General manager vets who are candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame’s executive suite

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The passage of the MLB trade deadline turns thoughts to the guys who have the biggest role in shaping a team’s championship potential: the 30 team general manager/chief executive types.

They’re the people in the spotlight at this time of year because it is their job to determine whether their team is a playoff contender or pretender, and swing deals that are both productive and appropriate to that determination.

The success or failure of those pressurized decisions will greatly shape our view of the talent of the chief execs. In time, it will even impact our assessment of their fitness for baseball’s highest honor, the Hall of Fame.

There are 40 people who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for their executive decision-making role. Among those 40, a dozen were inducted primarily for their roles as chief executives of one or more teams. You are familiar with many of their names: Branch Rickey, John Schuerholz, Ed Barrow, and Larry and Lee MacPhail.

Among the current and recent crop of team execs, more than that dozen probably merit serious consideration for induction in the near future. Part of the reason for that high number is the increased focus on the decisive role played by front offices in shaping team destinies. But a second reason is more basic: it so happens that the game has seen a significant upgrade in the talent level of team execs.

For most of baseball it was history for the ranks of team chief execs to be populated by former players or friends of the owner. No longer. Today by far the most common credential in front office management is an Ivy League or elite private school education, probably with a focus on finance or economics.

A look at 15 current or recently retired MLB team executives whose credentials as general manager say they merit serious consideration for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame

For various reasons, not all of them will make it. For that reason the list is broken into three groups: Five who are mortal locks, five who for one reason or another will probably end up being close calls and a final five who are likely to have a long wait if they ever get in at all.

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