• From BP Pitcher To The Best GM In The Game?

    Posted by on December 11th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Have you ever heard the John Mozeliak story? Here it is, via Wiki:

    John “Mo” Mozeliak is the current Senior Vice President and General Manager (GM) of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) St. Louis Cardinals. So far his only GM position, the Cardinals hired Mozeliak as the twelfth GM in franchise history after the 2007 season after serving and training as Walt Jocketty’s assistant. Two of Mozeliak’s trades proved key to the Cardinals’ 2011 World Series-winning season, acquiring relievers to help stabilize an inconsistent bullpen and third baseman David Freese, whose come-from-behind hits propelled St. Louis to win the Series in record-breaking fashion. The Cardinals’ minor league farm system has received numerous accolades and high rankings due its dramatic improvement during Mozeliak’s era. Entering the 2013 season, Mozeliak’s teams have a .542 winning percentage –– each finished with a winning record –– along with one World Series title, two National League pennants, and three total playoff appearances. He is currently signed through the 2016 season.

    Mozeliak attended Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado. He played for the school’s baseball team as a pitcher and first baseman. He also played American Legion baseball. Mozeliak attended the University of Arizona before ultimately graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    In 1993, Mozeliak was introduced to Bryn Smith, pitcher for the Colorado Rockies, by Jay Darnell, the Rockies’ video coordinator. Smith was looking for a location to go fly fishing. A few days after Mozeliak took Smith fly fishing, the Rockies invited Mozeliak to serve as a batting practice pitcher, since they needed someone who could throw left handed. Dante Bichette took a liking to Mozeliak, and they created a clubhouse job for Mozeliak. He began to work with Bob Gebhard, the Rockies’ general manager (GM), and Walt Jocketty, the assistant GM.

    When Jocketty was hired as the GM of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1995, Mozeliak went to St. Louis as well. He served as an assistant within the scouting department and later spent five seasons as Jocketty’s assistant GM. He became the assisting scouting director in 1998. The next season, Mozeliak was promoted to scouting director and oversaw the drafting of talent such as Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. He garnered much attention as a major up-and-coming GM in the industry and interviewed with the Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros.

    On October 3, 2007, Chairman of the Board of Directors Bill DeWitt announced that the Cardinals had mutually parted ways with Jocketty and “had cordially and respectfully” done so on philosophical differences of player development. Mozeliak then took over as interim GM. Tension arose dating back to 2006 after Jeff Luhnow, now the Astros’ GM, was promoted to vice president of amateur scouting and player development. After more than a decade as GM, Luhnow’s promotion tacitly signaled he had usurped that sphere of Jocketty’s authority. While DeWitt interviewed other candidates for the position, it appeared Cleveland Indians assistant GM Chris Antonetti was the early favorite. However, Indians ownership improved Antonetti’s offer to take over the full GM position and enticed him to stay. On the evening of October 30, 2007, Mozeliak accepted the Cardinals’ offer and was formally introduced as the new GM the next day.

    It sure does pay to be left-handed and be able to throw strikes! And, it doesn’t hurt to know good fishing spots.

    The Cardinals fans are so lucky this all fell into place for them.

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