Felber: Brian Sabean, GM genius

From SABR member Bill Felber at The National Pastime Museum on January 10, 2018:

Ask any culturally alert fan to identify the best general manager of recent vintage and 10 out of 10 will point knowingly to Oakland’s Billy Beane. Their one-word rationale—Hollywood—will be as simple to grasp as it will be erroneous.

Nobody has written a book or made a movie about Brian Sabean, the genius general manager of the San Francisco Giants between 1996 and 2014 . . . but that’s the media’s problem, not Sabean’s. Aside from producing three World Series champions, the Giants under Sabean made eight trips to the postseason, more than any other NL West team, and compiled a .535 winning percentage. In the partisan environment that is California National League baseball, the best way to judge Sabean may be against his team’s mortal rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers.



Ponder those final two lines for a moment. Between 1997 and 2014, the Dodgers raced through a half-dozen front office bosses—Fred Claire, Tommy Lasorda, Kevin Malone, Dan Evans, Paul DePodesta, and Ned Colletti—in an effort to keep organizational pace with Sabean. Despite the fact that the Dodgers had a larger payroll virtually annually, only Colletti was eventually able to keep pace. And while Colletti did lead five Dodgers teams to the postseason—two more than Sabean during their overlapping tenures—his Dodgers could never win the big prize that came to the Bay Area three times in that span.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/brian-sabean-gm-genius

Originally published: January 10, 2018. Last Updated: January 10, 2018.