By Jerry Crasnick
March 10, 2005
THE LAST TIME WE CHECKED . . .
Our Power Brokers list had become so static in the late 1990s that we stopped doing it every year. As you can see, a lot has changed since the last time we compiled the list back in 1998. Here's how the rankings stacked up back then:
1. Don Fehr. Executive Director, MLB Players Association
2. Bud Selig. President, Milwaukee Brewers; Interim Commissioner, Major League Baseball
3. Paul Beeston. President, Major League Baseball
4. Rupert Murdoch. Chairman/CEO, News Corp.
5. Jerry Reinsdorf. President, Chicago White Sox
6. Ken Griffey. Outfielder, Seattle Mariners
7. Jerry McMorris. President, Colorado Rockies
8. Jerry Colangelo. President, Arizona Diamondbacks
9. Scott Boras. Agent
10. Ted Turner. President, Atlanta Braves; Vice Chairman, Time Warner
11. Steve Bornstein. President/CEO, ESPN; President, ABC Sports
12. Randy Levine. Chief Labor Negotiator, Major League Baseball
13. Dick Ebersol. President, NBC Sports
14. John Hart. General Manager, Cleveland Indians
15. Alan and Randy Hendricks. Agents
16. George Steinbrenner. President, New York Yankees
17. Ron Shapiro. Agents
18. John Harrington. CEO, Boston Red Sox
19. Tony Tavares. President, Anaheim Sports Inc.
20. Jim Bronner and Bob Gilhooley. Agents
21. Gene Orza. Associate General Counsel, MLB Players Association
22. Peter Gammons. Columnist, Baseball America/Boston Globe/ESPN
23. Tom Reich. Agent
24. Peter Angelos. President, Baltimore Orioles
25. Pedro Martinez. Pitcher, Boston Red Sox
THE WORLD OUTSIDE THE BIG LEAGUES
Though most of the attention and money in the industry falls under the realm of Major League Baseball, there are plenty of movers and shakers elsewhere. Here are 10 influential people outside the major league world, listed alphabetically:
Skip Bertman, Athletic Director, Louisiana State. After creating the prototype for how to build a baseball program, Bertman moved upstairs and now is the most influential member of the NCAA's Division I baseball committee.
Marv Goldklang, Chairman, Goldklang Group. Beyond his company's multiple franchise ownership, Goldklang is one of the most thoughtful executives in the minors and one of the few who successfully bridges the gulf between independent and affiliated ball.
Dave Keilitz, Executive Director, American Baseball Coaches Association. If college baseball has a single voice, Keilitz is it. He may be the only person who regularly hears from coaches around the nation, so the NCAA and MLB listen to him.
Randy Mobley, President, International League. A thoughtful, respected leader not only in his league but throughout the minors, there are few significant events in the minors that he doesn't know about.
Mike Moore, President, Minor League Baseball. He's not out front for his industry very much, but he has to get credit for presiding over the most prosperous time in minor league history. That he's won re-election three times without opposition also says something.
Cal Ripken Jr., President, Ripken Sports. Everyone knows who he is, and he has a burgeoning baseball business in Aberdeen, Md., that includes a New York-Penn League team, camps and clinics, and youth tournaments. He and his brother Billy are even hosting a baseball show on satellite radio now.
Nolan Ryan, Principal Owner, Ryan-Sanders Baseball. He brought professional baseball to Austin, Texas, when no one else could, and the Round Rock Express became the most successful Double-A franchise ever. Now the Express moves up to Triple-A and the group moves its Double-A team to Corpus Christi, Texas.
Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO, USA Baseball. Not only is he the person who oversees amateur organizations in the U.S., but he's also a rational and powerful voice in the sometimes nonsensical world of international baseball.
Dave Walker, President, Burlington Bees/Chairman, Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees. The board of trustees is the most significant group in the minors when it comes to making big decisions, and Walker wields that influence as well as serving as a voice for the smaller franchises that are the backbone of the minors.
Miles Wolff, Commissioner, Can-Am League and Central League. He has stepped aside from the Northern League and now presides over two middle-of-the-pack independent leagues, but he remains the godfather of indy ball and one of the most plugged-in people in the minors.
UP-AND-COMING POWER BROKERS
Our Power Brokers list has changed significantly since the last time we did it, with just seven people from the 1998 list returning in 2005. When we do another list in a few years, we wouldn't be surprised to find the following 10 people on it (listed alphabetically):
Theo Epstein, General Manager, Boston Red Sox. He already made his mark as baseball's youngest GM ever, but more significantly he built a Red Sox team that won the World Series and combines savvy for cutting-edge analysis with an appreciation for scouting and player development.
