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Theo Epstein

(1973 - )

Theodore Nathaniel Epstein is a Jewish American baseball executive.

Epstein was born on December 29, 1973 in New York City and raised in Massachusetts. Epstein graduated with a degree in American Studies from Yale University and afterwards took his first job in baseball, working in public relations for the San Diego Padres. While working for the Padres, Epstein attended the University of San Diego Law School, eventually earning his law degree.

In November 2002, the Boston Red Sox hired Epstein to serve as their General Manager (GM), making the 28-year old the youngest GM in the history of the Major Leagues. The decision paid off quite quickly when the team Epstein helped build won Boston’s first World Series championship in 86 years in 2004.

Epstein resigned from his position in October 2005, declining a lucrative three-year contract, but was rehired as GM and Executive Vice President in 2006. He resigned again in 2008.

In October 2011, Epstein agreed to a five-year contract to serve as the President of Baseball Operation for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs finished in last place in the National League Central for the first three years of Epstein's presidency, as the focus was to acquire young talent rather than maximize short-term competitiveness. The rebuilding program worked, and the Cubs clinched their first playoff berth since 2008 in 2015. They advanced to the National League Championship Series, where they were swept by the New York Mets.

Epstein re-signed with the club on September 28, 2016, with a five-year contract estimated to be worth up to $25 million. The Cubs finished the 2016 season with a 103–58 record, the best in baseball and their best since 1910. In the playoffs, they defeated the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, winning their first pennant since the 1945 season and breaking the so-called “Curse of the Billy Goat.” The Cubs then won their first World Series championship since 1908 when they defeated the Cleveland Indians in seven games.

In November 2020, Epstein announced he was leaving his position with the Cubs. A few months later he joined  Arctos Sports Partners, a private-equity firm dedicated to buying minority shares of professional sports teams, as “executive-in-residence.”

In 2007, the United States Sports Academy named Epstein the recipient of its Carl Maddox Sport Management Award. In December 2008, Baseball America named Epstein its Baseball America Major League Executive of the Year and, in September 2009, Epstein was named Sporting News Executive of the Decade. He was named Sporting News Executive of the Year in 2016. The following year Fortune Magazine ranked Epstein #1 on their 2017 list of the “World’s Greatest Leaders” and Time Magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people.

Epstein’s “Hot Stove Cool Music” are biannual Boston and Chicago benefit concerts that have raised millions of dollars for the "disadvantaged youth and families" of the respective cities.

Epstein is married and the couple have two sons.

Source: “Theo Epstein,” Wikipedia.
Jared Diamond, “Theo Epstein Joins Private-Equity Firm That Is Buying Stakes in Teams,” Wall Street Journal, (February 1, 2021).

Photo: Patrick Lentz licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.