The book is largely the story of the people who built and ran great teams, some of whom are listed here.  Owners, team presidents, but mostly people we call "general managers."  Hall of Famers are in Red.




Ed Barrow.  In 25 years as general manager and then president of the New York Yankees, the club won 14 pennants and 10 World Series.  Before joining the Yankees he managed the Tigers and Red Sox (winning the Series in 1918) and ran the International League.


Buzzie Bavasi.  Won 8 pennants and 4 World Series as GM of the Dodgers.  He later served as president of the Padres, and then general manager of the Angels.


Peter Bavasi.  Began his career working for his father in Los Angeles, then served as general manager of the Padres, president of the expansion Blue Jays, and president of the Indians.


Billy Beane. After a brief playing career and several years in the A's front office, he became their GM in 1997.  Despite perennially low payrolls, his clubs have made the playoffs eight times in his years in charge.


Paul Beeston.  The first employee (in 1976) of the expansion Toronto Blue Jays, he served for many years on the business side before becoming CEO in 1991.  He has remained in that post since, excepting a five-year term as COO of Major League Baseball.


Sam Breadon.  The president and owner of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1920-1947, taking over a down-and-out franchise and leading it to nine NL pennants and six world championships.  For most of that period Branch Rickey was the club's GM, and Breadon provided the money that allowed Rickey to build his historic farm system.


Mike Burke.  Served as president of the Yankees from 1966 to 1972.  Although this was a pennant-less period for the club, he and GM Lee MacPhail improved the team considerably on the field, while Burke also negotiated the complete remodel of Yankee Stadium, resisting overtures to move the club to New Jersey.


Gussie Busch.  The brewing magnate bought the Cardinals in 1953 and held them until his death in 1989.  The team won six pennants and three championships on his watch, and he also deserves credit for pushing for the aggressive integration of his club after he took over.


Al Campanis.  As an instructor, scout, scouting director and general manager, he had a tremendous influence on the Dodgers for nearly five decades.  A disciple of Branch Rickey, he created and embodied "The Dodger Way."


Ben Cherington​,  Spent several years as farm director before becoming the Red Sox GM in 2012.  He made several key acquisitions that led to their 2013 World Series title.


Harry Dalton.  He spent many years as assistant farm director and farm director for the Baltimore Orioles before assuming the GM job in 1966.  His teams won four pennants and two World Series in six years, and he later ran the California Angels and Milwaukee Brewers.


Bing Devine​.  Had two long stints as GM of the Cardinals (1957-64, 1968-1978), sandwiching two years running the New York Mets. He built the champion 1964 Cardinals, and played a large role in the building of two other champs -- the 1967 Cardinals and the 1969 Mets.


Bill DeWitt, Sr.  He began his career working for Branch Rickey with the Cardinals, and later ran the St. Louis Browns, Detroit Tigers, and Cincinnati Reds.  He won pennants with the Browns (1944) and Reds (1961), and also spent five years as George Weiss's assistant with the Yankees.


Bill DeWitt, Jr.  The son of a famous baseball executive, the younger DeWitt bought the Cardinals in 1995 and has led them through a period of great success on and off the field.  Stressing player development, the Cardinals have made the playoffs 12 times on his watch, and won two World Series.


Barney Dreyfuss.  The long-time owner-operator of the Pirates (1900-1932), he built and presided over six pennant winners and two World Series champions.  He helped assure peace between the NL and upstart AL in 1903 when he agreed to pit his NL champion Pirates against the Boston American in a post-season series.


Theo Epstein.  Just 28 years old when he was named Red Sox GM in 2002, and two years later they won their first World Series in 86.  Another title followed in 2007, and he left to become president of the Cubs in 2012.


Charlie Finley.  He bought the Kansas City A's in 1960 and moved them to Oakland in 1967.  Operating without a GM, alienating employees and competitors alike, the A's won five straight division titles and three championships (1972-74).


