Was working at MLB Network a few weeks ago when I ran into a familiar face in the makeup room…
LEGENDARY baseball executive John Hart.
I first met John a few years ago when he began working at MLB Network, and I can quite honestly say I have met very few people ever like him. Simply put, he is handsome, engaging, endearing, innovative, an ultimate competitor and a true gentlemen. Oh yea, John happens to be an avid Daily Hustler as well. 👊
John was a former college All-American and minor league player before joining the professional ranks as a manager in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He joined the big league coaching staff in Baltimore before eventually moving on to join the Cleveland Indians as a special assignment scout, interim big league manager and eventual director of baseball operations, general manager and executive Vice President.
While in Cleveland, John made a commitment to the process of building a winning organization… Instead of focusing on high priced free agents to provide a quick fix, Hart and his staff made the draft, player development and value trades their top priority. The Indians also figured out that the most economical way to survive was by locking up pre-arbitration eligible players and then enticing older veterans to stay with the team. From 1991-2001 under Hart’s guidance, the Indians went from the bottom dwelling losers we all remember in the movie Major League to a perennial powerhouse… The Tribe compiled an 870-681 record in that time, won 6 division titles and went to 2 World Series.
Since 2001, John worked in various executive roles with the Texas Rangers and most recently oversaw the resurgence of the Atlanta Braves organization, who went from the basement of the NL East a few years ago to back to back division champs.
When people talk about the sabermetrics or analytics revolution, John Hart is usually not one of the first names you hear… Yet it was Hart who was at the forefront of the modern baseball business model predicated on finding and retaining value others may not recognize.
I have always enjoyed picking John’s brain, and a few years ago the two of us went to dinner and enjoyed a few adult beverages at Bodega Negra on a Loco Monday. 😜
So the other day in the makeup room, I pressed him on the current state of the game and what sort of effect analytics have played on the relationship between general managers, managers and players… More or less, this was his response:
“Byrnesie, at the end of the day, it’s all about surrounding yourself with ‘DUDES.’ Dudes that can play and dudes that you want to work with and be around… Relationships between the analytics group, GM, manager and players have to do with the people. When you have good communication and a group of ‘DUDES’ that are willing to work their asses off and take a chance, a successful organization is built.”
That said, not only should we focus on surrounding ourselves with “DUDES,” let’s make sure we are one of them. 😎