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Greatest general managers of all time?

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  • #61
    Harry Mitchell Grabiner

    Born: December 26, 1890, Chicago, IL
    Died: October 24, 1948, Chicago, IL, age 57,---d. brain tumor

    Baseball Executive;
    White Sox', VP / Secretary, 1908 - 1940; President, 1940 - December, 1945
    Cleveland Indians' VP, June, 1946 - 1948

    Harry lied to Joe Jackson to get him to sign 1920 contract, told him the 10 day release clause had been dropped. It hadn't.
    -----------------------------
    Harry's photo/bio in Who's Who in Major League Baseball,
    edited by Harold (Speed) Johnson, 1933, pp. 32-33.


    Harry is on the right.----------------------------------------------------------------------------Harry is on the left.


    Below, Right: Baseball Executives at Meeting: June 23, 1946
    New Owners Take Over Cleveland Indians. Cleveland, Ohio: Immediately after the sale of the Cleveland Indians' American League franchise at a price reportedly close to $1,750,000 are (left to right), Alva Bradley, former president; Joseph C. Hostetler, Cleveland attorney who remains as secretary; Harry Grabiner, former vice president and general manager of the Chicago White Sox, who has been named vice president and treasurer of the Indians; and Bill Veeck, Jr., new president and former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers.


    Harry Grabiner/Lou Comiskey


    -----------------Harry Grabiner/Louis Comiskey: 1926-----------------------------Louis Comiskey/Harry Grabiner: 1926

    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-22-2011, 12:12 PM.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
      [B]

      Harry lied to Joe Jackson to get him to sign 1920 contract, told him the 10 day release clause had been dropped. It hadn't.
      I have three questions:

      (1) Does Grabiner get into the Greatest General Manager thread on the grounds that being willing to lie to ball players is a necessary qualification for greatness in a GM?

      (2) How do you know this claim is true?

      (3) In 1920 Jackson was still a reasonably young player, coming off a season in which he had starred for the American League champions and finished well up in the top ten for the AL batting title. What in the world would have led him to imagine that the White Sox would possibly want to hand him an unconditional release with ten days' severance pay? In fact, why wouldn't he actually want them to do that, considering that it would have dropped him on the market as the most valuable free agent anybody had seen for many years?

      Did Jackson have some reason during the winter of 1919/1920 to believe that something he'd done might imperil his career?

      Or is this just a story he dreamed up after the fact because it fit well with his legal strategy some years later -- say, when he was suing Comiskey for back pay?
      “Money, money, money; that is the article I am looking after now more than anything else. It is the only thing that will shape my course (‘religion is nowhere’).” - Ross Barnes

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      • #63
        All good questions, Beady, but in order not to hijack this good thread, let's continue this on this other thread. The Joe Jackson Innocense thread, OK?

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        • #64
          Fair enough. I'll just make a few observations about Grabiner.

          (1) One of Bill Veeck's books (I believe it's The Hustler's Handbook contains extracts from Grabiner's diaries pertaining to the period after the 1919 World Series, and Veeck has some interesting observations about Grabiner's character and personality. (which do, I must admit, provide some support to the hypothesis that he was the kind of person who might have lied to someone else out of loyalty to his boss)

          (2) Somehow I would never have expected Grabiner to be such a dapper and even fairly handsome guy.

          (3) On the other hand, in that Who's Who picture, he bears a surprising resemblance to Bud Abbott.
          “Money, money, money; that is the article I am looking after now more than anything else. It is the only thing that will shape my course (‘religion is nowhere’).” - Ross Barnes

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by Beady View Post
            Fair enough. I'll just make a few observations about Grabiner.

            (1) One of Bill Veeck's books (I believe it's The Hustler's Handbook contains extracts from Grabiner's diaries pertaining to the period after the 1919 World Series, and Veeck has some interesting observations about Grabiner's character and personality. (which do, I must admit, provide some support to the hypothesis that he was the kind of person who might have lied to someone else out of loyalty to his boss)

            (2) Somehow I would never have expected Grabiner to be such a dapper and even fairly handsome guy.