Pat Gillick.  A well respected scout and scouting director, he became the original GM of the Blue Jays in 1976.  A remarkably innovated executive, he won two championships in Toronto (1992-93), turned around a struggling Orioles team in the late 1990s, built the 2001 Mariners into a 116-win juggernaut, and won another title in Philadelphia (2008). 


Lou Gorman​.  He had a long career in baseball, with senior front office stints with Batimore, Kansas City and the Mets, and served as the GM for the Mariners and Red Sox.  During his years in Boston (1984-93), he won three division titles and the 1986 AL pennant.


Roland Hemond.  In his long baseball career Hemond served as scout and scouting director, before two long stints as GM with the White Sox (1970-85) and Orioles (1988-95).  A three-time Executive of the Year, and the second winner of the Hall of Fame's Buck O'Neill award (after O'Neill himself).


John Henry.  After a brief and unsuccessful ownership of the Florida Marlins, in 2002 Henry led a group that purchased the Boston Red Sox.  The team soon took a big leap forward on and of the field, winning three championships and setting sellout records at Fenway Park.


Bob Howsam.​  A long time minor league operator, he got his first shot at GM with the Cardinals (1964-66), making key moves to help build the 1967 champions.  He is most famous as the architect of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine, winning five division titles and back-to-back World Series crowns (1975-76).


Ewing Kauffman​.  The pharmaceutical magnate established the expansion Kansas City Royals in 1968 and owned them until his 1993 death.  The Royals were a model organization during his tenure, winning five division titles, two penants and the 1985 World Series.


Paul Krichell.  The long time head scout for the New York Yankees, most famous for discovering Lou Gehrig.  He worked as Ed Barrow's chief assistant, with duties well beyond amateur scouting.


Frank Lane​.  The GM for five different teams (1948-72), he earned the nickname "Trader Lane" for his continual deal-making.  He made a few good deals with the White Sox in his first job, and after that seemed to make deals for little purpose and his teams rarely were in contention.


Larry Lucchino. He has served as president and CEO of three ballclubs -- the Orioles, Padres, and Red Sox.  In the first two roles, he spearheaded the creation of the Camden Yards and Petco Park.  In Boston, he oversees a thriving franchise, with an expanded and modernized ballpark, a rabid fan base, and three championships.


Jeff Luhnow.  Hired by Bill DeWit Sr. in 2003 to work in the Cardinals' farm department, within three years he was head of all player development and had made the Cardinals system the envy of most of baseball.  In 2011 he left to become general manager of the Astros.


Larry MacPhail.  His mercurial career in baseball included stints running the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees.  He brought night baseball, airplane travel, and regular baseball broadcasts to the game, and won pennants in Brooklyn and New York.


Lee MacPhail.  In his long and varied career in the game, he worked as Yankees farm director, Orioles general manager, assistant to the commissioner, Yankees general manager, AL president, and head of the Player Relations Committee, always moving to new jobs by his own choice.  In this two GM stints, his organizations greatly improved, helping lead to championships after he had left.


John McGraw.  After a great career as a player, McGraw earned everlasting fame as the manager of the New York Giants (1902-1932), winning ten pennants and three championships.  In this role, he had complete control over the roster of the team, making trades, scouting players, negotiating contracts.


Jim McLaughlin.  He served as the farm director for the Orioles through the 1950s, during the time the organization was becoming one of baseball's best.  Later held executive roles in player development and scouting with the Reds (1963-67) and back with the Orioles (1968-1979).


John Mozeliak​.  After 12 years with the Cardinals in their scouting department and as Walt Jocketty's assistant, he replaced Jocketty as GM after the 2007 season.  In subsequent years the club has won two NL pennants and the 2011 World Series.


Bill Neukom.  After making a fortune as a lawyer and later executive for Microsoft, he began investing in the Giants and became managing partner in 2008.  Under his watch the club streamlined their business and began using much more data-driven and analytical practices.  In 2010 the team won its first championship since its move to San Francisco 52 years earlier.  Neukom left the club after the 2011 season, but the team has won two more championships since.


