What They Were Saying Rumors
The NL West has a few of baseball's longest-tenured general managers and one of the game's newest. Here's what they were saying about the group back when they got their first GM jobs:
“Hoyer, 35, clearly is among the new generation of young general managers who put a great deal of stock in statistics and quantitative analysis, but he's also said to place an equal emphasis on scouting. Perhaps most importantly, he has experience as an assistant GM under baseball's true Boy Wonder, Red Sox ramrod Theo Epstein.” - Chris Jenkins, The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 25th, 2009
“Colletti, 50, has a reputation of being an old-school executive, having learned the trade under hard-bitten Giant General Manager Brian Sabean. [Former Dodgers GM Paul] DePodesta, 32, represented the trend of young Ivy League-educated executives who are making their way into front offices.” - Steve Henson, The Los Angeles Times, November 16th, 2005
“O'Dowd, 41, oversaw the Indians' farm department from 1988 to 1992 and spent six years as the Indians director of baseball operations and assistant general manager. He renounced the final four years of a five-year, $1.5MM contract a year ago to pursue a general manager's job, initially interviewing but coming up short in Baltimore, the organization he worked in for five years before moving to Cleveland.” - Tracy Ringolsby, The Rocky Mountain News, September 21st, 1999
“Sabean emphatically said he will have the final say in all baseball matters, which will start this week with the expected changes in the coaching staff after a series of meetings with Manager Dusty Baker. Sabean was hired by [former GM Bob] Quinn as an assistant G.M. and director of scouting and player personnel and made such an impression in rebuilding the Giants' farm system that three teams sought permission to interview him as a G.M., [Managing General Partner Peter] Magowan said.” - Mark Gonzales, The San Jose Mercury News, October 1st, 1996
“Bright, personable and a Padre through and through - he was the organization's first-round draft choice in 1982 - Towers looks like a good hire. Any time you believe you have the right prospect in-house, it cuts down considerably on the education process. Kevin knows this organization - and what's needed - as well as anybody. And Towers is a former pitcher. You can talk all you want, but spotting good young arms is what makes a successful general manager.” Nick Canepa - The San Diego Union-Tribune, November 18th, 1995
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:
“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 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
“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
“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, 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 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
Three of the National League East general managers got their start in the Expos/Nationals organization. Two of the GMs began their careers with the unenviable task of following up Pat Gillick. Here's how the five NL East GMs were perceived when they landed their first permanent general manager jobs.
Note that Beinfest was interim GM of the Expos before landing a permanent job with the Marlins and that I looked back at Omar Minaya since the Mets don’t have a GM.
“When he was a kid, Mike Rizzo wanted a job in the majors. As a player, not an executive. When it was clear that wasn't going to happen, when he was released after a four-year stint as an infielder in the minors with the California Angels organization in the early 1980s, the question was: What now?
Rizzo sat down for a talk with his father, a baseball scout whose advice was to stick with the sport, but to switch his focus.
‘He said, 'Mike, you could be a minor league bum your whole life. You're not going to play in the big leagues. You're not talented enough for that,'’ Rizzo recalled Thursday.
Instead, Dad suggested, be a scout, coach, manager or general manager.” - Howard Fendrich, The Associated Press, August 21st, 2009
Ruben Amaro Jr.
“Amaro seemingly was groomed for the GM's job since he joined the front office. Son of Ruben Amaro Sr., a former shortstop and coach for the Phillies, the younger Amaro was involved in contract negotiations with players on the 40-man roster, as well as with free agents.” - The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 3rd, 2008. Amaro replaced Gillick as Phillies GM.
“The man the Marlins introduced as their new general manager Thursday at Pro Player Stadium was wearing a crisp navy suit. It might as well have been a slick cellophane wrapper. Larry Beinfest looks Wonder bread fresh. He's wholesome enough to be chewed up and spit out by baseball's ravenous carnivores.
It's hard to imagine Beinfest - so prim, trim and brimming with enthusiasm - doing lunch with baseball's uber agents. Being lunch, maybe. Yes, it's easy to picture Scott Boras or Jeff Moorad picking pieces of Beinfest out of their teeth.
