Congratulations to the champion Chicago Cubs on a historic season and an unforgettable World Series. Savor this long-awaited moment of glory because it’s been more than 100 years in the making – and don’t forget to send a thank you card to Oakland A’s executive Billy Beane while you’re at it.
Where would the Cubs have been this season without all the key players that have logged time in Oakland during Beane’s career leading the A’s front office? World Series MVP Ben Zobrist, ace Jon Lester, young stud shortstop Addison Russell and versatile veteran utility player Chris Coghlan? They were all acquired by Beane at some point in their careers before they experienced the ultimate postseason victory this year with the Cubs.
Unfortunately, for all of Beane’s accomplishments as an executive a World Series ring has remained out of reach for the cash-strapped A’s. But even though his efforts have never paid off with a World Series title for Oakland, how could any other team win a championship without Beane’s never ending, small-budget roster churn?
Say what you will about Beane, but the man can certainly identify and acquire players who eventually make their mark on World Series winners. The bad news? Cost constraints have prevented him from keeping enough of those key players together long enough to raise a fifth championship banner in Oakland.
As an executive, Beane may not have a World Series ring to show for his relentless efforts but his fingerprints have been all over championship rosters since he rose to power in Oakland in 1997.
The 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and the 2003 Florida Marlins are the only teams to win a World Series without a single player acquired by Beane prior to their stint with a championship club. In these rare cases, the flow of championship players went in the other direction. 2001 D’backs slugger Erubiel Durazo and catcher Damian Miller and 2003 Marlins pitcher Mark Redman were eventually brought to Oakland by Beane via trades.
Here’s a quick look at all the World Series winners during the Beane era and how they have reaped the rewards of his many former players: