‘World's Greatest Leader' Theo Epstein: ‘This stuff is ridiculous'


BOSTON - Theo Epstein has a criminal mind.

The Cubs president is essentially a celebrity executive now, and he keeps getting tied to politics because he’s broken two of baseball’s most famous title droughts.

Fortune Magazine recently ranked Epstein the world’s greatest leader. 

David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s former strategist, recently discussed a hypothetical campaign for president for Epstein with Politico. 

But speaking before a luncheon benefitting the Red Sox Foundation and the Foundation To Be Named Later, Brookline’s finest made clear Friday he doesn’t want to follow in JFK’s footsteps.

“I just laughed,” Epstein said. “Crumpled up the piece of paper, threw it in the garbage. ‘Cause you know, this stuff is ridiculous, all these articles. I think I need to go do something really ill advised or commit a felony or something. I can put a stop to it in a hurry. But people who know me... would just laugh at that.”

Epstein is in many ways responsible for the public fascination with baseball executives and front offices these days, a condition he finds odd — or at least overdone. 

“I barely can get out of bed and get my job done the right way in the morning most of the time. It’s a group effort,” Epstein said. “Every time a team wins a championship, it’s because of hundreds of people making sacrifices and it’s just a sign of the times. These days the GM gets a lot of credit for it when it’s an organization wide effort. 

“When I was growing up, the ’84 Tigers, you didn’t know who the GM was, you just knew it was [Alan] Trammel and [Lou] Whittaker up the middle. You didn’t know it was Bill Lajoie behind the scenes drafting those guys. And I wish Bill Lajoie got more credit, but I wish I got a lot less. It’s just kind of weird the way the game’s evolved.”

Epstein seems deadset on winning a few more World Series in Chicago. But the question of what he does in another five years, more titles or not, will probably linger.

"Just thinking about this series, trying to see if we can win two out of three from the Sox at Fenway, not an easy thing to do," Epstein said when asked if he thinks about his future. "But no, we’ve had a great group of young players who I really admire and respect and they’re talented players who are great guys off the field and care about each other. 

"Almost all of them are going to be here through at least 2021. That’s rare in this day and age if you can have a group like that together for a long period of time. So we want to see if we can maximize it, get through as many Octobers as we can, try to get through as many Octobers as we can and that’s all I’m thinking about going forward."

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