            (3) On the other hand, in that Who's Who picture, he bears a surprising resemblance to Bud Abbott.
            1. Lying to ally with your boss is not something that Harry was the first person to do. If he did, that does not make him a bad or evil person. Maybe just a practical, pragmatic man.
            2. Yes, he does look dapper. Or maybe he knew a photographer would be there that day and gussied up.
            3. Yes, I can see the resemblance. But Bud Abbot looked like anyone off the street. No pronounced oddness.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
              Gabriel Howard Paul---AKA Gabe Paul

              Born: January 4, 1910, Rochester, NY
              Died: April 26, 1998, age 88

              Baseball Executive; Jewish
              Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
              Harry Mitchell Grabiner,

              Baseball Executive;
              So Grabiner wasn't Jewish, then? What does Gabe Paul's religion have to do with anything, Bill?
              They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
                So Grabiner wasn't Jewish, then? What does Gabe Paul's religion have to do with anything, Bill?
                It has nothing to do with anything. I got into the habit of identifying Jewish sports writers, as a way to fight anti-Semitism.
                Most other religions do not have anywhere nearly as much built-in prejudice against them.

                What other group felt the need to change their names, to avoid professional discrimination. Dan Margowitz became Dan Daniel, Al Horowitz became Al Horowits, then Al Horwits, etc.

                In my other non-sports databases, I do the same thing for violinists, pianists, etc. To assist the world to realize how much the Jewish people have contributed to world culture.
                Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-20-2011, 01:42 PM.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
                  It has nothing to do with anything. I got into the habit of identifying Jewish sports writers, as a way to fight anti-Semitism.
                  Most other religions do not have anywhere nearly as much built-in prejudice against them.

                  In my other non-sports databases, I do the same thing for violinists, pianists, etc. To assist the world to realize how much the Jewish race has contributed to world culture.
                  OK, your intentions were honorable, but if you want to fight anti-Semitism, you might not want to use the phrase "Jewish race". There are Jews of all races.
                  They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

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                  • #69
                    Point noted. I stand corrected. But I am a most imperfect person and my imperfect expressions stand as a permanent monument to this.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      For Branch Rickey fans
                      Chop! Chop! Chop!

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                      • #71
                        Emil Joseph Bavasi---AKA Buzzie Bavasi

                        Born: December 12, 1914, Manhattan, NY
                        Died: May 1, 2008, La Jolla, CA, age 93

                        Baseball Executive;
                        Brooklyn Dodgers, Publicity Director, 1939 - 1951
                        Brooklyn Dodgers, General Manager, 1951 - 1969
                        San Diego Padres, President, 1969 - 1977
                        California Angels, General Manager, 1978 - 1984, retired.

                        Wikipedia
                        Emil Joseph "Buzzie" Bavasi (pronounced /bəˈveɪzi/; December 12, 1914 – May 1, 2008) was an American executive in Major League Baseball who played a major role in the operation of three franchises from the late 1940s through the mid-1980s.
                        He was best known as the general manager of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1951 to 1968, during which time the team captured eight National League pennants and its first four World Series titles. He was previously a key figure in the integration of minor league baseball in the late 1940s while working for the Dodgers organization. He went on to become the first general manager of the San Diego Padres, and assembled the California Angels teams which made that franchise's first two postseason appearances. His sons Peter Bavasi and Bill Bavasi have also served as major league general managers.

                        Early life
                        Born Emil Joseph Bavasi in Manhattan, New York City, New York, his sister Iola ("Lolly") nicknamed him Buzzie because his mother said he was "always buzzing around." Bavasi was raised in Scarsdale, New York by Joseph and Sue Bavasi. Joseph, his immigrant father, was a newspaper distributor. He went to high school at Fordham Preparatory School, in the Bronx, with Fred Frick, the son of Ford Frick, president of the National League.

