Schuer­holz’s forte: Build­ing win­ners

Hall of Famer won ti­tles in each league

The Signal - - MLB - Danielle Allentuck @d_al­len­tuck USA TO­DAY Sports

John Schuer­holz’s sto­ried pro­fes­sional base­ball ca­reer be­gan with a let­ter.

Schuer­holz, a base­ball and soc­cer player in col­lege, had just grad­u­ated from Tow­son State Uni­ver­sity and was pur­su­ing a ca­reer as a teacher when he sent an in­quiry let­ter to then-Bal­ti­more Ori­oles owner Jerold Hoff­berger in 1966. It was a last at­tempt to re­turn to the sport he loved, and he was hired as the per­sonal as­sis­tant to Lou Gor­man, the Ori­oles’ di­rec­tor of player de­vel­op­ment, and be­gan to make his mark on the sport.

Three years later, he was work­ing in the ex­pan­sion Kansas City Roy­als front of­fice and would rise to be­come one of base­ball’s best gen­eral man­agers. Fifty-one years later, Schuer­holz, 76, en­ters the Hall of Fame.

Schuer­holz moved up to Roy­als di­rec­tor of scout­ing and player de­vel­op­ment in 1976 and vice pres­i­dent of player per­son­nel in 1979. In 1981, Schuer­holz be­gan his ca­reer as the Roy­als gen­eral man­ager and, at 41, was the youngest GM in the ma­jor leagues. He got the Roy­als to the World Se­ries in 1985, when they de­feated the St. Louis Car­di­nals in a seven-game clas­sic.

Schuer­holz left for the At­lanta Braves in 1990. It was a team that had failed to win more than 72 games the pre­vi­ous six sea­sons. Along with man­ager Bobby Cox, he helped mold At­lanta into a con­sis­tent win­ner that would claim a record 14 con­sec­u­tive di­vi­sion ti­tles start­ing in 1991, Schuer­holz’s first sea­son on the job.

“I had to some­how get rid of the los­ing men­tal­ity the or­ga­ni­za­tion suf­fered from,” Schuer­holz told au­thor Dan Schloss­berg for the book When the Braves Ruled the Di­a­mond. “I had to de­feat and erad­i­cate ap­a­thy. Be­fore I took the job, I an­a­lyzed the team’s strengths, as­sets and de­fi­cien­cies. The de­ci­sion I reached was made af­ter an­a­lyz­ing all the things I’d found to be good, not so good and even down­right dis­ap­point­ing about the Braves.”

The Braves won the Na­tional League pen­nant in 1991, los­ing a seven-game World Se­ries to the Min­nesota Twins, but won the 1995 World Se­ries ti­tle against the Cleve­land In­di­ans. Schuer­holz be­came the first GM to win a World Se­ries ti­tle in both leagues and reached three other World Se­ries with the Braves.

In 2007, Schuer­holz be­came the Braves team pres­i­dent, a po­si­tion he held un­til 2016. He is now a Braves vice chair­man and serves as an ad­viser to the team.

Schuer­holz will be the sixth in­ductee into the Hall of Fame whose pri­mary job was as an ex­ec­u­tive. He was elected unan­i­mously on the To­day’s Game Era bal­lot, which in­cludes play­ers, man­agers and ex­ec­u­tives from 1988 to present.

“I knew that I had to work hard and keep my eyes and ears open and learn from peo­ple and have a work ethic that was ap­pro­pri­ately re­quired and ex­pected,” he told The Bal­ti­more Sun in De­cem­ber. “And I did that.”


John Schuer­holz, right, was the ar­chi­tect of a Braves team that won 14 con­sec­u­tive di­vi­sion crowns.

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