Roland Hemond, three-time MLB Executive of the Year with White Sox and Orioles, dies at 92

Roland Hemond, whose 70-year baseball career included three Executive of the Year awards as general manager of the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles, died Sunday night. He was 92 years old.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, with whom he spent 19 seasons, announced Hemond’s death on Monday.

“He died peacefully in the arms of his son Jay,” Hemond’s family said in a statement released by the Diamondbacks. “The Hemond family shared many laughs with him until the end, and we appreciate the love and support of his entire baseball family.”

Hemond was Chicago’s general manager from 1970 to 1985 and held the same position for Baltimore from 1988 to 1995. He won the Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year award in 1972, and then again in 1983 when the White Sox won the West of the American League.

His third honor as Executive of the Year came in 1989, when the Orioles nearly won the AL East after losing 107 games the previous season.

Hemond is also considered the architect of the Arizona Fall League, and helped found the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation to provide assistance to lifelong scouts in need of special support. In 2011, he received the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the Board of Directors of the Baseball Hall of Fame to someone whose efforts enhanced the positive impact of baseball on society.

“With a perpetual gleam in his eyes, Roland had a love for the game that was fueled by respect and admiration for all who played it,” said Jane Forbes Clark, President of the Hall. “He worked tirelessly to help members of the baseball family in need and never wavered in his commitment to serve. We express our condolences to his wife, Margo, and the entire Hemond family.”

Born October 26, 1929, in Central Falls, Rhode Island, Hemond was the assistant director of scouts for the Milwaukee Braves during the 1950s. Hemond helped build the Milwaukee team that won the World Series in 1957 and became Los Angeles Angels scout director when they began playing in 1961.

He joined the White Sox in 1970.

“I think everyone in the baseball world shares, starting with his time with the Milwaukee Braves, that Roland Hemond touched and influenced more people than anyone else in a really positive way,” said Chicago manager Tony La Russa, who he also led the White Sox during Hemond’s tenure as general manager. “For years and years, he’s been the most beloved figure in the game. He treated everyone with kindness and respect and they gave him back.”

In a 1975 winter meeting gimmick, Hemond and White Sox owner Bill Veeck set up a table in a Florida hotel lobby with an “Open for Business Anytime” sign. They made four changes in an hour.

Veeck made the Chicago advertising director call in periodically, and Hemond pretended he was taking calls from other teams.

“People were looking around laughing, saying, ‘God, it looks like this is working because they’re getting phone calls,'” Hemond recalled decades later. “I don’t think you can recreate it today.”

Hemond was senior executive vice president of baseball operations for the Diamondbacks from 1996 to 2000. He then returned to the White Sox as an advisor before returning to the Diamondbacks as a special assistant from 2007 to 2020.

“Roland Hemond was one of the most respected executives our game has ever known,” said Commissioner Rob Manfred. “He mentored countless people in our sport and found ways to strengthen our game. Roland Hemond was a great gentleman whose contributions to our national pastime will never be forgotten.”