Built the Florida Marlins World Champions in 1997 and 2003
Dave Dombrowski has been President and General Manager of the Detroit Tigers since 2002. Previously, he was GM of the Montreal Expos and the Florida Marlins.
Chicago White Sox
He began his career with the Chicago White Sox in 1978, an administrative and personal assistant to general manager Roland Hemond. He moved up the ladder to assistant general manager to Hemond by his late 20s, but was purged during Ken Harrelson's unsuccessful one-year reign (1986) as the Chisox' front-office boss.
Dombrowski joined the Montreal Expos front office as director of player development for the 1987 season under Bill Stoneman, and on July 5, 1988, he became, at age 31, Montreal's general manager — the youngest in MLB at the time.
Dombrowski built up the Expos' farm system during his term. The team enjoyed .500 or better seasons from 1988–90 but struggled on the field in 1991. Concurrently, the National League expanded to 14 teams, with two new franchises to begin play in 1993. One of those teams, the Florida Marlins, recruited Dombrowski to become its first general manager; he was appointed on September 19, 1991.
Dombrowski would spend more than a decade in Miami, working under owners H. Wayne Huizenga and John W. Henry. Although he built a sound minor league system, the Marlins, with Jim Leyland as their manager, achieved their first great success — the 1997 NL pennant and world championship — with a team composed of many high-salaried players signed as free agents. The following year, in 1998, Dombrowski presided over Huizenga's mandated fire sale of those veteran players, and the Marlins sank into a half-decade of obscurity. Nevertheless, the Marlins managed to rebuild behind a nucleus of young players when Henry sold the club in 2001 to purchase the Boston Red Sox. In 2003 the Marlins, consisting chiefly of players Dombrowski had acquired, won the World Series.
Prior to the 2002 season, Dombrowski was hired as president and chief executive officer of the rebuilding Tigers by owner Mike Ilitch. As President, Dombrowski was expected to oversee the business side of the club, including all senior staff, but was not necessarily going to be involved in matters of player personnel. Dombrowski initially kept incumbent general manager Randy Smith in place, but when Detroit lost its first six games in 2002, Dombrowski relieved Smith of his duties and assumed the GM role as well. He was the first person to act as both president and GM with the Tigers since Jim Campbell held both titles from 1978-1983. Bill DeWitt is the only other person to hold both titles; in 1959-1960.
In 2003, the club lost an American League-record 119 games, one fewer loss than the MLB record set by the 1962 New York Mets. Three years later, the 2006 Tigers, led by manager Leyland, won their first AL pennant since their championship season of 1984. Along the way, they won the AL wild card, defeated the favored New York Yankees in four games in the division series, then swept the Oakland Athletics in the American League Championship Series. In the 2006 World Series, they were defeated in five games by the St. Louis Cardinals.
In addition to bringing Leyland out of semi-retirement, Dombrowski presided over the acquisition and development of a corps of hard-throwing young pitchers, and signed free agents such as catcher Iván Rodríguez, left-handed pitcher Kenny Rogers, and outfielder Magglio Ordóñez, whose ninth-inning home run in ALCS Game 4 catapulted Detroit to the pennant.
Dombrowski briefly attended Cornell University before transferring to Western Michigan University, where he earned a degree in Business Administration.
He is married to Karie Dombrowski, who worked as an ESPN reporter from 1988 to 1990. They have two children, whose names are Landon and Darbi.By The Baseball Page
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