We’ve been critical of JS’ work since he left the GM’s chair but there’s no debating his importance to the organization. But if not for a phone call from Stan Kasten to White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, JS may have never come to the Braves. That one call set off a chain of events that could have kept Greg Maddux from free agency in 1993.
For weeks it had seemed a foregone conclusion that Larry Himes would be named the general manager of the Atlanta Braves soon after the season. In fact, the Braves reportedly came within hours of calling a press conference to announce the selection of Himes a week ago. …
A source in Atlanta said Kasten changed his mind after speaking to Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, a charge Reinsdorf hotly denied.
Himes, formerly the White Sox GM, ended up taking the same job with the Cubs, where he would soon do the Braves a gigantic favor.
And how lamentable is the departure of Maddux? One day you have a Cy Young winner, and the next you don’t.
“Let’s just examine how this worked out,” Himes says. Isn’t it always the way? I knew how many games Maddux had won and he doesn’t ask. 20.
Himes forms with his hands an imaginary pile of money. This was Maddux’s money. Maddux didn’t take it in time. Now this money belongs to Jose Guzman and Dan Plesac and Greg Hibbard and Randy Myers.
“If this had been a trade,” Himes swears, “I would have had to take it.”
A different GM would’ve probably tried harder to sign Maddux, keeping him in Chicago. Think how the fortunes of the Braves may have changed if not for that one phone call.