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Boyer's Intro To Jerry Reinsdorf: 'I'm Shredding The Marketing Plan'

Brooks Boyer was an intern with the Chicago Bulls, 10 days removed from campus life at Notre Dame, when he met Jerry Reinsdorf for the first time.

Twenty years later, Boyer, now the White Sox’s CMO, relishes the opportunity to tell the story.

His day began with an assignment. Steve Schanwald, the man who ran the franchise, asked him to help purge the office of some documents they no longer needed, including about 50 binders that contained the team’s marketing plan. A maintenance worker suggested they handle them the way they handled most of the trash, disposing of it in a compactor. But Schanwald worried that someone could still read the documents. He wanted them shredded.

The only shredder they had access to was in the building, about eight floors up, in the offices of Reinsdorf’s real estate investment company. In fact, it was in a conference room next to Reinsdorf’s office.

Reinsdorf was nowhere to be seen when Boyer set up shop, armed with 50 large binders. He had noticed the room had a television and a VHS player, so he brought along the highlight tapes from the Bulls’ three championships seasons. The shredder only took a few pages at a time. Boyer knew he’d be there for hours.

He had watched each of the three videos twice, and was contemplating going back for round three, when he noticed the smell of cigar smoke wafting in from nearby.

“I had made a mess of this conference room,” Boyer said, painting a vivid picture. “I had these big garbage bags, filled with paper, everywhere. I’m sure I had black ink all over me. All over my hands and face. I’ve got scissors and I’m hacking up whatever I can’t shred.

“And in walks, for the very first time, Jerry Reinsdorf. I hop to attention.

“Hi, Mr. Reinsdorf. I’m Brooks Boyer, new intern downstairs.”

“He says, ‘What are you doing?’

“I said, ‘I’m shredding the marketing plan.’”

“He said, ‘Is there not a faster way?’”

Reinsdorf didn’t wait for an answer. He shook his head, turned, and walked out.

In spite of the circumstances, Boyer was excited, so much so that he called his girlfriend, who is now his wife.

“I just met Mr. Reinsdorf,” Boyer said happily. Then he thought for a second. “He’s probably not going to like me.”

Turns out he did. Before he knew it, Boyer was heading corporate partnerships for the Bulls. Then he was director of the department. Then he moved over to head up marketing for the White Sox.

“If I had said that day, ‘Yeah, I’m going to be one of your key guys with the White Sox in 10 years,’ he’d have said, ‘No, you’re not,’” Boyer said. “But you get a chance here. This is a family business. And the one guy that sits at the top of both of these organizations has put people in positions that he trusts to do their job. I’ve heard Jerry say it 100 times. Put people in position to succeed.

“What more can you ask?”

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Chicago Bulls, In the Office

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