A.J. Hinch, Catcher, Philadelphia Phillies. His playing days are winding down, and while his career on the field has not been anything memorable, he shows significant promise as a front-office executive and interest in moving in that direction.
Sam and Seth Levinson, Agents. New York-based agents have recruited an impressive clientele, including Scott Rolen and Javier Vazquez, and built a strong reputation with the players’ union.
Jonathan Mariner, Executive Vice President for Finance, Major League Baseball. One of MLB’s highest-ranking minorities, Mariner has helped make teams’ financial reporting more efficient and smoothed relationships with banks, crucial considering the massive debt many teams carry.
Jeff Moorad, President, Arizona Diamondbacks. He faces a delicate balancing act as a former agent who now has the keys to a franchise, but if he handles it well it could give him unprecedented influence as one who has seen the business from both sides.
Dayton Moore, Director of Player Personnel, Atlanta Braves. He topped our list of general manager prospects a year ago and has a hand in nearly all of the Braves' significant baseball decisions.
Kim Ng, Assistant General Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers. If you're looking for the first female general manager in baseball history, this is your best bet. She would be the game's first Asian-American GM as well.
Mark Prior, Pitcher, Chicago Cubs. He will have influence because we expect him to be one of baseball's best pitchers over the next decade and get paid for it, but he's also a smart guy who isn't afraid to lead. He's already the Cubs' player rep for the union.
Ken Rosenthal, Columnist, The Sporting News. One of the most experienced members of a new breed of baseball reporters who combine passion for the game with knowledge about the new ways people are analyzing it.
Mark Shapiro, General Manager, Cleveland Indians. No other young GM has done more to put his stamp on major league team, and if it pays off the Indians will again serve as a model for other organizations.
Power and its not-so-distant cousins -- influence, name recognition and clout--are a wonderful boost for the ego. Power can get you primo seats at a five-star restaurant, ensure that your phone calls are always returned, and inspire the media to take notice every time you clear your throat.
But make sure to enjoy the attention while it lasts. In baseball, as in politics or business, power can be fleeting.
Seven years ago Baseball America compiled a list of the game’s top 25 Power Brokers, and it included names of people who promised to be fixtures in the sport for years to come. Names like Rupert Murdoch, Paul Beeston, Jerry Colangelo, Jerry McMorris, Ted Turner, and Jim Bronner and Bob Gilhooley.
You get the picture. Of the 25 selections to BA’s 1998 list, only seven return for our new 2005 rankings. Donald Fehr and Bud Selig have flip-flopped at the top, with the commissioner assuming the No. 1 spot. The other holdovers: Jerry Reinsdorf, George Steinbrenner, Scott Boras, Gene Orza and BA’s very own Peter Gammons.
Our list, compiled with input from baseball officials, journalists and other industry insiders, reflects the short-lived “synergy’’ between baseball and the entertainment industry. The Walt Disney Company no longer runs the Angels, but Arte Moreno, who bought the club in 2003, slides in at No. 16.
Our rankings also reflect the consolidation of power at 245 Park Avenue in New York, where the league presidents no longer exist, but Selig is surrounded by a cadre of aides entrusted with overseeing specific departments. Six MLB officials made our list, and a seventh, chief financial officer Jonathan Mariner, merited consideration.
Finally, the new BA rankings reflect the changing face of the agent world. While Ron Shapiro, Tom Reich and Randy Hendricks continue to command respect and wield influence as pioneers in their profession, just two agents--Boras and Arn Tellem of SFX Sports--cracked the top 25.
“Power,’’ of course, is a difficult concept to define. In the case of Selig or Fehr, it’s the ability to dictate the direction of the game. With Athletics general manager Billy Beane, it means taking an approach to team-building that others choose to emulate. And sometimes a person’s influence is largely symbolic, as in the case of Ichiro Suzuki, who opened the door to a new segment of the world simply by putting on a Mariners uniform.
So enjoy Baseball America’s 2005 power rankings, and remember that this is hardly an exact science. Feel free to check back in 2012 to see if we got it right.
