The legacy

Family ties

Jonathan Schuerholz…

[I]n Charleston, S.C., two years ago, when a heckler got Schuerholz so good he could do nothing but laugh.

“The guy said, ‘Don’t worry, Schuerholz. My Dad got me a job, too,'” he remembered.

He sucks. He does one thing well, control the strike zone. And while that’s valuable, it doesn’t make up for his career .231 batting average and total lack of power (one career homer) as a minor leaguer old for his leagues. He’s 25, he’s in AA, and he’s been moved off of shortstop because he was such a lousy fielder. He is making no progress, hitting .231/.333/.279 in AA, right on line with his career norms, and has already made six errors.

John Schuerholz is a far greater baseball executive than Hank Aaron was. But when Aaron was running the Braves’ farm system, he had the integrity to cut his son when he knew his son didn’t have it. It’s time for John Schuerholz to do the same. It’s not only best for the Braves, it’s time Jonathan moved on with his life.

10 thoughts on “The legacy”

  1. Ouch, Mac. You do have a point. But why would he want to move on with his life? He’s 25 with some pretty decent job security getting paid to play professional baseball. Shoot, he’d be stupid to try to get out of that

  2. There’s no future in it. What’s the best he can hope for? An undeserved September promotion to the big club, maybe. More likely, being a career minor leaguer. There’s no pension, no big money, and sooner or later he’ll be out looking for a job. The best thing for him would be to take a scouting job with the team with a chance to move up there, where he might actually have the potential.

  3. I remember hearing an interview with the elder Schuerholz, in which he said that he named his son after the protagonist of the novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull. (The book was very popular in the mid-1970s.) Well, I guess it’s time Jonathan got his wings and learned to fly.

  4. If my dad was rich (hell, even if he wasn’t) and I was playing minor league baseball, you would have to drag me away kicking and screaming. It’s about love of the game.

  5. Yeah, I agree. I will never play professional baseball, and if something like who my dad is got me into pro baseball, you would have to force me to leave as Matt said. If you stink the way he stinks and still keep working hard as the scout said, it has to be for the love of the game.

  6. I think drafting little John Schuerholz was probably the worst thing for both parties, even if he was going to be a super-stud. How is this kid going to be treated within the system? Are the minor league coaches really going to say “this kid stinks” to their boss? Certainly, coaches looking to move up might spend too much time with him (neglecting other players) or refuse to bench him in order to kiss up to the boss. In this sense, I don’t think little JS will ever get a fair shake in the Braves organization. Big JS might have been right, this kid might have become a good ballplayer, but I don’t think we’ll know that until he leaves and gets an honest assessment and help from another club.

  7. Just because you’d have to be dragged out kicking and screaming doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be best for you to leave. Everyone has to grow up sometime. If his father is putting that time off for emotional reasons and because he thinks it doesn’t matter, he is failing as a parent and as a baseball executive.

  8. If my child were a professional baseball player, even a horrible double A ball player, I would encourage them to enjoy their youth as long as they can. They’ll spend a long time sitting in an office living vicariously through the deeds of others; no need to rush into it. As a dad, Schuerholz’s failure was allowing Jon to matriculate on the Plains, not failing to encourage him to quit baseball.

    But as an executive, what he has done is abominable. He is telling the others in Mississippi that what you do is less important than who you know. Some time ago, I typed out Bill James wonderful commentary on Marc Sullivan, the Red Sox catcher and son of then executive Heywood Sullivan. It applies almost as well here but with the caveat that so far at least the Braves haven’t stuck lil Jon in the majors’ starting lineup.

  9. I can see how as GM he might have seen some talent in his son that another GM wouldn’t have seen because of his strong desire for him to succeed. And hey, RHIP (Rank has its privileges) as we say in the military. However, little S is no Ken Griffey, Jr. or Barry Bonds, who both got looked at a lot more by the scouts because of their parental connections. The difference in those cases is pure talent. Little S is no better than some of the guys I played high school ball against that ended up getting offers because a team decided that they had to use their 80th round pick on someone. He is a lucky sperm recipient and has been granted tons of access that some high school and college players never get.

  10. Much better than being Ted Williams or Pete Rose’s son though. You could be a great player and still not live up to either of them.

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