Deserving … but
Gerry Hunsicker may be the most successful general manager in the history of the Houston Astros. Taking over following the 1995 season, he presided over operations through 2004, a period that brought divisional titles in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001. Hunsicker compiled an 803-665 record, a .547 percentage.
The problem is tenure. Hunsicker only lasted for nine seasons, and the Astros did not reach the World Series until 2005, one season after his departure.
Another problematic Astro exec is Jeff Luhnow. Coming over from the Cardinals to run Houston’s front office prior to the 2012 season, he built the team’s farm system to the point where it produced the heart and soul of the team that since 2017 has dominated the AL West. Luhnow’s Astros won the 2017 World Series, then lost in 2019. They won three straight divisional titles from 2017 through 2019.
The problem, obviously, is Luhnow’s role in the 2020 cheating scandal, for which he was fired by team owner Jim Crane. That black mark is likely to override even his three straight 100-win seasons.
Kevin Towers took over as general manager of the Padres prior to the 1996 season, and booted them to the World Series in his first season. They repeated in 1998, and added NL West titles in 2005 and 2006. Fired after the 2009 season, he signed on to run the Arizona Diamondbacks one year later and immediately won the 2011 NL West title.
The problem for Towers is, first, his firing, and second, the long line of equally qualified candidates ahead of him. It does not help his candidacy that Towers died several years ago; there is a sense that Hall voters prefer their nominees to be alive.