When John Schuerholz took over the Atlanta's general manager position in 1991, no one knew what was ahead for the Braves. But Schuerholz revolutionized the GM position with something every team wants:
From the day Schuerholz took over, the Braves have been a winning organization. Fourteen straight division titles through 2004—with teams like the Mets and Phillies in the East—was not easy. And with the way contracts are nowadays, those days of consistency are gone.
There was one aspect of Schuerholz's tenure that made him a baseball legend: being a superior judge of talent.
Atlanta was the the breeding ground of many all-star players. The list could go on and on, but especially among those were Andrew Jones and Chipper Jones. Sure, anyone can sign players to deals—but not many can keep and develop players for the future.
Then, there were noteworthy players like Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, who were just starting out before the arrival of Schuerholz.
Not to mention one of the best steals in free-agent history. Cub fans, you know who I'm talking about—Greg Maddux.
Everybody wants to win now. But Schuerholz was one of the few people that just had too much will to allow anything but winning.
Almost 1600 wins—that, my friends, is success.
Not many GM's have a resume that can even compare to his. There is now a new standard for the position: You won't get by without being consistent.
Lately, the Braves have had marginal talent besides the Jones "brothers," Hudson, Smoltz and Teixeira. Risky deals are part of the game at the deadline, and without even flinching the GM traded top catching/hitting prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
This shows two things: his will to win and, again, being a superior judge of talent.
Schuerholz knew that Andrew Jones would not be retained in the off-season because of the sparse market for big-time hitters. Texieira was the man that would be able to take the Braves into another decade of winning. It was a great trade.
Many people criticize the fact that during this span of playoff appearances, the Braves only won one World Series title in 1995.
In the end, any fan would love the assurance every Spring that their team will make the playoffs. They might as well have printed playoff tickets well before each season, practically.
On the whole, Schuerholz leaving is an end of two eras.
The first is that of the Braves' level of consistency and success. The other is that of general managers being able to stay around for 10-plus years with one organization.
Time to wipe the slate clean, Atlanta fans. A new era of Braves baseball is on the horizon—
For better or worse.