Five Harvard baseball alumni who now occupy top spots in Major League Baseball front offices will return to Harvard for a question-and-answer panel Monday.
The event, co-sponsored by Friends of Harvard Baseball and the Harvard Varsity Club, will be held at the Harvard Club of Boston. According to the Harvard Varsity Club website, the session will be a chance to hear about “how Harvard baseball helped get [the former players] to where they are today” and “their insider information on their teams and the industry.”
The panel will include Michael Hill ’93, David Forst ’98, Peter Woodfork ’99, Jeff Bridich ’00, and Ben Crockett ’02.
Hill is the current president of baseball operations for the Miami Marlins, Forst is the general manager of the Oakland Athletic, and Bridich is the senior vice president and general manager of the Colorado Rockies. Crockett is employed closest to Harvard’s campus as the vice president of Player Development for the Boston Red Sox. Woodfork is employed directly by Major League Baseball as the senior vice president of baseball operations.
“We want to raise enough funds that we can be competitive, give coach [Bill] Decker what he needs, but certainly as a former player and someone who loves Harvard, I’m just happy to see more people… [participating] in the community,” O’Connell said.
The Friends of Harvard Baseball tapped Jon Paul Morosi ’04, a former Crimson sports editor, as moderator. Morosi currently reports for MLB.com and MLB Network.
“He’s also got Harvard connections, and he’s one of the guys that speaks and presents for a living,” O’Connell said. “We think he’ll do a great job sort of acting as master of ceremonies.”
Forst said becoming involved in the sports industry was a natural extension of his Harvard education and the time he spent as a member of Harvard baseball.
“I didn’t really know what else to do when I graduated, to be honest,” Forst said. “I wanted to keep playing, first and foremost, so I played a couple years of independent ball after graduation. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a GM or wanting to work in a baseball front office. I grew up wanting to play in the big leagues, and when that didn’t happen I figured this was the next best thing.”
Forst said his resume was unique when he broke into the industry. These days, though, professional sports front offices are flooded with former Ivy League athletes and those without any playing experience alike, Forst added.
“The game has progressed to the point where you don’t have to have played the game, really to any extent, to be successful,” Forst said. “So it’s opened up the field to a much more diverse group of candidates, which is great. But it’s made it incredibly competitive for anyone wanting to get into sports.”
Like Forst, other members of the panel said they leveraged their Harvard education and baseball experience into roles at the forefront of the sports business.
“Harvard’s a special place, but Harvard baseball is too, and we have a really unique distinction with so many former players working for Major League teams and in the Major League front office,” O’Connell said. “So it’s just pretty special to have that sort of insider level of knowledge, and we think the community will like it.”
—Staff writer Jack Stockless can be reached at email@example.com.
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