1. Bud Selig
Commissioner, Major League Baseball
Selig has come a long way from the 1994 labor debacle and the All-Star Game tie in Milwaukee. He remains on solid ground with the owners, who extended his contract through 2009, and he was on a roll before the steroid controversy reared its head again with developments in the BALCO case and Jose Canseco's book. Major league attendance increased by 9 percent last year over 2003, the Red Sox-Cardinals World Series drew the highest television ratings since 1999, and the wild card meant that 17 teams were in contention for a postseason spot in the final month. Selig's instincts are to lay low on sensitive issues in the hope that his headaches will go away. The approach worked well with Pete Rose, who eventually sabotaged himself. It won't be as easy to shrug off the perception that baseball owners ignored warnings about steroid use because bulked-up players made for bigger gates.
2. Donald Fehr
Executive Director, MLB Players Association
Fehr might go down as the ultimate steroid fall guy because of the union's failure to embrace the significance or scope of the problem. At worst, Fehr was behind the curve and oblivious to the potential fallout. At best, his desire to protect the players' privacy concerns blinded him to the fissure within the ranks on the issue of drug testing. Fehr doesn't have an easy job knowing every concession is going to be scrutinized by union legend Marvin Miller, and he deserves credit for listening to his membership enough to embrace a drug-testing plan and a labor agreement that averted a shutdown. Two decades into his tenure as union leader, Fehr has become more of a big-picture guy than a hands-on administrator.
3. Bob DuPuy
President/COO, Major League Baseball
Accessible, folksy and perpetually in touch via his Blackberry, DuPuy has become Selig's most trusted and indispensable lieutenant. He was involved in baseball's Internet initiative from the ground floor, and he had a seat at the table during the labor negotiations, the steroid talks and the recent umpire deal. He is also the commissioner's point man for every significant owner relations issue, and has made it his mission to foster better relations with the clubs. DuPuy's latest challenge is to construct a viable solution to appease Orioles owner Peter Angelos as he rails against the Washington Nationals intruding on his turf. One of DuPuy's roughest moments in the past year came when he got caught on the wrong side of the "Spiderman" flap. But MLB reacted so quickly--ditching plans to run ads for the movie on the bases before an outcry could coalesce--that it became a non-issue.
4. George Steinbrenner
Owner, New York Yankees
He's more detached in his mid-70s, and less inclined to throw the old Big Stein tirades that prompt employees to duck and cover. It's also true that club president Randy Levine does much of the heavy lifting on pressing business. But Steinbrenner still writes the checks and drives the industry economics, and he serves as the eternal patron of what Red Sox president Larry Lucchino calls the "Evil Empire" in the Bronx. While other teams try to launch their own versions of the YES network, Steinbrenner's willingness to spend, spend and spend some more makes him the prime target of small-market hawks who say the current revenue sharing and payroll tax aren't sufficient to restore competitive balance. All that moaning didn't stop Steinbrenner from bringing in Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright in his unquenchable desire to bring another championship to the Bronx.
5. George Bodenheimer.
President, ESPN and ABC Sports
Bodenheimer, 46, began working for ESPN in 1981 as a low-level aide in the administration department. Two decades later he presides over a media behemoth with an immediacy, scope and "synergy" that's unparalleled. ESPN shapes the public view on baseball (and every other sport) through domestic and international networks, a magazine with a circulation of 2 million, a popular Website and a radio network--then feeds those patrons hamburgers at sports-themed restaurants to boot. While ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" show is a must-see for baseball junkies and a staple in big league clubhouses, the network has the resources and the willingness to tackle sticky issues in depth through its "Outside the Lines" program. Bodenheimer, while understated by nature, has proven himself to be an innovator in marketing, original programming and new technologies.
6. David Hill and Ed Goren
Executive Producers, Fox Sports
Fox invests $417 million a year to broadcast major league games, and Hill and Goren aren't hesitant to put their stamp on the way baseball comes into America's living rooms. Goren, who oversees Fox's coverage from the editorial end, was instrumental in the decision to award home-field advantage to the league that wins the All-Star Game. Hill, a native of Australia, is the graphics whiz and the guy who'll plant a camera in strange places or enhance the audio to give fans a better feel for the pop of the mitt or the roar of the crowd. Both Hill and Goren are hands-on managers who are involved in everything from contract negotiations to fostering a strong relationship with MLB and the union. Hill was among the first people to receive a call when Selig was assembling a panel to examine new ways to market the game in the 21st century.
7. Scott Boras
President, Scott Boras Corp.
