Syd Thrift, Orioles director of player developmentThe five...

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June 22, 1995

Syd Thrift, Orioles director of player development

The five best baseball minds since his involvement in professional baseball began in 1949.

1. Branch Rickey Sr., former Brooklyn Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals general manager. "He was in a class all by himself as a visionary, yet practical. He saw things way into the future."

2. Branch Rickey Jr., former Pittsburgh Pirates executive. "Sharp baseball mind with great feelings, empathy for people."

3. Ewing Kauffman, former Kansas City Royals owner. "Brilliant, innovative, creative. The Baseball Academy and the vision training were all his ideas. They put him ahead of his time."

4. Al Rosen, former San Francisco Giants general manager. "An excellent judge of talent, smart businessman and bold trader."

5. Jim Leyland, Pirates manager. "Brilliant strategist plus people-managing skills."

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