While it is a common occurrence to see former Major League Baseball players transition into on-field coaching or instructional roles after their playing days are through, it is a rarer occasion in which past players move into front office roles at the big league level.
The most high-profile of such cases currently in the game is baseball legend, Nolan Ryan, co-owner and team president of the Texas Rangers. Mr. Ryan, a beloved hurler, baseball legend and Hall of Famer, can be seen nightly, right behind home plate, directly overseeing the on-field performance of the franchise he once played for in the latter stages of his career.
Of course, there are many managers and coaches that boast big league playing experience, but only a handful of former players occupy front office positions within the game. At the moment in the MLB, only three of the 30 general managers around the league are ex-big leaguers: Billy Beane of the Oakland A's, Ruben Amaro Jr. of the Phillies and Kenny Williams of the Chicago White Sox.
It may seem like a low percentage, but when one considers the various aspects of such a role that are far beyond simply knowing the game, it begins to make more sense. While those in instructional roles can clearly benefit from a wealth of playing experience, the facets of front office jobs that have little to do with the actual sport and more to do with business acumen and management expertise preclude many former players from reaching such levels within a franchise.
Along with Nolan Ryan, let's take a look at the 10 greatest former players to eventually transition into front office roles with a Major League Baseball franchise. These will be players that actually held a recognized, well-defined front office role, rather the countless ex-players that have occupied some type of nebulous "special adviser" or "consultant" role, as those are far too frequent and difficult to define to be focused upon here.