Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball and former general manager of the Red Sox, will be this year’s Class Day speaker on Sunday, May 21, during Commencement weekend.
Epstein will deliver the Class Day lecture to the graduating Yale College Class of 2017 at 2 p.m. on Old Campus. Further details will be forthcoming
A graduate of Yale College (Class of 1995), Epstein is a former sports reporter and sports editor at the Yale Daily News. Epstein won wide acclaim for his leadership abilities, first at the Red Sox, when he became the youngest general manager in Major League Baseball, and he helped lead them in 2004 to their first World Series Championship in 86 years — making him, at age 30, the youngest general manager to win a World Series. Following that, as the president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, he helped lead them in 2016 to their first World Series Championship in 108 years.
According to the Class Day chairs Joana Andoh '17 of Silliman College and Larry Milstein '17 of Jonathan Edwards College: “Epstein's remarkable story is not only a story about baseball. It is a story of what is possible when you dream, have passion and talent, access every opportunity, and work incredibly hard. No one could have said that what he did could be done, not once, but twice. His story is one of turning dreams into reality. For this reason, we believe he is a perfect fit to speak to the Class of 2017 at our graduation.”
“We look forward to welcoming Theo Epstein, along with your families and friends, to Class Day,” said the chairs.
Epstein helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 while he was general manager. He is in his sixth season with the Cubs, and is signed through 2021 following a five-year extension this off-season. He is in his 26th season in Major League Baseball.
The 2016 World Series title was the culmination of a five-year rebuild of the Cubs’ baseball operation, restructuring the scouting and player development departments and front office, and acquiring a young core of talent through trades, drafts, and international free agency.
The Cubs have increased their win total every year under Epstein, from 61 to 66 during his first year to 73 to 97 to 103 in 2016. Chicago has won five post-season series in the last two years after winning just one in 105 years from 1909 to 2014. The Cubs have made more than 45 trades during Epstein’s tenure.
Epstein is just the second individual since World War II to win at least two World Series titles in his first five seasons as a Major League general manager, joining the Yankees’ Brian Cashman (1998-2000). He was the first Red Sox GM to preside over more than three playoff teams (2003-2005, 2007-2009).
In 2009, Epstein was named Executive of the Decade for baseball by The Sporting News and was third on Sports Illustrated’slist of Top-10 GMs/Executives of the Decade in all sports. He was named the 2008 Baseball America Executive of the Year. He was also honored in 2003 and 2004 as the Major League Executive of the Year by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Prior to his time as general manager with the Red Sox, Epstein was the organization’s assistant general manager beginning in March of 2002. Prior to that, he spent five seasons with the San Diego Padres baseball operations department beginning in 1996, serving as director of baseball operations and as a member of the Padres Communications department in 1995-1996. Epstein began his baseball career as a summer intern for the Baltimore Orioles in 1992-1994.
Epstein is a 2000 graduate of University of San Diego Law School. In 2005, He and his twin brother, Paul, launched The Foundation To Be Named Later (FTBNL), which has raised $7.3 million for non-profit agencies serving disadvantaged youth in both the Boston and Chicago areas. Epstein and his wife, Marie, have two sons, Jack and Drew.