TU alumnus John Schuerholz inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

By Bill Stetka '77 on July 30, 2017

Schuerholz, class of 1962, was honored as a "gifted team builder whose steady eye for talent consistently produced winning results."

John Schuerholz at his induction ceremony. (photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
John Schuerholz at his induction ceremony. (photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Summing up more than a half-century as a Major League Baseball executive, John Schuerholz ’62 said it was “divine providence, or fate, if you will,” that impacted his life from the start.

During his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, Schuerholz cited numerous instances that led him to the stage in Cooperstown, New York, where he was honored: being born into an athletic Baltimore family; the partial deafness as a child that made him listen more intently; and later, the seemingly random acts and casual conversations that would take his career from the minor league department of the Baltimore Orioles, to the Kansas City Royals and on to the Atlanta Braves, where he now serves as vice chairman.

One act of providence, he said, came before his junior year at Towson, where he excelled at soccer and baseball. With hopes of a career playing professional baseball, he attended a two-day tryout that taught him he might best apply himself otherwise.

“I thought I had a good first day,” he recalled to the more than 20,000 fans and 50 previously enshrined Hall of Famers seated at the Clark Athletic Center. But on the second day, the scout in charge “quickly hands me a camp roster, and quickly handed me a stop watch, and says to me, ‘Schuerholz, I want you to get accurate home-to-first running times on every one of these position players left in camp.’”

“With that honest dose of scouting reality,” he said, “I redoubled my focus on my teaching career.”

Several years later, while teaching middle school history, he wrote to the Orioles and was soon hired as an assistant in the minor league department. Moving three years later to the Royals, a new expansion team, he eventually was named general manager. Twenty-one years later, he moved to the Braves as vice president and general manager before becoming club president and, eventually, vice chairman.

His induction plaque, which now hangs in the Hall of Fame museum here along with 312 other baseball immortals—only six of whom were elected as general managers—clearly states why he was honored:

JOHN BOLAND SCHUERHOLZ JR.

Gifted team builder whose steady eye for talent consistently produced winning results. Learned his craft in the player personnel department of the mid-1960s Orioles before joining the expansion Royals. Developed talented Kansas City nucleus into an A.L. powerhouse, advancing to the post-season seven times in a 10-year stretch. Named general manager in 1981 and led franchise to first World Championship in 1985. Took over as Braves' general manager and constructed rosters that would qualify for 14 straight post-seasons, winning five N.L. pennants and the 19955 Fall Classic. First GM to win World Series titles in both leagues. Continued as club president and vice chairman following his days as primary team architect.

More than 40 Towson alumni, including several teammates, classmates, and Schuerholz relatives, made the trek to upstate New York to honor Schuerholz’s journey. James Gede ’53, Mike Gill ’75, Gary Gill ’75, George Henderson ’62, and Molly Shock ’75, were among some of the alumni that gathered in Cooperstown to celebrate Schuerholz.

He made mention of his time at Towson—“Towson State Teacher’s College, then, and now, Towson University”—in remarks both Sunday and at a reception honoring him and former baseball commissioner Allen H. “Bud” Selig, who also was among the 2017 Hall of Fame inductees.

“He not only did great things with the Atlanta Braves and the Kansas City Royals, but he did great things in the best interests of baseball,” Selig said during Saturday’s reception, noting Schuerholz’s willingness to help the game of baseball along with his own teams.

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Brian Good '12 is a sports editor at the Daily Star in Oneonta, New York, which is also the home paper for the Hall of Fame. Read his article on the induction ceremony featuring John Schuerholz '62.