Just like his boss, Jeremy Haber has the kind of resume that screams “Why on earth would you want a job in baseball?”
But instead of earning potential untold fortunes in the courtroom or boardroom, Haber, who holds an M.B.A from Harvard Business School, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in political science from Brown University, has always wanted to work in a major league front office.
That’s why Haber first reached out to White Sox general manager Rick Hahn four years ago when he contacted a number of teams about a job.
Though he’d later intern in the Boston Red Sox legal department, Haber had no baseball experience to speak of. But his thin resume didn’t keep him from a letter-writing campaign that made a strong impression on Hahn, who in April hired him to become the team’s assistant to the GM.
“I have a little soft spot in my heart for people who send unsolicited letters to baseball teams looking for jobs because I spent a long time being in that situation,” Hahn said. “Jeremy happened to be someone who we did not know, someone we had no connection to. He sent me a blind resume/cover letter expressing his interest of getting into baseball and what his background was … That led to a couple of phone interviews.”
Eventually it would result in Hahn receiving “reams of information” on hitting coach candidates earlier this offseason.
What began as a list of a dozen names grew into a comprehensive two-week project as Haber uncovered anything and everything he could find. Essentially Hahn received a full background check on each candidate, complete with YouTube interviews and comments from former players.
“I view my job as doing anything I can to help Rick make good decisions,” Haber said. “He does that real well without me, but anything I can do to help him do that. … We had lots of people, different ideas and I tried to synthesize that and bring as much usable information to the process as I could. We kept adding names.”
Hahn has continued to add duties to Haber’s job.
Haber, 30, prepares arbitration cases, speaks with agents and makes recommendations on player acquisitions among other tasks. It’s part of a practice begun under executive vice president Kenny Williams, where, if you’re in the big room, titles don’t matter, opinions do. Hahn hopes his front office can one day match John Hart’s in Cleveland in the mid-1990s when Mark Shapiro, Dan O’Dowd, Josh Byrnes and Paul Depodesta, all of whom went on to be GMs, worked for the Indians.
“It’s really a cherished opportunity,” said Haber, who has also worked for former presidential advisor David Gergen and on President Obama’s Senate campaign. “Really, the faith and confidence that Rick put in me, Jerry (Reinsdorf), Kenny and Buddy (Bell), I couldn’t be more grateful for it. It’s something I always wanted to do. It’s something I always tried to prepare myself for. The opportunity came and I’m very grateful it did.”
A Red Sox fan growing up, Haber always wanted baseball over the boardroom. He loved to play all day long as a kid and began to envision front-office jobs after he blew out his shoulder in high school, not that he believes he could have been anything more than an average college player. But when he scoured baseball’s front offices for potential contacts he noticed Hahn and was pleasantly surprised when he responded.
Four years later he’s right where he wants to be.
“He was one of the first guys with a background, like he and I have, to show that we have skills that can be valuable to a baseball organization,” Haber said. “He said ‘No, I don’t have anything, but good luck and stay in touch.’ I did and several years later it worked out and I couldn’t be more thankful.”