Saturday, March 14, 2015

Al Rosin RIP

Al Rosin, the most successful GM in San Francisco Giants history prior to the Brian Sabean era, has died at the age of 91.  Rosin started his baseball career as a star player for the Cleveland Indians in the 1940's and 1950's winning an AL MVP during that time.  He went on to become a successful executive with several organizations.  He took over as GM of the Giants from Tom Haller at the end of the 1985 season as the Giants finished up a 100 loss season and a perceived low point in the history of the organization.

Rosen's first act as GM was to hire Roger Craig as manager.  Craig had gained some fame as a pitching coach with the Detroit Tigers, reviving several pitching careers by teaching all of his pitchers to throw the split-fingered fastball or splitter.  He brought the splitter with him to San Francisco as well as a no-nonsense approach buoyed by an endless well of optimism.  It was Rosen, though, who took out the TV's and stereos in the Giants clubhouse so the players could concentrate on baseball.  Rosen also insisted that the players take batting practice in full uniform and even got Jeffrey Leonard to wear his cap forward.

In fairness to Tom Haller, several of the players who formed the core of the successful teams on Rosen's watch were already in the organization when Rosen arrived on the scene including Will Clark, Robby Thompson, Chili Davis, Leonard and Mike Krukow.  Rosen kick-started the turnaround by fast-tracking Clark and Thompson to the majors.  I attended a spring training game in 1986, Will Clark's rookie season, and recall the sense of optimism and excitement seeing those guys on the field and the sense of purpose you could see even in the warmup drills.

Probably Rosen's biggest contribution to the team's success came with several trades, the biggest of which brought Dave Dravecky, Kevin Mitchell and Craig Lefferts to the Giants from the Padres in one of the most lopsided trades on the favorable side in the history of the team.  Rosen was aggressive in making midseason trades to help get the team to the postseason with the acquisition of players like Don Robinson and Rick Reuschel.  The team made it to the postseason in 1987 and 1989 getting to the World Series in 1989 only to lose to the A's in 4 games in the "earthquake" series.

Rosen remained as GM of the Giants through the 1992 season, then was let go by the incoming ownership group headed by Peter Magowan.


  1. Rosen as part of the GREAT 1954 Cleveland team (111-43) lost to the Giants in 4 games!
    They were solid in all facets of the game -- Bob Feller was their #5 starter -- and they had 2 closers. The great Luke Easter was still on the team although he had been replaced by Vic Wertz (who helped make Willie famous!). And Larry Doby, who I think was the second black MLB player.
    Rosen was really good on a team of very good players.
    Cleveland finished 2nd (and 1st once) for the last 6 of Rosen's 10 years. You know who was 1st those years. From 1947 through 1958, either Cleveland (2) or the Yankees (10) won the AL pennant.
    And he was a Florida Gator!
    And a 4-year WWII veteran.
    A truly grat American.
    I lost all my lunch money in '54 betting against the Giants.

  2. Really liked the Al Rosin regime after enduring the Tom Haller reign that mercifully ended after that dreadful 1985 season because it was the low point because Rosin did bring a refreshing sense of optimism to Giants baseball when it really needed it... He showed the fans why he was a successful executive as you mentioned as well as doing other things like: 1-Working well with Roger Craig.. While Craig was an excellent manager and pitching guru, he didn't seem to work well with young pitchers like Mark Davis and Mark Grant juggling them between the bullpen and rotation, thus Rosin goes out and acquires veteran pitchers like Rick Reuschel, Don Robinson, etc. 2-Improving the talent evaluation- I remember that Terry Kennedy's dad Bob was his right hand man involved in trade talks.. 3- Loved that Rosin was not afraid to make good trades when the team was in contention, as you mentioned.. Its too bad that he never got the credit he deserved for the trade that I thought was a big part of the 1993 season where they won 100 games and didn't make the playoffs.. It was Kevin Mitchell to the Mariners for 3 pitchers Billy Swift, Mike Jackson, and Dave Burba. RIP Al Rosin.