16. ED WADE, General Manager
Few men associated with the Philadelphia Phillies can claim a rehabilitated image as strong as Ed Wade. He was the subject of derision by many in the media and the fan base when the club couldn’t reach it’s perceived potential in the early-mid 2000’s, and he was fired following another fallen-short 2005.
Wade was brought back as a Special Consultant to GM Ruben Amaro Jr in 2011 after four years as Houston Astros GM. A huge part of the reason was a new look at, and appreciation for, his actual ultimate track record with the Phillies.
Wade graduated from Temple University and started with the Phillies as a public relations intern in 1977. After working in similar positions with the Astros and Pirates, he came back to the Phils as an assistant to the GM in 1989.
He became the full Assistant GM in 1995, and then in 1998 he was hired as the club’s General Manager. In that role, Wade set about turning a stagnant roster into a winner, laying the foundation for the 2008 World Series winning team.
Wade drafted Pat Burrell, Brett Myers, Ryan Madson, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hamels among others. He signed Jim Thome when the team was first becoming a consistent winner, hired and fired Larry Bowa as manager, and hired Charlie Manuel as his replacement.
In the final 5 years of his tenure as GM, as his own players began to have influence in the lineup, the Phillies teams registered a .527 winning percentage. Each of his final 3 teams missed the playoffs by a half-dozen or fewer games.
The World Series win, with his drafted players in key roles and his manager hiring at the helm, came less than 3 years after his own firing.
Some fans may still not want to admit it, but Ed Wade was the principal architect of the 2008 World Series champions, and for that he clearly deserves a place on this list.