Dan's Dugout: Schuerholz Had Role Models • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Schuerholz Had Role Models

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Even at 76, John Schuerholz is not too old to forget his role models.

John Schuerholz and Andruw Jones were installed in the Braves Hall of Fame last month

John Schuerholz and Andruw Jones were installed in the Braves Hall of Fame last month

The lone unanimous selection of the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee this year, the soft-spoken executive teared up at times while taking questions from the media Monday at the Baseball Winter Meetings.

“I learned from Frank Cashen and I learned from Harry Dalton,” said Schuerholz, now vice chairman of the Atlanta Braves. “I also learned from experience.”

A Maryland native who once taught composition, grammar, and world geography to eighth-graders, Schuerholz started his baseball career in the Baltimore farm system and worked his way up the executive ranks. He eventually became the first general manager to win world championships in both leagues, with the 1985 Kansas City Royals and 1995 Atlanta Braves.

Schuerholz said his favorite Oriole was Brooks Robinson, both personally and professionally.

GM John Schuerholz and manager Bobby Cox formed a winning team

GM John Schuerholz and manager Bobby Cox formed a winning team

He also said he’s glad to still be working at his age.

“It takes time to develop pitchers,” he told a writer who asked whether the Braves could duplicate their worst-to-first season of 1991, the first in National League history. “But that’s what (president of baseball operations) John Hart and (general manager) John Coppolella are trying to do.”

Both are trying to emulate the success Schuerholz had in a 1993 swap that turned the Braves from pretenders to division champions.

“The Fred McGriff deal,” Schuerholz responded when asked to name his best trade. “We got him from San Diego in the middle of the 1993 season. The night he arrived, the stadium caught fire and we caught fire. He hit two home runs and we were on our way.”

In the last division race before the creation of three-division play mandated the addition of a wild-card winner, Atlanta erased a 10-game deficit to finish one game ahead of San Francisco in the National League West. A year later, the Braves switched the NL East.

Schuerholz wrote about that race, and many others, in his 2006 book Built to Win.

The only previous general manager to win world championships in both leagues was Pat Gillick, a member of the 16-member committee that elected Schuerholz.

Also chosen for enshrinement in Cooperstown was Allan H. (Bud)

Bud Selig was a lightning rod for controversy during his 22 years

Bud Selig was a lightning rod for controversy during his 22 years

Selig, who spent 23 years as Commissioner of Baseball. He was named on all but one ballot, with 12 votes needed for election.

Former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was rejected for the third time. Also bypassed by the voters were Mark McGwire, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, and former managers Lou Piniella and Davey Johnson.

Meetings Musings:

The Washington Nationals, already the Beast of the East in the National League, are confident they can land Andrew McCutchen from Pittsburgh, Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox, and perhaps Aroldis Chapman from free agency . . .

With four buyers and one seller, the American League East figures to make a lot of noise this week in Washington . . .

With Yoenis Cespedes and Carlos Beltran signed, the price is going up on remaining free-agent sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, not to mention sudden slugger Justin Turner . . .

Since a dozen teams have turned the worst-to-first trick since the Braves and Twins became the initial teams in that rare club, even teams that struggled last year think a few well-timed moves will push them in that direction.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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