How about this for a flashback? In May of 2005, USA Today ranked the position of Yankees G.M. as the 7th worst job to have in all sports, overall. In the feature, they posted a nice timeline of Yankees G.M.’s since 1973 (when Big Stein bought the team). Here it is, with the Cashman line updated by me:
- 1973 Lee MacPhail, GM Holdover from Michael Burke/CBS era.
- 1974-77 Gabe Paul, president Architect of 1977-78 championship teams.
- 1978-79 Al Rosen, president, and Cedric Tallis, vice president/GM Add Bob Lemon, with an asterisk. In July 1978, Steinbrenner announced manager Lemon would succeed Tallis as GM in 1980 when Billy Martin returned to the dugout. When Martin came back early (June 1979), Lemon held the GM title without the power for five months.
- 1980 Gene Michael, vice president/GM Stepped down to become manager in 1981.
- 1981-83 Cedric Tallis, executive VP, and Bill Bergesch, VP/baseball operations GM title eliminated, for 2½ years.
- 1983 Murray Cook, VP/GM Named in June 1983, demoted following April.
- 1984 Bill Bergesch, VP/baseball operations, and Clyde King, GM Bergesch left Steinbrenner to become Cincinnati GM in October; Marge Schott bought controlling interest of the Reds in December.
- 1985-86 Clyde King, vice president/GM Steinbrenner’s trusted, longtime adviser.
- 1987 Woody Woodward, vice president/GM Worked two years as King’s No. 2 before replacing him. Quit after a year, joined Phillies a week later.
- 1988 Lou Piniella, vice president/GM Manager bounced upstairs when Martin was hired for fifth time. Stepped down in May, replaced Martin in dugout in June.
- 1988 Bob Quinn, vice president/GM Promoted from VP/baseball administration in June.
- 1989 Syd Thrift, senior vice president/ baseball operations Hired in March, resigned in August.
- 1989 Bob Quinn, vice president/GM Regained lost duties in August, left in October to take Reds GM job.
- 1990 Harding Peterson, vice president/GM, and George Bradley, vice president for player personnel Peterson demoted by Steinbrenner on the day before Boss’ suspension in August.
- 1990-95 Gene Michael, vice president/GM Lasted 5½ years; Steinbrenner was suspended 2½ of them. Helped rebuild Yankees into contenders.
- 1996-97 Bob Watson, vice president/GM Put finishing touches on 1996 championship team, trading for Tino Martinez and Joe Girardi.
- 1998-present Brian Cashman, senior vice president/GM. (1998-99: GM; 2000: vice president/GM; 2001-present: senior VP/GM) Six World Series appearances in twelve years.
Now, I would agree, in the 1980′s, it was no fun being the Yankees G.M. – for sure. But, today? I would suggest that things have changed – especially since, say, 2006 or 2007, with “The Boss” being out of the picture. In fact, I would bet that most of the G.M.’s in baseball would love a chance to be in charge of the Yankees and be able to operate with a payroll that’s in the ballpark of $200 million each season.
So, that’s leads to this question: Is the position of “Yankees G.M.” now one of the ten best in all of sports to have? What do you think?