Roland Hemond Becomes First Diamondback in Hall of Fame

One of the highlights of my life was meeting Roland Hemond who is a Special Assistant to CEO/President Derrick Hall. Hemond is one of the most amazing men you will ever meet. He has forgotten more about building a winning baseball team than most people will ever know.

The vast knowledge he has not just for the game of baseball but also in evaluating talent is amazing. In the world statistical analysis and so-called “MoneyBall”, Hemond is a throwback to a long gone generation where scouting and player evaluation had a human touch beyond what the numbers may say.

My chance meeting with Hemond happened a couple of years during a visit at Chase Field. As I was walking down the hall of the offices talking with the editor of the Diamondbacks magazine Hemond was walking the other direction. We stopped and were introduced. Within seconds it felt like we were old friends. He has a way of making everyone feel comfortable.

The conversation lasted no more than 5 minutes but within that time I gained more information about players and talent evaluation than I had received in my lifetime. I would mention a name and he would immediately get a sparkle in his eye and eagerly talk about that player’s upside and potential.

Since that meeting I’ve seen him on several other occasions and each time I’ve come away a better person from the interaction. Hemond clearly has a love for baseball and his personality and attitude are infectious.

When the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced earlier this spring that Hemond would be the second recipient of the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement award my first thought was that it could not have happened to a better person.

Countless number of players and baseball executives have benefited from Hemond’s tutelage. Hemond has held multiple positions with several teams including Director of Scouting for the California Angels (1961-1970), General Manager of the Chicago White Sox (1970-1985), General Manager of the Baltimore Orioles (1988-1995), Senior Executive Vice President of the Arizona Diamondbacks (1996-2000), Executive Advisor to the General Manager of the Chicago White Sox (2001-2007), and his current job as Advisor to Diamondbacks CEO (2007-2011).

Besides winning Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year three times (1972, 1983, 1989), Hemond is also credited with developing the idea of the Arizona Fall League which is an off-season developmental league where baseball’s best minor league stars come together for advanced competition.

So with baseball fans, executives, players, and Hall of Famers looking on in Cooperstown NY Roland Hemond was enshrined in the Hall among baseball’s immortals where he rightfully belongs. Congratulations, it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person.

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