Q&A: former Braves GM and President John Schuerholz

Joining the likes of Arthur Blank, Bobby Cox and Vince Dooley, John Schuerholz received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Atlanta Sports Awards in a recent ceremony. Before accepting the honor, the Braves’ former General Manager reflected on his time in Atlanta in an exclusive, one-on-one interview with the AJC. 

Q. What was your favorite moment as a general manager?

A. My favorite moment as a GM (was) probably when we won the World Series both in Kansas City in (1985) and especially in Atlanta in ’95. In both communities, quite honestly, it activated and stimulated and motivated the baseball fans that hadn’t had much to cheer for until those things occurred. From a personal standpoint, of course, last summer when I was inducted into the Hall of Fame. That is the absolute highlight of my baseball life. 

Q. What was the best move you made as a GM?

A. Building teams is not about a move. It’s a collaboration of building the best matrix or strongest fabric of a team by putting the right players (together). Maybe complementary players with star players. You can’t have have all star players. You can’t have all high-price players. You’ve got to blend the talent. I think what I’ve done best in my life was to do that — blend talent that works together well and works together with the management. Like a quilt. Like the fabric of a good quilted chair. 

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Q. Is there a move or decision you would take back?

A. I have no time to answer that. I have so many to list. I’ve made many good deals and some that didn’t work out, but all were made with the same process. That’s the important thing for people to know. I used very intelligent people, very good baseball men, very good scouts, very good opinionated people, very instinctive people, and they recommended their opinions to me. They gave me their opinions, and I had to decide at the end what I was going to do. But the information I was getting was all high-quality information from high-quality people, and I felt very comfortable about the process. I used the same process when the deal turned out well or excellent as I did when the deal turned out as a stinker a couple of times. But I used the same process. 

Q. What was your favorite moment from the 1991 season?

A. The World Series. When we got into the World Series in 1991, we were a worst-to-first team. We had finished last three years in a row and were worst to first. But so, too, were the Minnesota Twins worst to first in the American League, so that was unique. But we played the Minnesota Twins, who had an indoor facility. In four of the games, unfortunately, we played in that facility indoors. We won game every game outdoors, three, and they won every game indoors, four. We were the outdoor world champions in 1991. 

Q. What was your favorite moment from the 1995 season?

A. Again, getting to the World Series and winning. Being world champions twice in my life in two great cities, Kansas City and Atlanta. We had the opportunity to win a number of other championships here in Atlanta, but we won 14 consecutive division championships, which had never been done before in any sport and will never be done again in any sport. That’s a remarkable accomplishment, too. Players and owners and baseball executives around the world are in awe when they look at that stat. It is the most remarkable accomplishment in all of sports. 

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