Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.
The Yankees Dynasty spanned from Ruth and Gehrig, on to DiMaggio and through Mantle. The party ended in 1965 and did not resume again for over a decade. Funny, then, that the 19th best GM of all time ran them from 1966 through 1973. That’s Lee MacPhail, son of Larry, who helped sift through the wreckage of the latter part of that dynasty in the mid-60s and laid the foundation for three pennants and two World Series titles in the 70s.
Before that he built the Orioles up too, departing just as he brokered the deal to bring Frank Robinson to Baltimore. As MacPhail spent a year as the assistant to the commissioner, his Orioles won the 1966 World Series.
Like our last entry — Cedric Tallis — MacPhail didn’t stick around to help his teams hoist the World Series trophy. Unlike Tallis, however, it wasn’t because he was fired. He just moved on to other things. And he always did them well.