Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
I Shouldn't Be Dignifying This with a Response
2007-03-05 09:33
by Mark T.R. Donohue

But it's too funny not to.

According to, Kevin McHale is the best general manager in pro sports. Yes, that Kevin McHale. Secret-under-the-table deal with Joe Smith McHale. Best seven-footer in the game and only one season making it past the first round of the playoffs McHale. Hysterical. Dan O'Dowd is 65th, but the methodology of the survey is frankly demented. GMs are credited for continuing to win while cutting payroll, so pretty much every NHL team that spent tons of money before the salary cap kicked in is represented in the Top 20. Other howlers in the top ten include the Bears' Jerry Angelo (who just managed to infuriate Lance Briggs by sticking the dread franchise tag on him, let his defensive coordinator walk over money issues, and came very close to losing head coach Lovie Smith over nickels and dimes) and the 76ers' Billy King (where do I even begin).

At least the franchise power rankings ESPN does every year make some effort to include fan satisfaction in the formula. I find it funny that two of the guys in Forbes' top three would easily make another list of the most loathed GM's in pro sports. The highest-ranking local GM on the list is the Avs' Pierre LaCroix, who while fully aware of the implications the salary cap would have on his premium-priced roster didn't manage to turn all of the veterans Colorado lost into any new talent and randomly traded David Aebischer straight up for a goaltender who was older, more injury-prone, and less good.

Even accepting that it fits Forbes' whole image to ignore quality of product and focus in on the bottom line, a lot of these guys have killed their teams. After mismanaging Philadelphia to the point where their one marketable star forced a trade, how is Billy King possibly going to sell tickets to Sixers games the next few years? If they don't get the first or second pick in the draft, they're going to be Clippers East for years to come. LaCroix managed to break the Avs' home sellout streak (which dated to when they first moved to Denver) and is gunning for their playoff appearance streak (ditto). So if Forbes want to do this again next year and not look very, very silly, they ought to work in some kind of future projection adjustment to their formula.

That ought to kick D O'D up a couple of spots.

2007-03-05 10:29:26
1.   Ruben F Pineda
Well, Billy Beane is #1 for baseball, so it has that going for them.

Forbes and their stupid articles and ideas. Thats why I spend all my student loan money on baseball tickets and Texas Hold 'Em tournaments.

2007-03-05 10:42:35
2.   Philip Michaels
It seems that an undue amount of weight was given to how the team performed after the GM was hired relative to how it performed under his predecessors. So if you were to take over a team that had taken its lumps as an expansion franchise and gotten it to the point where it routinely gets knocked out of the playoffs early -- hello, T-Wolves -- then you're going to be graded highly by Forbes, whether you deserve to be or not.

On the bright side, if Forbes is going to evaluate people relative to their predecessors, whoever takes over for Dan O'Dowd is going to be No. 1 with a bullet the next time they do this survey.

2007-03-05 10:58:49
3.   Ali Nagib
From the article:

"Our rankings compare each general manager to the final three years of his predecessor's tenure in two categories: (1) performance (regular season winning percentage and playoff win totals) and (2) payroll spending (relative to the league median). Performance counts twice as much in our scoring as payroll spending. Scores account for all teams where the GM held the office and are indexed to 100. A score of 120 in winning improvement means the GM won 20% more games than his predecessor. A score of 80 in payroll containment means the GM spent 20% more than the previous GM relative to the league median."

So, John Paxson ranks highly because he's only being compared to the post-Jordan Krause teams, and completely ignoring the 6 championships. I'm also curious how they compared someone like Jerry Jones, who's been GM for almost 2 decades, to his predecessors when so much has changed in the league during that time.

Obviously, this methodology is overly simplistic and fatally flawed, if nothing else because they completely ignored the MASSIVE economic shifts in the NHL, which dwarf the last 5 years of the other 3 sports combined (on impact, not raw dollars obviously).

2007-03-05 11:31:31
4.   StolenMonkey86
Here's the baseball list in order:


2007-03-05 12:25:13
5.   Adam B
Clearly Sabean, Gillick, Flanagan and Hendry are better than Cashman. Clearly.
2007-03-05 13:19:55
6.   El Lay Dave
4 One could argue the exact order, but at least the bottom three look about right.
2007-03-05 13:45:56
7.   Ali Nagib
There's no doubt that the MLB list is much more reasonable than the overall list. Cashman is most likely hurt by the massive payroll increases he's presided over, but since that was really all about Steinbrenner, it's hard to hang it on the Cash.
2007-03-05 15:38:05
8.   Mark T.R. Donohue
ESPN's John Hollinger: "For those who haven't seen it, Forbes magazine rated Kevin McHale as the No. 1 GM in sports this week. I can't wait for their upcoming issues that rate Darfur as the world's No. 1 tourist destination, Cheez Wiz as America's top food product, and 'Cabin Boy' as the century's best film."
2007-03-05 16:08:54
9.   Scott Long
I would only refute Hollinger on Cabin Boy. Strangely, this movie is so weird and unique that I find it hystercial. I know I might be one of handful of people on the planet that think this, but I have to support the genius of Chris Elliott.
2007-03-07 08:09:12
10.   Sebastian S
Theodore isn't just older, more injury-prone, and less good; he also has an albatross of a cap figure of 5.5 million with (I believe) a year left. He's both bad and untradeable, which really stings when considering the players they had to give up to fit under the salary cap (Forsberg, Blake, Tanguay).

Lacroix is no longer the Avs' GM, though. Francois Giguere is.

The timing of this Forbes' list happened to coincide with the Hockey News' yearly GM rankings. Even though the Red Wings' Ken Holland was mired around #90 on the Forbes list (despite having dumped salary and remaining successful in the cap era), he's the #1 ranking GM in THN's eyes.

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