Helena Brewers infielder Dallas Carroll is having an outstanding season in his first year in professional baseball. He is doing so by primarily learning from his failures to elevate his play as he works toward reaching his goal of becoming a Major League baseball player.
Retired General Colin Powell once said, “success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” For many, it is not much of a challenge to work hard, be loyal, and stay persistent through difficult times. Every one of us is challenged at some point in our lives, actually on numerous occasions along the way, making it clear that we can make it through struggles as long as we don’t give up.
However, learning from failure and turning failures into success is an entirely different story. We live in a society that wants to make everyone feel like they are doing well, even if they are not. Ideas like participation trophies, not keeping score, never allowing kids to be “it” during tag, and declaring all students in a class as valedictorians are creating a group of young men and women who don’t really understand the benefits of overcoming failure.
This is tragic in many ways, because failure does a lot more than help build character. It teaches us to learn from our mistakes, to grow through our goofs, and to find alternative means so that we can be successful. This is a lesson that Helena Brewers infielder Dallas Carroll learned early on in life, and is a primary reason why no one should doubt his chances of becoming a Major League baseball player one day.
The Family Passion
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill
Dallas Carroll was born into a family that absolutely love the sport of baseball. This wasn’t just an activity that the family enjoyed. They were passionate about the sport, and it didn’t take long for that passion to develop in Dallas and his twin brother Dalton.
“It’s kind of a family thing. My whole family kind of grew up around baseball. Between my family and Little League coach it just became a passion of mine. Something that I wanted to pursue at a young age.”
While playing other sports growing up, baseball was always his first love. As he entered high school, Dallas decided that he was going to focus primarily on his game on the diamond. The decision was a wise one.
For three seasons, he played well at Taylorsville High School, but his senior season was truly off the charts. In 2012, he was named as the Deseret News Mr. Baseball and to the NHSBCA All-Region 7 Team after hitting .412 with 2-home runs. He led his school to the state tournament finals and played in the class 5A All-Star Game. It was truly a remarkable year, but only a taste of what he had to offer on the diamond.
Following His Path to Success as a Ute
Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. – Dale Carnegie
After graduating high school, both Dallas Carroll and his brother opted to attend the University of Utah. While desiring a rigorous academic curriculum that challenge them to reach their own goals, they also wanted to ensure that they had the opportunity to play in one of the most rigorous conferences in America – the Pac-12.
“That is why I chose the University of Utah, besides the education. The conference has some of best coaches in the country and the programs increase performance. It kind of shows the level of the coaching out there.”
The school offered him many great advantages which went far beyond the ability to play baseball. Dallas was not only looking for the opportunity to excel on the diamond, but also wanted the chance to grow a little while still being close to his family.
“Being in this conference the competition is great. It was close enough if I wanted to see the family I could, but it was far enough so I could get that out-of-state college feel. It was cool to be able to play in front of my family and friends and to go that route. To help the program as much as I could.”
A Delay Only Offers Another Opportunity for Dallas Carroll to Learn
Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of a greater or equal benefit. – Napoleon Hill
Dallas Carroll had primarily played the middle infield and the outfield in high school, but when he arrived at the University of Utah, the school needed a third baseman and asked their incoming freshmen if he would be willing to take up the hot corner. Given the opportunity to play every day, Dallas jumped at the opportunity and soon found himself as a key member of the Utes everyday lineup.
He started the season as the teams every day third baseman, hitting .282 with 15-runs scored and 12-RBI through the first 28 games of the season. He was having a great deal of success with the Utes, even earning Pac-12 Player of the Week Honors, the first time a player at the school had ever done so.
Unfortunately, an injury against University of Arizona would sideline him for the remainder of the season and for all of his sophomore year. After breaking his foot, it took time him to properly rehab, and so Dallas opted to redshirt his sophomore year. He was watching baseball instead of playing for the first time in nearly 15-years, but Dallas saw it as an opportunity to improve his game in other ways.
“I talked to my brother about baseball a lot and watched him play. I wanted to still be a part of the team and to help in any way that I could. It also gave me a chance to watch and learn, and I took advantage of that.”
In 2015, Dallas returned to the diamond and performed brilliantly, finishing tied for the team lead in RBI (33) and was second on the team in hits (53) and on-base percentage (.407). He led the team in stolen bases, ranking fifth in the conference with 16, and finished the season with a .283 batting average. What was most impressive was that when it really mattered Dallas delivered, hitting .446 with runners in scoring position and .382 with runners on base. He truly proved to be a clutch performer both on the field and in the classroom, earning honorable mention for the Pac-12 All-Academic Team.
In 2016, he continued to develop and improve. He was named to the Pac-12 First-Team after appearing in all 55 games for Utah. He led the team with a .409 on-base percentage and also led the team in home runs with seven. It was truly an exceptional season that included a 14-game hitting streak and he once again excelled in the classroom, earning honorable mention for the Pac-12 All-Academic Team for the second year in a row.
