Correspondence date: Oct. 2011
Upon the conclusion of his playing days, former Major Leaguer Ethan Blackaby embarked on a new career path: minor league executive. In 1974, the 33-year-old Mr. Blackaby assumed both the Business Manager and General Manager duties for Triple-A Phoenix Giants, replacing his long-tenured predecessor Rosy Ryan.
Mr. Blackaby would remain the Phoenix GM until the end of the 1985 season, during which time he would be replaced by Jack Singer (who would also assume the Team President responsibilities). In the process, Mr. Blackaby would remain with the team as a minority owner. During his time as Phoenix GM, Mr. Blackaby would see his team finish first in the Pacific Coast League standings on one occasion and second several other times.
Of course, playing for a team as an athlete and running a team as an executive are two very different things. As a result, I wanted to get inside Mr. Blackaby’s mind and find out what his favorite and least favorite aspects of running a pro baseball team were.
“It was wonderful to be able to stay in pro baseball for another 30 years after retiring as a player. Did you know I was a part owner – Pres. of the San Antonio club in 80’s & in the front office of the (Diamond)backs for six years. My least favorite aspect was when the season was over.”
Mr. Blackaby brought up San Antonio because it is my current place of residence. In 1986, San Antonio Dodgers owner Tom Turner sold the team to an investment group headed by Mr. Blackaby, who would run the team before reselling it two years later.
Mr. Blackaby has led quite a fulfilling life as both an athlete AND a high-level team executive/owner. Considering how rare this is, he is definitely in select company!
On deck: Mr. Blackaby thanks me for writing.