What They Were Saying: NL Central GMs

Remember when Ed Wade was part of a new generation of GMs? It's OK if you don't since we dug up the details on Wade and the rest of his NL Central counterparts. Here's how they were perceived when they got their first GM jobs:

Doug Melvin

“When the Rangers signed Melvin to a three-year contract, they made a commitment to pitching and defense. They need it. In 1994, the Rangers finished 13th in pitching and 14th in fielding in the American League. Poor performances in those areas played a large role in their 52-62 record. Melvin said he wants a team built around pitching and defense.” – Jean-Jacques Taylor, The Dallas Morning News, October 11th, 1994

Walt Jocketty

“Walt Jocketty and his brother played baseball in the backyard when they were growing up and pretended they were St. Louis pitchers Lindy and Von McDaniel, who are brothers.

Jocketty appreciates the Cardinals' tradition. And finally he has become a general manager after interviewing for that position with Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Colorado in the past and Texas recently, only to have that job filled by Doug Melvin.” – Larry Harnly, The State Journal-Register, October 18th, 1994

Ed Wade

“Wade, bespectacled, conservatively dressed, his sandy hair precisely parted, was an efficient and loyal administrator who shouldered the contract and deadline matters his boss disliked.

But Tuesday, this 41-year-old native of Pennsylvania's coal regions who has a journalism degree from Temple moved out of [former GM Lee] Thomas' shadows. Wade was named the Phillies' acting general manager after Thomas was fired, and immediately there were questions about his readiness. Wade is the latest example of a powerful trend in the sport, one that has seen businesslike administrators replacing gritty baseball veterans as GMs.” Frank Fitzpatrick, The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 9th, 1997

Jim Hendry

“The time has come for Cubs president/general manager Andy MacPhail to delegate full authority to Jim Hendry, whose onerous title of vice president of player personnel is too cumbersome and corporate for someone as earthy and unpretentious as Hendry. GM sounds just right for him.” – Mike Kiley, The Chicago Sun-Times, June 14th, 2002 

Neal Huntington

“Neal Huntington, a former Cleveland Indians assistant general manager who was moved to a mostly scouting role two years ago, was hired Tuesday as the Pittsburgh Pirates' general manager. The 37-year-old Huntington replaces Dave Littlefield, who was fired earlier this month after failing to produce a winning season since being hired in July 2001. The Pirates are finishing up a 15th consecutive losing season, one short of the major league record, and their fifth with 90 or more losses since 2000.” – Alan Robinson, The Associated Press, September 25th, 2007 

John Mozeliak

“John Mozeliak has a Clark Kent look about him, so naturally Cardinals fans are wondering if he'll have the necessary muscle to reshape the franchise and give it a push forward, into the future. In his introductory press conference after being named the Cardinals' general manager, Mozeliak spoke calmly and in somewhat measured tones, so it was easy to miss some of the punch that went into what he said.” – Bernie Miklasz, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 1st, 2007

Leave a Reply

11 Comments on "What They Were Saying: NL Central GMs"

4 years 10 months ago

Odd to see Melvin behind a team structured around pitching and defense, after watching him sign guys like Braden Looper, Doug Davis, and Jeff Suppan…

4 years 10 months ago

Yeah, seems more like the new guys stating the obvious fixes rather than some philosophical leaning. Without looking I’d guess his teams usually have had better offensive success than either pitching or defensive success.

4 years 10 months ago

wish the brewers made a commitment to pitching and defense when they signed melvin in ’02

4 years 10 months ago

If they had, you wouldn’t have (or have had) Weeks, Braun, Fielder, CC Sabathia (via Matt LaPorta) in Milwaukee. The move away from pitching/fielding was dictated by good bats dropping in several drafts.

Free agency isn’t that easy. They tried. Failed too often, but tried to buy pitching.

4 years 10 months ago

It boggles my mind that Jim Hendry is still GM of the Cubs.

4 years 10 months ago

I look at the list of NL Central GM’s and I think I understand why the division is so bad. Walt Jocketty’s pretty good; Ed Wade is pretty good on the draft/farm side of things. The rest of them just aren’t any good. Mozeliak and Hendry always overpay for everything they sign or trade for; Huntington trades for the most part brought back mediocrity; and Melvin doesn’t seem to understand that you need pitching and defense to go with your offense.

That division is still going to suck for awhile.

4 years 10 months ago

Yea Tribune wanted to inflate the value of the team. Still he should be gone.

4 years 10 months ago

The Cubs have done more under Hendry than any other GM they’ve had in te last 100 years. You want someone to complain about? Talk about Crane Kenny.

4 years 10 months ago

The only reason why the Cubs have done more under Hendry is because he was allowed to spend like no other Cub GM. He threw money at the problems – and still couldn’t win a playoff game. Hendry has been in charge of the Cubs farm system for about 12 years (in some capacity or another) and during that time the farm system has not turned out much at all. I like the characterization of him as “earthy”. I also like the characterization of him as “over his head”.

Crane Kenny is the biggest doofus in MLB, but you can’t blame him for the team’s failures on the field – that is Hendry’s bailiwick.

4 years 10 months ago

How many innings has Hendry played? The team has a better winning percentage under his tenure than any other GM they’ve had. He’s changed the culture amongst Cubs fans. We expect a good product. Attendance barely hit 3MM this year. Fans are upset. Hendry has made some questionable trades and signings, but he’s done more good than bad.

4 years 10 months ago

You ever hear the expression “you can’t fall off the floor”? Of course, following in the footsteps of the legendary Ed Flynch and Andy MacFail, Hendry seems to have done a better job than those two mopes. But aside from taking on unwanted salaries from small market teams in the D. Lee and Siesta Ramirez trades, what else has he really done other than spend a TON of cash? He has been with the team since 1995 as Director of Scouting, Head of Player Development, Head of the Minor League System. And since 1995 – just what has that farm system produced? For the past 15 years, look at what his stewardship has produced? Not a lot. The last couple of seasons have been OK – but that is largely the result of Hendry giving the responsibility to Wilken.

Look at the payroll. The team is a mess and won’t get any better until the Soriano and Zambrano contracts come off the book in 3 years. This is a poorly put together team, with no leadership or accountability. And all three of those things have to start at the top – which is Hendry. And he has failed to provide any of them. That is why the team blows.

Hendry is perhaps the most decent guy in MLB. But he is in WAY over his head here, and has been for some time.