Dick O'Connell.  After 15 years as a functionary in the Red Sox front office, was finally made the GM of the moribund franchise in late 1965.  By 1967 his club was a surprise pennant winner, and contended several more times in his 12 years in charge, also winning the 1975 AL pennant.


Walter O’Malley.  Assumed ownership control of the Dodgers in 1950 and held them until his 1979 death.  Most infamous for moving his club from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, the club had enormous success on and off the field (winning four championships, including Brooklyn's sole title).


Gabe Paul.  He spent 60 years in the game, including long tenures as GM of the Reds (1951-1960) and Indians (1961-1972, and 1978-1984).  He had his most success in his five years with the Yankees (1973-77), making several excellent trades and signings and winning the 1977 World Series.


Harry Pulliam. Spent several years working with the Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates under various titles, but generally served as the primary assistant to owner Barney Dreyfuss.  During a period of great turmoil in the NL, Dreyfuss successfully got Pulliam named as NL president, a role he held from 1903 until his 1909 suicide.


Jacob Ruppert.  As the principal owner of the Yankees from 1915 until his 1939 death, he built and presided over a dynasty, hiring brilliant men, creating a smooth-running organization, and adjusting rapidly to the ever-changing baseball landscape.


Paul Richards​.  A highly respected instructor and evaluator, and a successful manager with the White Sox and Orioles, his personality and ego likely hindered him as general manager (Orioles, Astros, Braves), where he had less success.


Branch Rickey.  The legendary team architect radically changed baseball twice: by creating a farm system with the Cardinals in the 1920s, and by signing Jackie Robinson for Brooklyn in 1945.  His teams won eight pennants and four World Series.


Brian Sabean.  Starting his career as a scout with the Yankees and Giants, he became San Francisco's GM in 1997.  Since then, Sabean has run a model baseball operations group, and the club has won four pennants and three World Series titles.


John Schuerholz.  Spent more than two decades with both the Royals and Braves, including long tenures as GM of each club.  He won World Series with each club, and a total of 16 divisional titles and six pennants.


Tal Smith.  His long career in baseball was highlighted by three stints as a senior executive with the Astros, including a highly successful turn as GM (1975-80) and a longer one as president (1995-2011), covering the team's two best periods.


George Steinbrenner.  The shipbuilder bought the Yankees in 1973 and ruled them until his 2010 death.  During a reign filled with drama and controversy, the club won 11 pennants and seven World Series.


Cedric Tallis.  After several years in the Angels front office, he became the first GM of the Royals in 1968 and made a great series of deals and drafts that built a solid team very quickly, a team that won four division titles and one pennant in the years after Tallis had left.  Later served two years as Yankees GM, including their 1978 championship season.


Syd Thrift.  He held many jobs in baseball operations, including stints as GM of the Pirates (1985-88) and Orioles (1999-2002). He is perhaps most famous for his role as head of the Kansas City Baseball Academy in the early 1970s.


Fresco Thompson.  Served 18 years (1950-1968) as the VP and farm director the Dodgers, presiding over a very productive and enviable system.  He was promoted to GM in 1968, but died of a heart attack a few months later.


Dan Topping, Sr.  Part of the group that bought the Yankees in 1945, he served as club president from 1947 to 1966.  The club had tremendous success during this period, though they were in disarray when he finally stepped down.


Del Webb.  After making a fortune in construction and real estate, he was part of a group that bought the Yankees in 1945.  After the ouster of Larry MacPhail in 1947, he and Dan Topping co-owned the club that won 14 pennants between 1949 and 1964.


George Weiss. After years running minor league teams, Jacob Ruppert hired him to run the Yankees farm system in 1933.  After creating an extraordinary organization, he became the club's GM in 1948, and won 10 pennants in his 13 years in charge.  He later was the first GM of the New York Mets.

Dramatis Personae