Epstein in Top 100 was right choice

Sam Allery, Reporter

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Epstein holding up the championship trophy after the Cubs win the seventh game of the World Series. It was the first Cubs championship since 1908. (AP Images/David J. Phillip)

A team is more than just its players.

Theo Epstein is proof of the “behind-the-scenes” people making a difference. He is the current General Manager (GM) of the Chicago Cubs and the former GM of the Boston Red Sox. Epstein was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.

While this isn’t exactly an unusual occurrence, no actual baseball players accompanied Epstein on the list. Epstein is known for breaking two of the longest championship droughts in baseball.

Epstein’s first year working for the Boston Red Sox was 2002, when he worked under Larry Lucchino, the CEO of the Boston Red Sox. In 2003, Epstein became the General Manager of the Red Sox before the 2003 season and remained in that slot until 2011.

Epstein became known when he led the Red Sox to their first title in 86 years in 2004.

After the team failed to make the playoffs in 2002, Epstein drastically improved the Red Sox in the offseason. Epstein signed David Ortiz to fill the first base/designated hitter hole, which proved to be one of the most successful signings in the history of the franchise.

Ortiz went on to become a member of the “500 homerun club” and was a crucial part of the championship teams in 2004, 2007, and 2013. Epstein was able to get the production of Ortiz for less than seven million dollars per year from 2003-2006. Ortiz would also come in very clutch for Boston, as he won an American League Championship Series (ALCS) MVP award and a World Series MVP.

Epstein also acquired Curt Schilling from the Arizona Diamondbacks after the 2003 season. Schilling came in second place for the Cy Young Award in 2004 and led the league in wins with 21. Schilling also won game six of the 2004 ALCS to tie the series at three games a piece.

After the 2011 season, Epstein became the President of the Chicago Cubs, which is the position he has today.

When Epstein first got to the Cubs, they lost 101 games (out of 162) and were the second worst team in baseball ahead of only the Houston Astros.

One of the best moves that Epstein has made was trading with the San Diego Padres for Anthony Rizzo. The deal mainly consisted of Andrew Cashner going to the Padres and Anthony Rizzo going to Chicago. Rizzo has hit 30 home runs in the last three seasons and has driven in over 100 runs in the last two.

Another successful move by Epstein was trading for Jake Arrieta. In July of 2013, the Orioles sent Pedro Strop and Jake Arrieta to the Cubs for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger. From 2014 to 2016, Arrieta had an ERA of 2.42 and won 50 games for the Cubs.

After ending these championship droughts, Epstein has become one of if not the best executives in the game. He has signed several players who have impacted his team for years. While these players have impacted their teams in numerous important ways, Epstein is the one who analyzed the statistics, made the deals, and brought the players to the teams.

Overall, Epstein has had a bigger impact than the players on the team, and his place in the top 100 most influential is well deserved.