Boras had arguably the most productive offseason ever for an agent, negotiating nearly $400 million worth of long-term deals for clients Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, J.D. Drew, Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek and Magglio Ordonez. Some of Boras' most reliable clients (Kevin Brown, Greg Maddux, Bernie Williams et al) are nearing the end of their careers, yet his clientele continues to resemble an all-star team. Some executives roll their eyes at his "icon player" talk and penchant for going over the general manager's head to the owner. But even his adversaries would never criticize him for a lack of focus or preparation. As the guy who drives the salary train, Boras has significant clout with the union. He also remains a force in the draft, though the lack of action on Stephen Drew and Jered Weaver helps substantiate the risks that clubs must consider when they select elite picks advised by Boras.
8. Barry Bonds
Outfielder, San Francisco Giants
Two gargantuan baseball stories will be crashing into your living room this summer, and Bonds will be prominent in both. As a featured player in the BALCO scandal, Bonds is the centerpiece to the hot-button issue of 2005. He's also just 11 homers short of tying Babe Ruth for second place on the all-time list, and he injected race into the debate during a combative press conference in Arizona to start spring training. When Bonds made headlines in a subsequent interview by discussing his cap size and the state of his testicles, it was clear the coverage had officially spiraled out of control. It's probably too late for Bonds to cultivate the kind of goodwill and positive PR that leads to huge endorsement deals and loving bouquets from columnists and fans (at least those beyond San Francisco). But he'll be playing for something even bigger the next two summers: his place in history.
9. Rob Manfred
Executive Vice President for Labor Relations, MLB
The union's lawyers sweat out a shutdown and live to fight another day. Baseball's negotiators, in contrast, tend to be as disposable as foul balls. Manfred, a Harvard law school graduate and father of four, has stuck around and gotten the job done in perhaps the game's most pressure-packed job. He had enough credibility with the union to negotiate a labor deal and a drug testing agreement, and recently hammered out a contract with the umpires five years after Richie Phillips drove their union off a cliff. Manfred's style is tough yet pragmatic; he realizes that the less people know about him, the better he's doing his job. "I would describe him as extremely bright, articulate and persistent," Larry Gibson, an umpires union lawyer, said of Manfred in 2001. "I pity the person who's unprepared or unskillful in dealing with him."
10. Sandy Alderson
Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations, Major League Baseball
Alderson, who carved out a niche as a successful team executive in Oakland, has had a more challenging transition to Park Avenue than some of Selig's other aides. "Sandy came from a situation where he was the guy, and he's never going to be the guy here," said an MLB insider. "That's always hard." As the man in charge of baseball operations, Alderson has influence in a multitude of areas. He oversees discipline, security, time of game issues, international play and the umpires, who appear to have a better relationship with baseball despite a few QuesTec-related hiccups. Selig also trusts Alderson's ability to stay cool in times of crisis, and expressly picked him to represent baseball during the recent "60 Minutes" segment on Jose Canseco. While Alderson has been with MLB since 1998, rumors continue to pop up that he'd like to go back to running a club one day.
11. John Henry
Principal Owner, Boston Red Sox
Henry comes off as soft-spoken to the point of shy, but he's emerging as a player. He's a hero in Boston for buying the franchise and ending its 86-year odyssey in search of a World Series title. And while $700 million seemed pricey at the time, some estimates place the current value of the Red Sox at closer to $1 billion. In February Henry was elected to baseball's executive council, the ultimate in insider power status. Since new ownership arrived, the Red Sox have become a more fan- and media-friendly operation, and they remain an unqualified success at the gate as well as on the field. Under the leadership of club president Larry Lucchino, the team continues to find innovative ways to squeeze revenue out of Fenway Park without ruining the park's aesthetic charm.
12. Jerry Reinsdorf
Chairman, Chicago White Sox
Reinsdorf carries the kind of clout that comes from a comfort level forged through time. As one media member put it, "Jerry's been sitting next to Bud, whispering in his ear for 30 years at owners' meetings now." Reinsdorf and Royals owner David Glass are the only two owners who sit on the executive council and baseball's business and Internet boards. Reinsdorf also chairs the committee that oversaw the Montreal Expos' move to Washington, and (if you believe the buzz) was on the front lines in the battle to keep Jeff Moorad from taking over as Diamondbacks' "control person." Reinsdorf has shown a progressive side in providing opportunities for minorities, hiring Kenny Williams as his general manager and Ozzie Guillen as manager in Chicago. When it comes time for the next labor agreement, you can be sure that Reinsdorf, Glass and Houston's Drayton McLane Jr. will be heard.
