John Schuerholz, Vice Chairman Atlanta Braves
Named as the Braves’ Vice Chairman on March 21, 2016, John Schuerholz is in his 52nd year in professional baseball and his 27th season in Atlanta. Schuerholz oversees all operations for the Braves franchise, including SunTrust Park and the mixed-use development, The Battery Atlanta, which opened in April 2017. He served as club president for eight and-a-half years before being named to his current post.
Schuerholz received the game’s highest honor in December 2016, when he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was formally inducted into the illustrious club in a ceremony at Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 30, 2017.
Following 26 years as a Major League general manager, from 1982 to 2007, Schuerholz stepped aside as GM after the 2007 season and was named president of the Braves on October 11, 2007. He spent 17 seasons as the Braves’ executive vice president and general manager, from 1991 to 2007. Schuerholz came to the Braves from the Kansas City Royals in October of 1990, and before his promotion to club president, he had the longest tenure with the same organization among all Major League general managers.
Under his leadership and guidance as a GM, the Braves achieved unprecedented success, compiling the best record in baseball (1,594-1,092; .593) over those 17 seasons from 1991 to 2007. The Braves established an American professional sports record by winning 14 consecutive division titles from 1991 to 2005 (the 1994 season was not played to completion).
The Braves have won five National League pennants, one World Series, several organization of the year awards and have surpassed the 3,000,000 mark in home attendance six times since 1991. By finishing 101-61 in 2003, the Braves reached the century mark in victories for the fifth time in seven seasons and for the sixth time since 1993.
Schuerholz has served as chairman of Major League Baseball’s Pace of Game Committee and was chairman of the Instant Replay Expansion Committee, which oversaw the historic implementation of the use of expanded replay beginning in 2014. He has also served on the Playing Rules Committee
During his career with Baltimore, Kansas City and Atlanta, Schuerholz has been associated with three World Champions (1966, 1985 and 1995), eight pennant winners and 20 division crowns.
In 2004, to honor his nearly 40 years of success at the major league level, Baseball America named him the recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Atlanta’s overall success in 2005 also helped the Braves earn Baseball America’s prestigious Organization of the Year award.
Schuerholz was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in August 2016 and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in February 2015. In January 2014 he was honored with the Outstanding Achievement in Baseball Award by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation. He was inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum recognized John as the National League Executive of the Year with its Andrew “Rube” Foster Award in 2001, 2002 and 2005. The Braves 400 Club bestowed its Ivan Allen, Jr. “Mr. Baseball” award, presented to “the person who has contributed significantly to the promotion of baseball in the Atlanta area” to Schuerholz in February 2000. Baseball America honored the Braves as the most outstanding Major League franchise of the past two decades with its 20th Anniversary Award of Excellence in December 2001. As a result of the Braves’ 1991 worst-to-first performance, Schuerholz was named the Executive of the Year by UPI, the Boston Writers Association and the Maryland Tops in Sports group, Executive of the Year by the Georgia Securities Association and Georgian of the Year by Georgia Trend Magazine.
When the Braves won the 1995 World Series, Schuerholz achieved a unique distinction - he became the first executive to be general manager of world championship teams in both the American and National leagues. In his 26 years as a general manager with Kansas City and Atlanta, his teams totaled an amazing 2,348 wins.
During Schuerholz’s time with Kansas City, the Royals won one World Championship (1985), two American League pennants (1980 and 1985) and six division crowns (1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1984 and 1985). The Sporting News, in a poll of baseball’s general managers, selected Schuerholz as the Major League Executive of the Year in 1985, when Kansas City won the World Series.
As a general manager, Schuerholz proved to be a man of action ever since joining the Braves. An average of 10 new faces appeared on the club’s Opening Day roster each year, reflecting offseason transactions and the maturing of farm system products.
Almost without exception during the season, Schuerholz annually acquired at least one player who contributed greatly to the Braves’ successful run. John Smoltz was the only Braves player who was around for all 14 division titles from 1991 to 2005.
A native of Baltimore, Schuerholz left a job as a junior high school teacher to join the Orioles in 1966. He moved to Kansas City two years later, and as an administrative assistant, was involved in the expansion draft that created the first ever Royals roster. He was named Assistant Farm Director in 1970 and became Farm Director in 1975. He was promoted to director of player procurement and development in 1976 and vice president-player personnel in 1979. The Royals named Schuerholz executive vice president and general manager in October of 1981, when he was 41.
Born October 1, 1940, Schuerholz is a graduate of Towson (MD) University, where he played soccer and baseball. He was an all-conference choice in baseball and was named the school’s Athlete of the Year in 1962.
He was inducted into Towson’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1973 and served on the school’s Board of Visitors. Towson’s baseball facility is named John Schuerholz Park. Schuerholz authored his first book, “Built to Win: Inside Stories and Leadership Strategies from Baseball’s Winningest GM,” which was released in the spring of 2006.
He and his wife Karen have two children, Gina and Jonathan, and four grandchildren. Jonathan Schuerholz has been a player, instructor or executive in the Braves’ system since 2002. The 2017 season marks Jonathan’s third as the club’s assistant director of player development, following four seasons as a field manager in the farm system.