Joining the ranks of the politicians and influential figures that had addressed the school in years past, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein delivered a stirring address at Yale’s annual Class Day on Sunday.

Epstein, a graduate of the school in 1995, recounted the Cubs’ monumental victory in Game 7 of the World Series, and he packaged the story of that evening in Cleveland with some life lessons for the graduates of the venerable school.

“We were winners that night in Cleveland because when things went really, really wrong, our players knew each other so well that they could come together,” he said. “They trusted each other so much that they could open up and be vulnerable.”

Epstein’s speech begins at the 14-minute mark of the video: 

Epstein also added his own brand of levity to the proceedings, shouting out his old college haunts and getting in a few select jabs at President Donald Trump, but the crux of his message was one of leadership and in pursuing a common goal, something that he felt that the Cubs had been able to do in winning their first championship in 108 years.

“One day, I will tell (my sons) Jack and Drew that some players and some of us go through our careers with our heads down, focused on our craft and our tasks,” he said. “Other players and others amongst us go through our careers with our heads up, alert and aware of others, putting collective interest ahead of our own. It’s a choice.

“That choice allows us to lead, and to be part of something greater than ourselves,” he added.

Epstein, who took over as the head of the Cubs’ baseball operations department in 2011, oversaw the resurrection of a franchise that lost over 100 games in his first season at the helm, and ultimately helped to end the longest drought in professional sports when the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.

In spite of his reputation as a numbers geek, Epstein emphasized the power of empathy, compassion, and human interaction in his speech to the graduating class at Yale.

“Even though so much can be quantified these days, the most important things cannot be,” he said. “When things go really, really wrong, and then when it rains on top of everything else, I ask you to choose to keep your heads up and come together.”

Yale’s annual Class Day is an informal event before the more formal commencement exercises, which will take place on Monday. Other luminaries have addressed students in the past, including former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Published 4 hours ago | Updated 3 hours ago

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