Longtime major league executive Roland Hemond passed away last night at age 92, the league announced. Hemond served as a big league general manager for more than two decades between 1970 and 1995, leading the White Sox’s and Orioles’ baseball operations departments over that time.
“Roland Hemond was one of the most respected executives that our game has ever known,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “He served the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles as general manager, was a staple of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ front office throughout their history, and also worked for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves, the California Angels, the Commissioner’s Office and USA Baseball during his exemplary career. Roland was a pivotal figure in the formation and growth of the Arizona Fall League. Most importantly, he mentored countless people in our sport and found ways to make our game stronger. Roland Hemond was a great gentleman whose contributions to our National Pastime will never be forgotten.”
In addition to his time in Chicago and Baltimore, Hemond worked in various scouting and advisory capacities throughout his career. He began his front office time with the Braves in 1951, collecting a World Series ring five years later for his role as the team’s assistant scouting director. He held that role in Milwaukee (where the Braves played from 1953-66) through 1960, then spent the next decade as the Angels’ scouting director.
By 1970, Hemond was leading the charge with the White Sox, a stint that partially overlapped with Tony La Russa’s first run as Chicago manager. His clubs won one division title over that stretch, a 1983 season that saw Chicago win 99 games but drop a four-game AL Championship Series against the Orioles. In 1986, Hemond made the jump to the commissioner’s office, a position he held for a bit more than a year before taking over baseball ops in Baltimore.
Hemond ran the O’s from 1988-95. Baltimore didn’t make a postseason appearance during Hemond’s tenure, but a few players whom his front office group had acquired (i.e. Rafael Palmeiro, Brady Anderson and Mike Mussina) played key roles on the ’96 squad that went to the ALCS. Hemond spent 1996-2000 as an executive with the D-Backs, then spent the better part of the next two decades in advisory capacities with the White Sox and Arizona before retiring in 2017.
In 2011, the Baseball Hall of Fame presented Hemond with the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. He’s one of five all time honorees (joining O’Neil himself, Joe Garagiola, Rachel Robinson and David Montgomery). Hemond was twice named the league’s Executive of the Year, winning the award in 1972 and 1989. Unsurprisingly, given his decades of experience in high-level front office positions, Hemond had personal ties to many key front office execs and coaches who continue to hold influence today — including La Russa and Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who got his start in professional baseball with the White Sox during Hemond’s tenure as Chicago GM.
MLBTR joins countless others around the game in expressing our condolences to Hemond’s family, friends and loved ones.