Theo Epstein is coming back to Yale. It won’t be as a student, however. He’s already “been there, and done that.” He graduated in 1995, then obtained a law degree in 2000 from the University of San Diego Law School while working with the San Diego Padres.
Instead of pursuing a legal career, he followed his passion for baseball, just like A. Bartlett (Bart) Giamatti did. After being president of Yale, Giamatti went on to become the Commissioner of Baseball, a term that was cut short after five months by his untimely death in 1989.
Epstein to be main speaker at Class Day
The current president of baseball operations for the World Champion Chicago Cubs and former general manager of the Boston Red Sox, Theo (his actual name) has been invited to be Yale’s Class Day speaker on May 21st.
He will deliver the Class Day address to the graduating Class of 2017 outdoors (weather permitting) on the Old Campus. He will take a place among a list of distinguished and well known people who have been honored by their selection.
Yale days noted for controversy
While in college, Epstein was the sports editor of the Yale Daily News. On the eve of a Yale-Harvard game, it published his controversial editorial that coaching legend Carm Cozza should step down. The paper was distributed to thousands upon entering the Yale Bowl. Cozza stayed on as coach, and neither man has forgotten about the incident. Epstein was reported later to have expressed his regrets.
Great achievements in Boston
When he took the position with the Red Sox, Theo was the youngest person ever to serve as general manager in Major League Baseball. He was to become the architect for the franchise’s 2004 World Series Championship, breaking the 86 year old “curse of the Bambino.”
At the time Theo was 30 years of age, and became the youngest general manager to win a World Series. Another accomplishment was that he is the only Red Sox GM to have had presided over more than three playoff teams (6) in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
More success in Chicago
Not content with his success in Boston, this past October, as the president of baseball operations, he helped the Cubbies to overcome an even longer World Series Championship draught than the one in Boston, covering 108 years.
Current Yale seniors, Joana Andoh and Larry Milstein, co-heads of the Class Day Committee, in a statement announcing Epstein’s role in the coming event, said that his “remarkable story is not only a story about baseball. It is a story of what is possible when you dream, have passion and talent, access every opportunity, and work incredibly hard. No one could have said that what he did could be done, not once, but twice. His story is one of turning dreams into reality. For this reason, we believe he is a perfect fit to speak to the Class of 2017 at our graduation.”
From Boston to Chicago
After 2004, Epstein also saw the team win the Series in 2007, while he was still its general manager. He is now in his sixth season with the Cubs, and is signed through 2021, following a five-year extension during the past off-season.
Since joining the Cubs’ organization, Epstein restructured the scouting and player development departments and front office, and acquired a championship level of players through trades, drafts, and free agency. He has made more than 45 trades during his tenure, which was culminated by 103 wins and the World Championship in 2016.
In 2009, Epstein was named Executive of the Decade for baseball by The Sporting News and was third on Sports Illustrated’s list of Top-10 GMs/Executives of the Decade in all sports.
I haven’t checked the baseball schedule for May 21, 2017. But if it calls for a game involving the Chicago Cubs, its President of Baseball Operations may not be able to make it. Theo Epstein will be delivering his own pitches that day under the Elms of Yale’s Old Campus.