The 37-year-old could pass for the Marlins' new senior staff accountant. Listening to Beinfest talk, you'd never guess that he's Dave Dombrowski's successor.
A friend of Beinfest who lives in L.A. called him the other day and asked what kind of general manager he plans to be. A typhoon, blowing in and making wholesale changes? A tinkerer?
‘I don't know," came Beinfest's honest reply. "I haven't done it before.’
You sigh. You're sure the truth shall set the Marlins reeling.” - Karen Crouse, The Palm Beach Post, February 15th, 2002
“Omar Minaya always has made it a practice to see hidden possibilities. Once, when he was a scout, he saw something in a small, inexperienced, 16-year-old who had an awkwardly long swing and a cut-off milk carton for a glove. Yes, Minaya was the one who signed Sammy Sosa.
By the same token, Minaya has decided to leave the security of his comfortable job with his hometown Mets to be general manager of the Montreal Expos, who might not exist this time next year. He officially accepted his new post yesterday, confident of the possibilities for his own career and for other people.
The 43-year-old became the first Hispanic general manager in baseball history.” - Mark Herrmann and Steve Zipay, Newsday, February 13th, 2002.
“A former minor-league outfielder, coach and assistant scouting director in the Montreal Expos' organization, Wren served under Marlins GM Dave Dombrowski for seven years. According to Foss, Wren had the most impressive resume of scouting, which includes a specialty in Latin America, as well as computer expertise, to win a competition that also included Chicago White Sox assistant Dan Evans, Cleveland Indians assistant Dan O'Dowd and Atlanta Braves assistant Dean Taylor.” - Kevin Seifert, The Washington Times, October 24th, 1998. Wren replaced Gillick as Orioles GM.
Billy Beane may be the best-known general manager in baseball, but that wasn’t the case when he replaced Sandy Alderson in 1997. Here’s how Beane was presented to fans back when he was promoted to his current position, plus notes on his three AL West counterparts (click here to see what they were saying about AL East GMs and here to see what they were saying about AL Central GMs):
“Jack Zduriencik, who has made his baseball reputation as a scouting guru, was asked Friday to give a scouting report on his own administrative style.
‘I'm a 24/7 guy,’ he replied. ‘I'm a little no-nonsense. I like to get right down to it; there's a job to be done here, let's not waste each other's time. I like decisions.’" - Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, October 25th, 2008
“While the promotion of Reagins keeps the Angels' hierarchy largely intact, it does elevate an inexperienced hand to the critical position of general manager. Though he has spent 16 years in the Angels' organization, Reagins' only experience in negotiating contracts has been in dealing with minor-league free agents.” - Bill Plunkett, The Orange County Register, October 17th, 2007
“Daniels' Queens upbringing comes off as rather normal, with no hints of his blazing career path. Following his mother's example, he grew up a Mets fan, first in Fresh Meadows, then in Bayside; it was the mid-'80s, and everyone around him cheered on Davey Johnson and his wild players as the pitching-poor Yankees couldn't make the playoffs. He attended P.S. 26, and before seventh grade, he was accepted into an academically gifted program run by Hunter College on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
‘It was kind of a quick learning process,’ recalled Jon Daniels, ‘to go from a mama's boy from Queens to having a little more court awareness.’- Ken Davidoff, Newsday, November 25th, 2005
“One of three first-round picks by the Mets in 1980, Beane, an infielder/outfielder, had a six-year major- league career with the Mets, Tigers, Twins and A's.
‘This is something that since I was 18, I've looked forward to doing,’ said Beane. ‘I've wanted to run a ball club.’
And Beane knows he has some work ahead of him. The A's finished 65-97, the worst record in baseball.” - David Bush, The San Francisco Chronicle, October 18th, 1997
Ever wonder how Dave Dombrowski was perceived before he ran the Marlins and long before he ran the Tigers? Keep on reading to see how he and the rest of the American League Central General Managers were described when they were hired as GMs for the first time (and click here to read about some top AL East execs):
“Back when he was an unpaid Montreal Expos intern, pocketing 25 cents per ice cream cone sold at Florida State League games, Chris Antonetti understood the value of seeing a plan to its fruition. At least, you'd have to assume he did.
