Goldman: How Theo Epstein saved the Red Sox and now the Cubs

From SABR member Steven Goldman at Slate on October 25, 2016:

There are only so many owners and executives in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Tom Yawkey, who owned the Boston Red Sox from 1933 until his death in 1976, is one of them. When Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein is inducted, which will surely happen if his team beats the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series, it would be fitting if there was a parallel action to take Yawkey out. After all, Epstein’s career, which already includes breaking baseball’s other multigenerational championship drought, will have served as the ultimate corrective to the incompetence of people like Yawkey, who were responsible for “cursing” these teams in the first place.

Given that Fox’s World Series broadcasts will inevitably refer to the combatants’ long championship droughts approximately once every 3.5 seconds—that’s since 1908 for the Cubs and since 1948 for the Indians—it seems almost cruel to mention them now. Yet the Cubs’ drought, which stretches back to the Theodore Roosevelt administration and through two World Wars, includes seven trips to the World Series between 1910 and 1945, and spans the complete lifespan of Ernie Banks, is key to understanding Epstein’s unique résumé. Other general managers have won championships in two cities. But no one in baseball history has slayed the dragons that Theo Epstein has slayed.

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Originally published: October 26, 2016. Last Updated: October 26, 2016.