UPDATED: January 24, 2018 at 2:07 a.m.
Five Harvard Baseball alumni who are now top Major League Baseball executives discussed their careers and the baseball industry at a question-and-answer event hosted at the Harvard Club of Boston on Monday evening.
The panelists included Michael L. Hill ’93, David L. Forst ’98, Peter N. Woodfork ’99, Jeff T. Bridich ’00, and W. Ben Crockett ’02—all of whom had donned Crimson uniforms on the diamond years ago.
Hill is the current president of baseball operations for the Miami Marlins, Forst is the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, Bridich is the senior vice president and general manager of the Colorado Rockies, and Crockett is the vice president of Player Development for the Boston Red Sox. Woodfork is the senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball.
The event was moderated by Jon Paul Morosi ’04, a former Crimson sports editor who currently reports for MLB.com and the MLB Network. The panelists also fielded questions from the audience afterwards.
“It ultimately started here,” Forst said. “We all got an opportunity to get where we are because we were able to play [for Harvard baseball]…It’s hard to overstate what this program has meant to us.”
Hill echoed Forst’s remarks, emphasizing defining moments, both on and off the field, during his time at Harvard.
“As a freshman, I got the opportunity to play left field [in the Beanpot],” Hill said. “I’m an 18-year-old kid and I’m playing left field at Fenway Park, and I’m like, ‘you gotta be kidding me.’”
The panelists also talked about transitioning from Harvard to the professional baseball scene, ascending to their front-office roles, and the challenge of cutting professional players. Woodfork spoke about steps by the MLB to improve diversity in baseball.
When discussing major league trades, the panelists emphasized that trust plays a large role in teams’ interactions with each other.
“There has to be a give-and-take. When you’re dealing with one of your colleagues, there has to be a foundation there,” Bridich said. “It is one of the more enjoyable parts of what we do, getting to talk to 29 other clubs.”
Towards the end of the event, audience members asked questions on team chemistry, advice to college students entering the MLB, and tanking in sports.
Attendees of the event included the current Harvard baseball team, Head Coach Bill K. Decker, and Harvard Corporation member Joseph J. O’Donnell ’67. O’Donnell and Decker gave closing remarks, ending the event by gifting the six guests with Harvard baseball apparel.
This article has been revised to reflect the following clarification:
CLARIFICATION: January 24, 2017
A previous version of this article indicated that the baseball panel was hosted by the Harvard Club of Boston. To clarify, the baseball panel was hosted at the Harvard Club of Boston.
—Staff writer Bryan Hu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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