(CBS) Theo Epstein has already established himself as one of the greatest executives in sports history, constructing teams that broke long championship droughts for the Red Sox and Cubs. As he continues his work as president of baseball operations in Chicago, Epstein has set the Cubs up for success for years to come as well.
With the 43-year-old Epstein, a Yale alum, already having accomplished so much and boasting such a bright mind, many have wondered what his next act might be. Well, it could be in an ownership role, as Epstein said on a recent podcast with David Axelrod, a former advisor of President Barack Obama.
“Sure,” Epstein told Axelrod when asked if he could see himself owning a team. “Yeah, I think you can do things as an owner that you can’t necessarily do as an employee, helping the team really get involved in the community and doing some great work using baseball as a vehicle to do some important work.”
Epstein signed a five-year extension this past season that will keep him with the Cubs through 2021. And he emphasized that’s his only focus for now.
“We have a lot more work to do with the Cubs, first of all,” Epstein said. “The last time the Cubs won a World Series, in 1908, it was a back-to-back championship — they won in 1907 as well. So that’s a great short-term goal for us, and we have the opportunity to win a lot, and I think our fans deserve that, because they’ve been through a lot with 108 years and even the last five years, we’ve asked so much from them, to be patient and understanding. We’d love to win a lot, especially over these next five years when we have our best players under control through 2021, basically the whole nucleus.
“I haven’t thought much beyond that. I love baseball. I think I’ll always have a passion for it, I’ll always want to be connected with it in some way.”
It was just Monday when the Cubs were honored at the White House that Obama called Epstein one of the greatest executives in history. Epstein was humbled to be given such praise but has followed up by making clear who the greatest executive in baseball history is: former Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, who integrated baseball by signing Jackie Robinson in 1945 before he debuted in April 1947.
“He’ll forever be the best baseball executive of all time because of his innovation and modernizing the game and most importantly integrated the game in a very courageous way by signing Jackie Robinson,” Epstein said.