13. Gene Orza
COO, Major League Baseball Players Association
Orza, long known as the union's ideological "pit bull," can still formulate a stance and articulate it with the best of them, but he's more inclined to keep a lower profile these days. Like Fehr, he's taken his hits during the steroid scandal from critics who believed he was too busy speaking lawyer-ese to gauge the true sentiment of the membership and realize the extent of the problem. Orza isn't as involved these days in the grind of labor negotiations--a chore that's become more the province of Michael Weiner--but he still has a hand in all the day-to-day operations of the union. He was the Players Association's resident expert on the whys and wherefores of drug testing, and he's become more active in recent years in the area of globalization and international play.
14. Tim Brosnan
Executive Vice President for Business, Major League Baseball
"He's the most underrated guy in the company," one observer says of Brosnan, who's shown limitless energy in his quest to enhance baseball's visibility and make the game more appealing to a younger demographic. Brosnan is MLB's link to MasterCard and other corporate giants, and the man entrusted with generating more revenue through the traditional avenues of television, sponsorships and merchandise. He's also helped baseball make major strides in licensing, where revenue has tripled under his watch. Brosnan negotiated MLB's $650 million deal with XM Satellite Radio, and is spearheading the formation of the Baseball Channel, which is scheduled to debut later this year. Brosnan and Bob Bowman have clashed at times in their efforts to grow the revenue pie, but have been able to coexist with mediation from higher-ups.
15. Bob Bowman
President/CEO, MLB Advanced Media
Bowman, the former Michigan state treasurer, president of ITT Sheraton and head of the Internet retailer Outpost.com, began running MLB Advanced Media amid considerable skepticism in 2000 but quickly turned it into a powerhouse. Baseball's Internet arm generated a profit estimated at $50 million-$75 million in 2004, and Bowman is constantly looking for ways to expand in a rapidly changing broadband world. In January, MLB.com signed a five-year, $50 million deal with the union to acquire the rights to players' names and likenesses for use in online fantasy games and wireless products. MLBAM followed that acquisition by spending $66 million to buy Tickets.com. "We wanted to control our destiny a lot more," Bowman told the Boston Globe. "We wanted to drive the car, not just sit in the back seat." Bowman, aggressive and technology-savvy, has chafed a few people with his hard-charging approach to development. But with only so many places for baseball to find new sources of revenue, he's driving a growth area of significant magnitude.
16. Arte Moreno
Owner, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Three years after the Angels won a championship under the Disney Co., Moreno, baseball's first Latino owner, has shown it's possible to shift from corporate to individual ownership without missing a beat. The Angels ranked fifth among 92 professional franchises in an ESPN Magazine fan satisfaction survey, and they were the highest-rated baseball team. They've drawn 3 million fans two years in a row, and Moreno won favor with the paying customers by cutting the price on beer and select tickets. By changing the team's name, Moreno made it clear that he wants to establish the Angels as a national brand rather than an Orange County appendage of the Dodgers. He has also started to make noise about developing his own television station to put him on a more competitive footing with baseball's big-revenue clubs.
17. Michael Weiner
General Counsel, MLB Players Association
While Fehr is ultimately responsible for formulating the union's plans and Orza is often the public spokesman for the union point of view, Weiner is playing a more prominent role behind the scenes. He was on the front lines for both the collective bargaining agreement and the steroid talks, and he won praise for his preparation, grasp of the issues and willingness to forsake a doctrinaire approach and get a deal done. Weiner self-effacing style, penchant for flannel shirts and jeans, and ability to give direct, simple answers to complex questions makes him popular with players and agents alike. He's forged a productive working relationship with the people at 245 Park Avenue, and is destined to play an even more pivotal role in club-player relations moving forward.
18. Billy Beane
General Manager, Oakland Athletics
The "Moneyball" backlash notwithstanding, Beane's influence is undeniable as the face of the new-breed general manager. The more winners he churns out on a moderate budget, the more other clubs are inclined to take notice and apply some of his principals to their own business models. Beane routinely speaks to corporate groups on the concept of "taking advantage of inefficiencies in inefficient markets," and he has spawned a list of disciples that includes Boston's Theo Epstein, Los Angeles' Paul DePodesta and Toronto's J.P. Ricciardi. There's talk that when Lewis Wolff buys the Athletics, he might offer a stake in ownership as a way to keep Beane in Oakland. Skeptics who attribute the A's success to the Big Three will be keeping a close watch on how the club fares now that Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson are gone and only Barry Zito remains.