"Because how else would you explain someone who had recently completed the University of Massachusetts sports management graduate program hawking Drumsticks in the 100-degree heat for a little cash on the side?” - Anthony Castrovince, MLB.com, April 13th, 2010
“Now 39, well-dressed, with a graying brush cut, Moore is serious about building a team in the manner of his mentor with the Braves, John Schuerholz, who ideally had three or four homegrown players competing each season for major league roster spots. Moore wants to develop the type of prospects who, if necessary, can be dealt for established major leaguers, as the Braves did last year.” - Richard Sandomir, The New York Times, June 25th, 2006
“Bill Smith didn't play the game and learn to scout it like [former Twins GM] Terry Ryan. His beginning as a baseball executive began in a non-traditional way. When Smith was finishing at Hamilton College in upstate New York, the winter meetings were being held nearby in Toronto. Professors were skeptical about him skipping his last classes, but he wanted a job in the sport ... The son of a Coast Guard officer, a native of New Hampshire, and a French major at Hamilton, Smith fit that bill with a background he called a 'little bit off the wall.'" - Dave Campbell, The Associated Press, September 14th, 2007
"Don't expect the 36-year-old Williams - formerly the White Sox' minor-league director - to go into the [approaching team] meetings with a wheel-and-deal mentality ... 'I really needed to get a handle on things at the organizational meetings because I've been so absorbed with the minor-league system,' Williams said.” - Scot Gregor, The Chicago Daily Herald, November 2nd, 2000
“In Montreal, the new boss is the same age or younger than five of his Expo players, and folks are more than a trifle puzzled. David Mark Dombrowski is 31.
"Cherub-faced, he looks younger. Buck Rodgers, the Expos' manager, was in Double A ball before his new boss was born. More than a few of Dombrowski's fellow general managers in the major leagues could pass for his grandfather. Beaver Cleaver, for crying out loud, is older than Dombrowski.
"So, folks wonder, who is this young whippersnapper and how is it that he can become the general manager of a major-league baseball club before his 32nd birthday? Well, it helped Dombrowski that he has an aggressive-but-amicable personality, good baseball acumen and a slick ability to pass himself off as someone who has spent 31 years in administration rather than 31 years on earth. It helped that he was the recipient of a break several years ago from the late Bill Veeck.
"And it helped that he was in the right place at the right time, a much-needed antithesis to the drab, ineffective Bill Stoneman, whom he replaced last week as the Expos' man in charge of player-related matters.” - Marty York, The Globe & Mail, July 16, 1988
The American League East has its share of well-established general managers, but these executives were once fresh-faced up and comers. Andy MacPhail, Brian Cashman, Theo Epstein, Andrew Friedman and Alex Anthopoulos are now at different stages in their careers, but they were all relatively young when they took over teams for the first time. Here's how those five GMs were described at the time of their first GM gigs:
“Two hours into the conversation and Alex Anthopoulos has barely taken a breath. He is that excited, that engaging, that much the chatterbox, that wide-eyed, that ready to take on the world and Blue Jays baseball.” - Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun, October 8th, 2009
Friedman is “the cherubic-faced 29-year-old general manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays ... scanning his BlackBerry for trade offers and checking pitch counts.” - Landon Thomas Jr., The New York Times, April 2, 2006
“The trappings of power mean little to him; what happens on the field is what counts. This is a young man in a hurry, and the fans are sure to be right at his heels.” - Bella English, The Boston Globe, December 5th, 2002
“Cashman, the new general manager of the Yankees, an affable 30-year-old with thinning brown hair and glasses, is accustomed to the dreary 18-hour days and to George Steinbrenner's yelping. Cashman, a strong negotiator and savvy administrator who admitted that evaluating talent is not his strength, confronts a position that Joe Torre calls the most arduous in baseball.” - Jack Curry, The New York Times, Feburary 4th, 1998
MacPhail is “the son of former American League president and current president of the Player Relations Committee Lee MacPhail.” - United Press International, July 19, 1985