Some decades ago a Major League Baseball team could be built around a core of great players and sustained until those players needed to be replaced. Money was going their way but there wasn’t a continuous exodus of good players to high dollar teams every time a contract ran out. With that era of MLB long gone, the Oakland Athletics are perhaps the most successful team in the majors that is not close to a high dollar team. They have their GM Billy Beane to thank for that.
Books have been written about this guy which I hesitate to say isn’t true of most GMs across the majors. He has continuously kept his team within the ranks of the best in the game in spite of having very limited funds to work with. Jason Giambi was built into a star and left for a big money deal. The list goes on and on including all sorts of incredible talents. At one time the A’s had one of the best pitching staffs in the big leagues only to see each of their three stars split and go to three different teams.
Yet, in spite of all of this Beane put a team on the field in 2013 that was good enough to win the American League West division title. He did the same thing in 2012 and there is little doubt that he will do the same again in 2014. Most of the time his small market team bests a high dollar one that is willing to pay any price to beat them. It really is one of the best stories in baseball for the past decade plus.
Now it would be self-deceit if we didn’t recognize Beane for being the baseball genius that he is. Once again in a year or two there will be players that leave for bigger contracts elsewhere. When they leave the A’s will once again rise to the occasion and be one of the best teams in baseball. Beane is the main reason for that fact and that makes him the best GM in the money era of Major League Baseball and surely one of the best ever.