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Baseball Ops "Family Trees"

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  • Baseball Ops "Family Trees"

    In the 21st Century, it has become increasingly common for MLB teams to pilfer front office talent from successful competitors, rather than promoting from within or nepotistic hiring practices, as was the norm through most of baseball history.

    In compiling this list, I looked only at people are are the head of the baseball operations department, irrespective of their title, and I sought to find the influence in their under under whom they (or their greatest influence) worked under the longest in an upper-tier capacity. That is, a man's tenure as Assistant GM would count for more than his tenure as director of player development at an earlier point in his career, because he would be mentored by the GM/President of Baseball Ops to a greater degree.

    What follows is my list, grouping the current heads of baseball ops into "families" based on the greatest influence on their (or their mentor's) respective careers. Obviously not everyone faithfully follows, or passes on, everything their predecessor GM preached, but it's an interesting way to look at the influence and success of various front office operations in recent history.

    Sandy Alderson
    Alex Anthopolous (J.P. Ricciardi), Braves
    Billy Beane, A’s
    Mike Elias (Jeff Luhnow), Orioles
    Rick Hahn (Kenny Williams, Ron Scheuler), White Sox
    Jeff Luhnow (John Mozeliak), Astros
    John Mozeliak (Walt Jocketty), Cardinals
    David Stearns (Jeff Luhnow), Brewers
    Dick Williams (Walt Jocketty), Reds
    Farhan Zaidi (Billy Beane), Giants

    Larry Beinfest
    Mike Hill, Marlins

    Jim Bowden
    Mike Rizzo, Nationals

    Brian Cashman, Yankees
    Billy Eppler, Angels

    Dave Dombrowski
    Al Avila, Tigers

    Theo Epstien, Cubs
    Jerry Dipoto (Josh Byrnes), Mariners
    Mike Hazen, Diamondbacks
    Matt Klentak (Jerry Dipoto), Phillies

    Andrew Friedman, Dodgers
    Chaim Bloom, Red Sox
    Erik Neander (Matthew Silverman), Rays

    John Hart
    Chris Antonetti (Mark Shapiro), Indians
    Ross Atkins (Mark Shapiro), Blue Jays
    Jeff Bridich (Dan O’Dowd), Rockies
    Jon Daniels, Rangers
    Derek Falvey (Chris Antonetti), Twins
    A.J. Preller, Padres

    John Schuerholz
    Dayton Moore, Royals

    Brody Van Wagenen, New York Mets

    You can argue the merits of keeping GM hires in-house. I think the Mets, White Sox and Marlins hires were particularly noteworthy as "loyalty" hires, if you will.

    As I expected, the Alderson and Hart families have branched out the most over the past quarter century. They touch on several other branches who I ultimately included elsewhere, too. More recently, Boston (since John Henry bought the team) and Tampa (since Stuart Sternberg bought the team) have become generators of top-notch front office personnel. Oakland, Cleveland, Boston and would be difficult to argue that those four have been the leading proponents of analytics over the past 15+ years, even as their success has been copied and surpassed elsewhere.

    Anyhow, food for thought.

    It also occurs to me that these legacies ought to be considered, in part, when evaluating the HOF candidacies of executives. Certainly Pat Gillick and John Schuerholz deserve their election to Cooperstown, as will Dave Dombrowski and Brian Sabean, but surprisingly, none of them created a front office environment where their success could be duplicated by those they mentored. Walt Jocketty, who clearly separated himself from Alderson's methodologies and openness to innovation, will wind up in this group also. I think there's a solid case for both Alderson and Hart, however, over and above their personal success with their respective teams. Hart built the Indians juggernaut of the 90s and early 2000s, pioneered the practice of locking up young players to buy out free agency years, and later rebuilt the Braves in a rapid turnaround. Alderson built the A's dynasty of the late 80s and later built a pennant winner for the Mets. Both, however, have had significant long-term impact on the game through their mentorship of many, many young front office executives who went onto to achieve success in their own right elsewhere.

    If you polled people like Chris Antonetti, Mark Shapiro,, Dan O'Dowd, Jon Daniels or John Mozeliak, I'll bet the consensus among them is that Alderson and Hart belong in Cooperstown. for thought.
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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