Coming into His Own
Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely. – Henry Ford
His senior year was about to be a different kind of season for Dallas Carroll. Because the third baseman had to sit out his sophomore year, his twin brother graduated, leaving him to play baseball without Dalton for the first time in his career. While missing that connection, he did not miss a step, earning Third-Team ABCA All-American honors and being named first-team All Pac-12.
He not only led Utah in batting average (.369), finishing fourth in the conference in that category, but was second in both slugging percentage (.591) and on-base percentage (.465). Dallas set career highs and doubles in runs scored and was one of the toughest players in the league to strike out, only doing so once every 10.4 at-bats. He set single-season highs in virtually every offensive category that season, including runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, slugging percentage, walks, and on-base percentage.
Dallas’ baseball career was about to end at the University of Utah, but he had left behind quite a legacy. He was named to the 2017 ABCA Rawlings All-West Region team, was a two-time first-team All Pac-12 honorary, earned All-Defensive team honors in the Pac-12 his senior season, and left the school with a .311 career batting average.
While he had proven himself on the diamond, Dallas had also demonstrated great success academically. His success in the classroom earned him honorable mention for the Pac-12 All-Academic Team in each of his final three years at the school.
Prior to his senior year, he’d already earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, deciding to then add a second-degree, political science, so he could remain at the school for a fifth year. Currently, he is just nine credits short of completing his second degree. The choice of a second degree also demonstrated that Dallas was in no way interested in taking the easy pathway toward anything.
“My fifth year I decided to get a political science degree. I figured if I was going back to school for another year that I would put it to good use by learning something that was useful instead of just taking some filler classes.”
Go Big or Go Home
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail. – Confucious
After graduating from the University of Utah, Dallas Carroll was selected in the ninth round of the MLB amateur draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. He had no idea that the Brewers were interested in drafting him, and was thrilled to know he would be a part of their organization.
“It was kind of a surprise because you really never know about the draft. As far as for me I didn’t really know when or where I was going to go. I love that I was selected by the Brewers. It’s close to family and friends if they want to come and see me. We make a few trips down there (to Utah), so, it’s a great fit.”
It truly has been a great fit for Dallas so far this season. In his first 25 games with the team, the Brewers prospect has hit .356 with 3-homers and 18-RBI. He is currently on a nine-game hitting streak entering Saturday night’s contest, hitting .432 during that span. He has 11-RBI and 8-runs scored during the streak.
Dallas has also afforded Helena a great deal of flexibility, playing three different infield positions this season, including first, second, and third. It is just another testament to his desire to help his team in whatever way he can.
Fully Embracing Failure
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison
What separates baseball from any other sport is the fact that this is a game of failure. The greats in the game, no matter who you are talking about, have rarely approached success at a four out of 10 rate. In fact, the vast majority of the greats have failed nearly 70 percent of the time that they came to the plate.
It is the ability to overcome failure and still thrive in the game that separates a person in A-Ball from someone in the Majors. The skill level is fairly comparable, but the attitude about failing and the mental approach to the game is what truly separates players at the various levels. Dallas Carroll is not only taking the right mental approach to failure, but he is actually embracing it, viewing it as an opportunity to improve himself as a player and as a person.
“You first have to understand that you’re going to fail and then it’s figuring out how mentally you’re going to be able to move on when you’re not doing well. We’re all going to go through rough patches. You have to remember why you got into this game in the first place knowing, that it is a game of failure, and that you have to take the positives away from the opportunity. I think it’s the failure part that some people, like myself, really enjoy. It’s the difficulty of the game that I love. I love that challenge.”
It’s not many players who will tell you that they really enjoy failure, but this is where Dallas is really understanding the game, and really understanding life as a whole. There aren’t participation trophies at this level. No one is going to make you a Major Leaguer just so you don’t feel bad. You have to be the best of the best, and embracing failure so that you can learn and succeed from it is what will likely make Dallas Carroll a Major League infielder one day.
Destiny Built at a Young Age
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure. – Abraham Lincoln
Dallas Carroll is proving to be a fairly unique young man in many senses. A player who truly grasps that failure is an opportunity to make something more of oneself. However, it’s important to understand that these are lessons that he is able to learn because, along the way, there were those who were there to lift his spirits when he failed, pick him up when he fell, and assure him that there would be better days when there seemed to be only dark clouds ahead.
“My family has been really supportive of me in everything I do. Regardless of whether it’s baseball or anything I’ve decided to do, they have been really supportive. They’ve helped guide me so I look up to my parents, my brother. They have really helped me to never get down on myself and let me know that it is ok to mess up once in a while.”
Dallas Carroll is in the position he is today because of the way he has been supported over the years, but also because he has failed to let failure be a deterrent for him. Instead, he has chosen to embrace this failure, let it be a catalyst to drive him, and be the ultimate tutor in helping to develop him into a better baseball player. Whether the Helena Brewers infielder becomes a Major League baseball player is something that only time will tell. However, one thing that can be sure is that even if he fails to achieve this goal, you can be sure that he will turn it into another great success for himself.
Featured Image Courtesy of Steve Griffin/Salt Lake Tribune
By Robert Pannier
Member of the IBWAA