No one saw more baseball during the 20th century than Gabe Paul.
He started out as a bat boy. Then a newspaper correspondent. A press agent. A traveling secretary. A general manager. A vice president. A president. And then part-owner of the Cincinnati Reds, Houston Colt 45s, Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees.
Twice Gabe Paul was named Major League Executive of the Year by The Sporting News, only the fifth baseball executive to win the award more than once.
A throwback to a trade-reliant era, Gabe Paul made over 500 deals in his career as a general manager. When he took over the Cleveland Indians, the franchise was nearly bankrupt and serious offers were being made by potential buyers. A lesser determined man would have thrown in the towel.
Paul kept the Indians in Cleveland, even contributing some of his own money to do so.
In 1973 he departed the Indians to become part of the limited partnership formed by George Steinbrenner to purchase the New York Yankees from CBS. Paul would serve as president and general manager of the Yankees teams that would become known as the “Bronx Zoo.”
These teams were filled with clubhouse turmoil, player and managerial dissension, and front office meddling; nonetheless Paul assembled a ball club that would win three consecutive American pennants and find a way to create cross-communication between the flawed brilliance of manager Billy Martin, a functioning alcoholic, and the ego-maniac personality of principal owner George Steinbrenner.
Beacon Audiobooks has just released “Gabe Paul: The Long Road to the Bronx Zoo” written by author William Cook and narrated by Timothy McKean.
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