not Customers” by Vernon Hill and Bob Andelman today. But I guess I worry too much: Four out of Five Stars is a pretty good review, right?

Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman, Mr. Media Interviews
Order ‘Will Eisner: A Spirited Life’ (2nd Edition) by Bob Andelman, available from Amazon.com by clicking on the book cover above!


The Party AuthorityThe Party Authority in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland!

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2012 Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman