In addition to his All Star playing career, Al Rosen was a respected baseball executive. The only man to earn an MVP and the Executive of the Year Award, Rosen served as president of the Yankees, Astros, and Giants.
George Steinbrenner hired Rosen as the President and CEO of the Yankees in 1978. His first year as keeper of the Bronx Zoo, Rosen often refereed the battle between the Yankee owner and skipper Billy Martin.
The season before New York beat the Dodgers in the ’77 World Series. When the Yankees stumbled through the first part of the ’78 season, Steinbrenner turned up the pressure on Martin.
Meanwhile, Martin battled with mercurial star Reggie Jackson. It all came to a head in July. After Reggie returned from a Martin-imposed 5-day suspension, Billy held court with the New York press.
Soon the subject turned to Steinbrenner and Jackson. Referring to Reggie and to Steinbrenner’s illegal contribution to Richard Nixon’s campaign, Martin told the NY media, “The two of them deserve each other. One’s a born liar; the other’s convicted.”
The next day Martin was forced to resign. Dick Howser took the reigns of the club for one game before Rosen turned to a former teammate for help. Bob Lemon took over the field duties and led the Yankees to their second straight World Series title.
Renown as one of the most difficult men to work for, Steinbrenner continued micromanaging the club. Rosen resigned on July 19, 1979.
Fifteen months later, the Houston Astros hired Rosen as president and general manager of the club. In Rosen’s first year, the Astros reached the playoffs. For the next four seasons Houston finished no higher than third. Rosen left the team late in the ’85 season. During his reign the Astros posted a 386-372 record.
This time Rosen was out of work for less than a month. The last-place Giants tabbed him as their president and GM in late September of ’85. By 1987 Rosen built San Francisco into a division winner. For his efforts he was chosen Executive of the Year.
In 1989 Rosen’s Giants were champions of the National League. They faced off against the Oakland Athletics in the Fall Classic. Before the start of Game 3, the 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake struck halting the Series. Play resumed ten days later as the A’s completed a four-game sweep.
In the collection is this letter on Giants letterhead dated 16 days after the conclusion of the Series.
Rosen writes in part, “This was quite a season to win the pennant when nobody picked us; to have the earthquake then to be swept in four by the A’s. However there’s always next year.”
Rosen has signed his name at the bottom of the letter.