                        He attended DePauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana, where he was a catcher. At DePauw he roomed with Fred Frick, and Ford Frick recommended Bavasi for office boy position for the Dodgers to Larry MacPhail.

                        Bavasi was hired by Larry MacPhail in 1938, for $35 a week, to become a front office assistant with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and after one year was named the business manager of the Dodgers' Class D minor league team in Americus, Georgia, were he spent three seasons. In 1941 he moved to Durham, North Carolina Class B team of the Dodgers and married his wife, Evit.

                        After being drafted, he won a Bronze Star Medal in the Italian Campaign of World War II as machine-gunner in the United States Army.

                        In late 1945, after serving 18 months, Staff Sargent Bavasi returned to Georgia to rest with his family. While there, Dodgers president Branch Rickey telephoned and asked Bavasi to become business manager of a new minor-league baseball team in the New England League, and to find a suitable city in which to place the club.

                        Baseball integration
                        Although Bavasi did not know for certain, he suspected that Rickey, who had started to integrate the Dodgers' farm system with the signing of Jackie Robinson the previous October, might be planning to sign more African Americans to contracts. If that was the case, the Dodgers needed a low-level minor-league team outside the American South to which to assign these players. Ultimately, Bavasi chose Nashua, New Hampshire. With fewer than 35,000 people, Nashua would be the smallest market in the New England League, and fewer than fifty African Americans resided in the community. However, the Nashua Dodgers were assured of a predominantly French Canadian fan base, a fact which both Rickey and Bavasi believed would help in the integration of African Americans into minor league baseball. Additionally, Nashua was home to the relatively new Holman Stadium, which Bavasi was able to lease from the city.
                        In March 1946, Bavasi received word that Brooklyn had signed former Negro League ballplayers Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe, and that they would be sent to Nashua for the season. Bavasi spent nearly a month planning for their arrival, naming Nashua Telegraph publisher Fred Dobens to the position of President of the Nashua Dodgers to ensure the newspaper's support for the integration project; Dobens's newspaper did not release any word of the signings until April. Bavasi also publicly linked the team to Clyde Sukeforth, who had scouted Campanella, Newcombe, and Jackie Robinson for Rickey and who had played minor-league baseball in Nashua in the mid-1920s. He promoted the team's French Canadian connection through his team's Quebec-born players, and even attempted to hire Frenchy Bordagaray to manage the team (eventually he settled on Walter Alston).

                        The 1946 season was a successful one. The Nashua Dodgers placed second in the league and won the Governor's Cup, defeating the Lynn Red Sox. In terms of attendance, Nashua also proved successful, in part because of Bavasi's imaginative promotional skills. The league saw few racially motivated incidents, with two exceptions. Campanella has claimed that Manchester Giants catcher Sal Yvars threw dirt in his face during a game at Manchester Athletic Field (Gill Stadium), but the incident was resolved on the field (though Yvars has denied that the incident took place). More seriously, players and the manager of the Lynn Red Sox hurled racial slurs and insults at Campanella and Newcombe, particularly late in the season when the two clubs were locked in a tight pennant race. On one occasion, Bavasi was so enraged by the comments of the Red Sox that he met Lynn's manager and players in the Holman Stadium parking lot and challenged them to a fight. Players restrained Bavasi and the Lynn manager, and the Lynn team boarded their bus without further incident.
                        As a result of their success in Nashua, Bavasi, Campanella, and Alston all were promoted to teams in higher-level leagues in 1947, and Newcombe followed in 1948.

                        After Nashua
                        By 1948, Bavasi had become general manager of the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers' top farm team. Around that time, as a result of continued prejudice against Brooklyn's African American ballplayers during spring training, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley sent Bavasi to find property at which to establish a permanent spring training facility. Bavasi chose a site outside Vero Beach, Florida, at which to establish Dodgertown, anchored by the newly constructed Holman Stadium. The Dodgers continued to train there virtually without interruption through 2008 before moving to a new facility in Glendale, Arizona.

