Epstein in 2007
|Boston Red Sox|
|General Manager/Executive Vice President|
|Born: December 29, 1973|
New York City, New York
|As General Manager
Theo Nathan Epstein (born December 29, 1973, in New York City) is the Executive Vice President/General Manager of the Boston Red Sox. On November 25, 2002, the Red Sox made him the youngest GM in the history of Major League Baseball by hiring him at the age of 28. In 2004, he was general manager of the club that won the first World Series championship by the Red Sox in 86 years and was in the position when the team won a second in the 2007 season. Epstein resigned in October 2005, but was rehired as GM and Executive Vice President on January 24, 2006.
He attended Brookline High School (a 1991 graduate), and never played baseball for the Brookline High School Warriors, but dreamed of working for the Red Sox. Epstein has a fraternal twin brother, Paul Epstein; together they founded a charity, "Foundation to be Named Later." Epstein's grandfather, Philip G. Epstein, and great-uncle, Julius J. Epstein, won Academy Awards for the screenplay of Casablanca, while his father, the novelist Leslie Epstein, is the head of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University. Epstein's brother-in-law is the actor Dan Futterman, who appeared in the television series Judging Amy as Judge Amy Gray's brother Vincent. Futterman, who also wrote the award-winning screenplay for the film Capote, is married to Epstein's sister, Anya Epstein, a writer for the television series Homicide: Life on the Streets and Tell Me You Love Me. On January 1, 2007, Epstein married Marie Whitney, a volunteer at Horizons for Homeless Children. An early report on the marriage from Boston Globe sportswriter Gordon Edes reported the site of the wedding was Nathan's Famous hot dog stand at Coney Island. Edes later published a correction, noting that he had fallen for a prank by Theo's father, Leslie. The site and actual date of the wedding was never released, but the Boston Herald later published a story claiming the wedding took place on Red Sox owner John Henry's yacht in Saint Thomas. On December 12, 2007, Epstein's wife gave birth to the couple's first child, Jack, in Boston, Massachusetts.
Epstein attended Yale University where he lived at Jonathan Edwards College and served as sports editor of the Yale Daily News, and graduated in 1995 with a degree in American Studies. Eventually he took a job in the PR department of the San Diego Padres; soon Epstein would become the team's Director of Baseball Operations. While working for the Padres, he studied full-time at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree but has never been a member of the State Bar of California.
Former Padres President Larry Lucchino became president and CEO of the Red Sox on November 25, 2002, and hired Epstein to work under him. At the end of the 2002 season, Lucchino appointed Epstein to replace interim GM Mike Port. Epstein is credited with making several key acquisitions, including David Ortiz, Kevin Millar and Curt Schilling, during his first tenure as Red Sox GM, who were regarded as instrumental in breaking the so-called "Curse of the Bambino" and winning the Red Sox their first World Series Championship since 1918.
On October 31, 2005, Epstein resigned, rejecting a three-year, $1.5-million-per-year contract for personal reasons. According to The Boston Globe, "This is a job you have to give your whole heart and soul to," he said. "In the end, after a long period of reflection about myself and the program, I decided I could no longer put my whole heart and soul into it." The night he resigned from the Red Sox, Epstein left Fenway Park wearing a gorilla suit in an attempt to avoid reporters. A witness reported spotting a person wearing a gorilla suit, driving a Volvo similar to Epstein's that night. The suit was loaned him and was later auctioned for $11,000. The money raised was given to The Jimmy V Fund and Epstein's Foundation to be Named Later.
Epstein remained in contact with the team's front office and on January 19, 2006, Epstein and Red Sox management announced his return. Five days later, the team announced that he would resume the title of General Manager and add the title of Executive Vice President. In November 2008, Epstein announced, at the annual General Manager meeting, that he had signed a new contract with the Red Sox, but declined to disclose the terms of the deal.
In December 2007, Epstein was mentioned in the Mitchell Report regarding a November 2006 email exchange he had with Red Sox scout Marc DelPiano on the possible acquisition of then free agent closer Eric Gagné. In the email, Epstein asks DelPiano: "Have you done any digging on Gagne? I know the Dodgers think he was a steroid guy. Maybe so. What do you hear on his medical?" DelPiano replied that "steroids IS the issue" with Gagné, questioned his "poise and commitment" and expressed questions about his durability "without steroid help". Despite the reservations expressed by Delpiano, Epstein traded pitcher Kason Gabbard and minor league outfielders David Murphy and Engel Beltré to the Texas Rangers for Gagné on July 31, 2007.
In December 2008, Baseball America named Epstein its Baseball America Major League Executive of the Year.
On May 25, 2006, Epstein made an appearance on stage with Pearl Jam at TD Banknorth Garden playing rhythm guitar to Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World." In January 2007, Epstein joined then-ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons's band the Hot Stove All-Stars to play at the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit concert held at the Paradise club in Boston. The event raised over $200,000 for the Jimmy Fund and Epstein's Foundation to be Named Later. The event also featured former Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo.