Hall of Fame Class of 2017
Hall of Fame Weekend
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Two years later, Gorman joined the front office of the expansion Kansas City Royals, and Schuerholz went with him.
“The very first day I started in that job (with the Orioles), my goal was to become a general manager of a Major League Baseball team,” Schuerholz said. “I gave myself five years, after which I would assess where I was in my career – because I felt I could always go back to teaching if I didn’t succeed.”
Five years into his baseball career, Schuerholz was still working for Gorman – helping lay the foundation for the talented Royals teams of the late 1970s that featured homegrown stars Frank White, Al Cowens and future Hall of Famer George Brett. Gorman was named the Royals’ general manager in the fall of 1975, and Schuerholz became the team’s farm director.
Unless you’ve ever been on the inside and worked with him, there’s no way you can appreciate (Schuerholz’s) baseball intelligence
Then in early 1976, Gorman left to run the expansion Seattle Mariners – and Schuerholz was promoted to director of scouting and player development for the Royals. In 1979, Schuerholz was named Vice President of Player Personnel.
In 1981, Schuerholz took over for Joe Burke as the Royals’ general manager when Burke was promoted to team president.
“Unless you’ve ever been on the inside and worked with him, there’s no way you can appreciate (Schuerholz’s) baseball intelligence,” said former Braves executive Paul Snyder.
Schuerholz took over a Royals franchise that won four American League West titles in five years (1976-78, 1980) and an AL pennant (1980), but seemed to be in transition. By 1985, Schuerholz had re-tooled much of the team with younger talent – especially pitchers like Bret Saberhagen, Danny Jackson and Bud Black. In 1985, the Royals won their first World Series title – defeating the Cardinals in a classic seven-game battle.
Following the 1985 season, Schuerholz was named the Executive of the Year by the Sporting News.
“I want to be here. I like it here,” said Schuerholz in 1985. “I have a lot of my blood and sweat in this organization.”
But by 1990, Schuerholz – who signed a “lifetime” contract with the Royals in 1985 – was looking for a different challenge. He found one with the Braves, who had posted losing records from 1984-90 and were searching for a new general manager when Bobby Cox went back to the dugout after a stint as GM. Schuerholz immediately helped the Braves go from worst to first, winning the National League pennant in 1991 after finishing last in the NL West the year before.
Schuerholz inherited talent like Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, but added to the mix by acquiring Greg Maddux, Terry Pendleton and Fred McGriff over the next few seasons.
“(Schuerholz) knows what he wants,” said former Indians general manager John Hart. “He’s always prepared (during trade negotiations), and he doesn’t mince words.”
After organizing successful exhibition games with MLB teams in Milwaukee, hosting regular season White Sox games at County Stadium and nearly acquiring the White Sox in 1969, Selig finally met his goal when he led a group that purchased the American League’s Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy court on March 31, 1970. Seven days later, the new Milwaukee Brewers began their 1970 AL schedule.
Under Selig’s ownership, the Brewers grew into a powerhouse, winning the AL pennant in 1982 with a team that featured future Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor, Don Sutton and Robin Yount. Selig quickly became one of baseball’s most influential owners, helping identify and hire Peter Ueberroth as commissioner in 1984.
“He should have been Senate majority leader,” said White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, describing Selig’s ability to lobby for his position and form alliances. That skill would be tested when on Sept. 9, 1992 – two days after commissioner Fay Vincent resigned – Selig was named the Chairman of MLB’s Executive Council, making him the de facto commissioner.
Selig was quickly thrust into the battle between labor and management, which culminated with the 1994 strike and the cancellation of that year’s World Series. But with Selig in command, baseball slowly returned to normal with the resumption of play in 1995 and several key events – like Cal Ripken’s chase of Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record – that restored the game’s popularity.
On July 9, 1998, the owners removed the “interim” tag and made Selig the game’s commissioner. Over the next 16 years, Selig – whose total tenure as commissioner was exceeded only by that of Kenesaw Mountain Landis – oversaw expansion in 1993 and 1998, the addition of two Wild Card teams, the creation of interleague play, MLB.com, the World Baseball Classic and the introduction of instant replay as a tool for umpires.