October 24, 2013

Playing on the Big Stage

Ben Cherington ’97G guides Red Sox to World Series in second year as GM
Ben Cherington ’97G, Boston Red Sox (center) flanked by Chris Antonetti ’98G, Cleveland Indians (left), and Neal Huntington ’92G Pittsburgh Pirates (right) at “Covering the Bases —An Evening with our GMs” panel discussion at UMass Amherst November 13, 2012.

When Ben Cherington ’97G was named executive vice president and general manager of the Boston Red Sox in October 2011, he became the third graduate of the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management to join the ranks of current major league general managers. Chris Antonetti ’98G of the Cleveland Indians, and Neal Huntington ’92G of the Pittsburgh Pirates also got their starts in sport management at UMass Amherst.

All three GMs returned to campus last November for a standing-room-only panel discussion where they provided insight on their day-to-day duties and the scope of their professional responsibilities. They also shared reflections on their careers rising through the ranks of professional baseball and in the sports industry.

Who knew then that all three teams would fight for playoff spots this season and that Cherington would be the first to take his team to the World Series?

When Cherington was named Red Sox general manager, McCormack Department Head Lisa P. Masteralexis, who taught him sports law in his student days, said he “brings to the table the academic smarts and stats knowledge, plus the ability to go out and evaluate players and understand the game. He can bring that combination together to build a team. He'll outwork anyone. He's willing to do whatever it takes.”

He is being widely lauded for the Red Sox team he has built that went from last place in the American League last year, to first place this year, winning the American League Championship and playing in the World Series.

Some of Cherington’s bold moves to revive the Red Sox include sending Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers; resigning David Ortiz; and bringing in a number of new players, including Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, Ryan Dempster, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, David Ross and Mike Napoli.

Cherington earned his undergraduate degree (1996) and played varsity baseball at Amherst College and began his professional baseball career as an advance scout for the Cleveland Indians in 1998. He joined the Red Sox in 1999 as a Mid-Atlantic area scout and prior to being named general manager was vice president/assistant general manager and head of the club's Farm System, which has produced Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and other Red Sox standouts.

Cherington was the keynote speaker and primary honoree at the Isenberg School’s Business Leadership Awards dinner in May 2013.