                        He was promoted to the position of Dodgers general manager before the 1951 season. In his nearly 18 years as the Dodgers' GM, the team won 8 National League pennants – including the first four World Series titles in franchise history, three of them after the team's move to Los Angeles in 1958 (A move that Bavasi was not in favor of.). After the team won the Series in 1959, in only their second year in Los Angeles, The Sporting News named Bavasi the Major League Executive of the Year.

                        In 1968, Bavasi resigned from the Dodgers to become president and part owner of the expansion San Diego Padres, serving until 1977; his son Peter was then running the Toronto Blue Jays, making the Bavasis the first father and son to run two different major league teams at the same time. After the 1977 season, Gene Autry hired him to be executive vice president and general manager of the California Angels. Bavasi retired in 1984 after the Angels reached the playoffs twice during his tenure.
                        His son Bill is the former general manager of the Seattle Mariners; son Peter held president or general manager positions with the Padres, Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians during the 1970s and 1980s; and another son, Chris, formerly served as mayor of Flagstaff, Arizona, and with his wife, Evit, the couple had a fourth son Bob.

                        In 2007, Bavasi was also inducted by the San Diego Hall of Champions into the Breitbard Hall of Fame honoring San Diego's finest athletes both on and off the playing surface.

                        Bavasi died on May 1, 2008 in San Diego, California, near his home in La Jolla, aged 93.

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                        • #72
                          If many people agree that Branch Rickey and Ed Barrow were 2 of baseball's greatest General Managers, do Gabe Paul or Buzzie Bavasi deserve to be mentioned in the same breath?

                          Or were they in the next tier down, in terms of general excellence as baseball executives?

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
                            If many people agree that Branch Rickey and Ed Barrow were 2 of baseball's greatest General Managers, do Gabe Paul or Buzzie Bavasi deserve to be mentioned in the same breath?

                            Or were they in the next tier down, in terms of general excellence as baseball executives?
                            We touched on these issues earlier in the thread.

                            I mentioned that I don't see Gabe Paul as particularly great, since he had a pretty long career, but his only major success was with the Yankees in the 1970's. Of course, if someone can argue for him to be ranked higher, I'm willing to listen. Personally, I'd put Harry Dalton or Bob Howsam ahead of him.

                            With Bavasi we discussed the depth of talent in the Dodger front office, and how it makes it unclear to what degree Bavasi deserves credit for the team's success. Did he demonstrate any particular greatness while running the Angels or Padres?
                            Baseball Junk Drawer

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by ian2813 View Post
                              We touched on these issues earlier in the thread.

                              I mentioned that I don't see Gabe Paul as particularly great, since he had a pretty long career, but his only major success was with the Yankees in the 1970's. Of course, if someone can argue for him to be ranked higher, I'm willing to listen. Personally, I'd put Harry Dalton or Bob Howsam ahead of him.

                              With Bavasi we discussed the depth of talent in the Dodger front office, and how it makes it unclear to what degree Bavasi deserves credit for the team's success. Did he demonstrate any particular greatness while running the Angels or Padres?
                              With managers, it is tough to determine if a manager like Joe McCarthy deserved credit for his great record, given his great material. With GMs, it is possible to argue that they had a lot to do with bringing that talent on board. Which is the specific job description of what a GM is supposed to do, and expected to. Of course, the ability of the team to bankroll the GM might come into play.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                It's hard to say what makes a GM or manager "great". But greatness is closely allied to success, though not perfectly. We can pretty well measure success, and we've done so here in posts 115 and 125 on this page: http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...y-are%29/page5 I think the most successful guys are where you start the conversation, and, if you don't like them, you are the one required to persuade folks why he isn't great. The guys below Sabean are the reverse: if you want them in the Hall, then it's on you to explain why they are great. I think it's a great way to organize the discussion, at the very least.
                                Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
                                Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
                                A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

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