Today’s election opens the final eight Pioneers/Executives until we catch up with the Hall of Fame. As such, they’re getting more and more difficult. We have to compare potential electees not to those who are already in, but to those with whom they’re competing for the remaining eight spots. After all, it’s an exercise in futility to try to find another no-brainer like Branch Rickey or Henry Chadwick. Rather, we’re comparing our remaining general managers, owners, pioneers, scouts, coaches, commissioners, and announcers to others of their ilk to see who comes out one top.
Buzzie Bavasi spent almost 18 seasons as General Manager of the Dodgers, from 1950 through 1968. That year he left to become President and part owner of the expansion Padres. His final executive stop was with the Angels for seven seasons following the close of the 1977 campaign. All told, he made it to eight World Series, winning the first four World Series ever for the Dodgers: 1955, 1959, 1963, and 1965.
Those titles eclipse the totals of anyone else left on our board. And he won at quite a clip, .524, even though the expansion Padres really didn’t help his cause. He added more WAR than all but one GM we’re still considering, and he was very much responsible for the success of his teams. For example, the 1960s Dodger teams were about 95% his acquisitions. The 1982 and 1986 playoff Angels were 91% and 86% his acquisitions, respectively.
And he’s the General Manager who hired Walter Alston. That can hardly be overemphasized on a team that transition from Jackie Robinson to Sandy Koufax to Steve Garvey. Further backing the idea that he had an idea for talent, he brought in Sparky Anderson as one of the Padre coaches in 1969, the season before he got his first managerial gig.
Buzzie Bavasi makes Pioneer/Executive inductee #21 into the Hall of Miller and Eric. Please check back in two weeks as we get to within six of this project’s completion.