Outfielder, Seattle Mariners
Who cares if he doesn't walk enough? When Suzuki won the American League rookie of the year and MVP awards with Seattle in 2001, he blazed the trail for Hideki Matsui and Kaz Matsui and other Japanese stars to leave their comfort zone and take a crack at the major leagues. He has even more cachet now that he has broken George Sisler's season record for hits. Ichiro is an annual fixture in all-star balloting, and it's because of him that Mariners games are now televised regularly in Japan. In his first season in Seattle, the number of Japanese tourists visiting the city increased by 30 percent. He's a hit-producing, endorsement-collecting, barrier-bridging, money-generating machine. And that's not easy to do when you speak minimal English and hit eight home runs in 762 plate appearances.
20. Arn Tellem
CEO, SFX Sports Group
Tellem edges out Alan Nero of CSMG and Casey Close of IMG as tops in the alphabet-soup corporate realm of the agent world. Several years ago Tellem, the Hendricks brothers and Jim Bronner all sold their agent practices to SFX. Bronner and Bob Gilhooley are now out of the business and the Hendrickses have split with SFX, but Tellem is still going strong. SFX Baseball represents about 125 players, or roughly 16 percent of the players in the majors. Tellem personally represents Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina and Barry Zito, among others, and has made a successful foray into Japan with Hideki Matsui. While Tellem keeps things low key as a rule, he can be passionate in defense of players that he thinks have been wronged. It probably helped his credibility--and definitely enhanced his profile--when Steinbrenner flatly declared, "I don't like him."
21. Peter Gammons
If the ability to mold and shape public opinion equates to power, Gammons is in a league of his own. His contacts in the business are unparalleled, and his ability to reach a huge audience quickly is assured through his regular appearances on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight." He also continues to break news and tap into rumors and trends as a regular columnist for ESPN.com and Baseball America. The Baseball Writers Association righted a wrong in December by giving Gammons the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, and he will be honored during Hall of Fame induction ceremonies July 31. It would be only fitting if Gammons' cell phone rings and he has to excuse himself to take a trade deadline call in the middle of his speech.
22. Curt Schilling
Pitcher, Boston Red Sox
Schilling came to Boston with a mandate to bring the city a championship, and he delivered on that promise, bloody sock and all. It's the other stuff that makes him so entertaining. Call him a self-promoter or an attention hound, but ignore him at your peril. Schilling has shown he's willing to use his fame to speak out on causes, whether it's ALS research or George W. Bush's campaign. He's also been ahead of the curve in the art of media relations in a wired world, communicating directly with Red Sox diehards through the Sons of Sam Horn Website. You know a guy is versatile when he appears on "Celebrity Poker Challenge" in January and is invited to testify before Congress on steroids two months later.
23. Omar Minaya
General Manager, New York Mets
Minaya established his clout in New York by persuading owner Fred Wilpon to spend big on free agents. While the Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez signings helped make the Mets relevant again in New York, they also heightened the team's profile in Latin American countries as part of Minaya's quest to mine talent there down the road. As baseball's first Latin general manager, Minaya is in position to have a major impact in the area of minority hiring. Let's put it this way: He did more for Willie Randolph with a single phone call than the commissioner's office accomplished with 10 years of memos and directives. A scout by trade, Minaya is a departure from the recent trend toward Ivy League-educated administrators. If he's successful in New York, it can only open more doors.
24. John McHale Jr.
Executive Vice President for Administration, Major League Baseball
McHale, who has been involved in running three clubs and helped build ballparks in Colorado and Detroit, has a breadth of experience that makes him a valuable member of Selig's inner circle. He helped the Diamondbacks put their financial situation in order, supervised the Montreal Expos' forays to Puerto Rico and played a major role in the movement of the team to Washington, D.C. As a labor lawyer by trade, McHale is a sounding board for Manfred. He also does the legwork on a slew of projects that don't fit into DuPuy's schedule. Because McHale's family has ties to Selig dating back to the Paleolithic era, the loyalty factor is key. He has a built-in trust factor with the commissioner.
25. John Schuerholz
General Manager, Atlanta Braves
As Schuerholz nears the end of an illustrious career, he stands as an executive that baseball people of all backgrounds and orientations can respect. Yes, he can be condescending, to both agents and snoopy reporters. But in an age when consistency is difficult to maintain, he has produced 13 straight division title winners with a reliance on strong scouting and player development and a capacity for innovation that's never waned. "He's just a very smart man," says Billy Beane. Schuerholz signed a book deal earlier this year to share the insights and secrets of his success in Atlanta. It's unlikely to shake the trees in the manner of "Moneyball," but will stand as a testament to his legacy of winning.