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Oakland A’s hire Sandy Alderson as senior advisor

The A’s former GM returns home two decades later.

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s have hired Sandy Alderson as Senior Advisor to Baseball Operations, the team announced Tuesday.

Alderson previously worked in the A’s front office for 17 seasons from 1981-97. He first joined the organization in a legal capacity, as the team’s general counsel, but in 1983 he became the general manager and Executive VP of Baseball Operations. He eventually served as Team President for a few years toward the end of his tenure.

His final season with the A’s was ‘97, after which he gave way to new GM Billy Beane. While Beane is often credited as a pioneer in the sabermetric revolution, Alderson is the one who truly got that ball rolling in Oakland and mentored Beane in his ways. (That’s not meant to decry the great work Beane has done, but rather to point out that Alderson played a big role too. Both were important to the process.)

Unfortunately Alderson never repeated the same level of success he’d enjoyed in Oakland, where his team went to three World Series and won one of them. After leaving the A’s, he spent several years working for the MLB Commissioner’s Office (1998-2005), then took turns leading two other teams but never won another title. He was the CEO of the Padres from 2005-09, and then took over as GM of the Mets from the 2011 season until last summer, when he stepped aside for health reasons — specifically, a recurrence of the cancer he’d first been diagnosed with a few years prior. On the brightest of sides, the 71-year-old announced last weekend that he is now cancer-free, reports Dan Martin of the NY Post.

The A’s press release offers a couple of quotes.

“I am thrilled to welcome Sandy as a Senior Advisor to Baseball Operations,” said Billy Beane, A’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. “His mentorship and friendship have been invaluable to me over the course of my career, and I look forward to the expertise and perspective he will add at every level of the organization. David and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him back to Oakland.”

And from the man himself.

“I am really excited to return to the A’s and the Bay Area,” said Alderson. “I look forward to being as helpful as I can to Billy, David, and the rest of the Baseball Operations staff.”

Also check out Susan Slusser’s writeup at the S.F. Chronicle for a couple more neat connections with the Bay Area and the current A’s organization.

It’s basically impossible to analyze the pros and cons and details of a behind-the-scenes front office hire, so let’s not bother with that guessing game. The takeaways here are the return of an Oakland icon and a true pioneer of the sport in its current form, and the presence of one more bright, experienced mind. At the very least this is fun news because Alderson is a name we all should remember fondly, and who knows, maybe he’ll make some positive difference too.

Welcome home, Sandy!