To me, John Schuelholz is an Atlanta Brave; he’s been there for the last quarter century. But he’s only a Brave if we ignore the first quarter century of his amazing career. Schuerholz got started with the Orioles in 1966 and then became a Royal during Kansas City’s expansion season of 1969. And in 1981, he was promoted to the role of General Manager.
Four years later the Roylas won their only World Series before last year. Yes, he had a great core of George Brett, Willie Wilson, Frank White, Hal McRae, Bret Saberhagen, and Dan Quisenberry when he took over. Still, there was work to do to win the title. Catcher Jim Sundberg came over in a trade before the season. Steve Balboni was traded to KC two years earlier. He traded for Lonnie Smith in May. On the mound, he traded for Bud Black in 1982, drafted Danny Jackson later that year, and traded for Charlie Leibrandt in 1983.
It was 1990 when he went to the Braves. The next year Atlanta won the NL East, something they did thirteen consecutive times after that. The peak of the Brave run was a World Series title in 1995. His transactions over the time in Atlanta are too numerous to mention here. But Eric’s numbers show that he has the best winning percentage of any of the GMs we’ve explored. And he also has the best record against expectations. No, he didn’t win the World Series as much as some hoped, but he has two titles to his credit.
Overall, he’s responsible for hiring the excellent Dick Howser and the HoMEr Bobby Cox. He drafted HoMErs Kevin Appier and Bret Saberhagen, as well as future HoMEr Andruw Jones. He’s also responsible for Jason Heyward and Brian McCann. And his trades for Fred McGriff, Tim Hudson, and Jeff Montgomery were excellent. Plus, Atlanta he kept Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz together with Chipper and Andruw Jones during the free agency era. The guy knew what he was doing, and he won and won and won.
So John Schuerholz makes #18, which means there are only ten more to go to fill out our Pioneer/ Executive wing of the HoME. We’re just two weeks away from getting that number to single digits. Check back then to see inductee #19.