The McMaster alumnus story of Alex Anthopoulos, a Canadian kid turned major league GM

Alex Anthopoulos is a Major League Baseball front office executive most well known for his time with the Toronto Blue Jays and presently, the Atlanta Braves. Anthopoulos is a native of Montreal, Quebec and grew up a big fan of the Montreal Expos baseball team.

His love of baseball brought him into the Expos organization, where he found himself in a voluntary role as the team’s “mail boy.” It was a small role for someone with big aspirations, but it proved a significant stop on the route to a larger role. 

Sorting fan mail has nothing to do with baseball operations, however, it was the foot in the door that Anthopoulos needed. It gave him the opportunity to get into the stadium, meet others within the organization and talk baseball. Through this, he managed to impress some of the scouts that he had an opportunity to talk to, which is how he got his big break.

Anthopoulos managed a busy schedule year-round, working with the team over the summer while completing a degree in economics at McMaster University in the early 2000s. In 2002, he joined the Expos’ scouting department as the team’s assistant scouting director. However, he would leave the team to take up a new opportunity that would have a substantial impact on his career.

In 2003, Anthopoulos would be hired into the scouting department of the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2005, he was promoted to assistant general manager under the guidance of J.P Riccardi. Three years later, Riccardi was fired, with the McMaster graduate taking the reins at the age of 32. 

During Anthopoulos’ six-year career with Toronto, he made what many believed to be aggressive moves for the team. He started his career by moving Roy Halladay —  who many have considered one of the greatest Blue Jays of all time — to the Philadelphia Phillies.

He shed the once thought of “unmovable contracts” of Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. He would sign unproven stars Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to long term contracts. R.A Dickey — the recipient of the 2012 Cy Young, given to the league’s top pitcher — would later be brought to Toronto coming off his award-winning year. 

Anthopoulos would acquire Josh Donaldson prior to the start of the 2015 season, and he had become the Blue Jays’ first MVP winner since George Bell in 1987. At the midway point in the season, he would have one of the craziest trade deadlines in MLB history, acquiring Cy Young winner David Price, and perennial all-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. He would bring back a buzz to Toronto, and the team would make their first playoff appearance since 1993

Following the 2015 season, Anthopoulos would leave the team for a new opportunity with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I don’t know that I’ve had to make a harder decision in my life . . . I just didn’t feel like this was a right fit for me going forward,” said Anthopoulos to Business Insider. 

“I don’t know that I’ve had to make a harder decision in my life . . . I just didn’t feel like this was a right fit for me going forward,” said Anthopoulos to Business Insider. 

He would spend the next two seasons with the Dodgers before joining the Atlanta Braves as the team’s general manager. In his three seasons with the Braves, they have won their division three times, but have fallen short of the championship trophy each year.

Their furthest push came during the 2020 season, led by the national league MVP Freddie Freeman; however, they fell one game short of the World Series. Going forward the team remains in championship contention, as Anthopoulos looks for the final piece to get them over the hump.

Image courtesy of C/O Keith Allison

Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.