December 29, 1966|
Mexico City, Mexico
University of Pennsylvania|
Kellogg School of Management
|Occupation||President and General Manager|
Jeff Luhnow is the current general manager and president of baseball operations of the Houston Astros, serving in the role since December 2011. He worked for the St. Louis Cardinals in their scouting department from 2003 through 2011. Prior to working in baseball, Luhnow was a business entrepreneur.
Early life and education
Luhnow was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, and is fluent in Spanish. Prior to his birth, his parents had relocated from New York City to Mexico City for business. Luhnow attended schools in Mexico City through 10th grade and a preparatory high school in California for his 11th and 12th-grade years.
He graduated from the Webb School of California and holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in economics and engineering. He would eventually earn an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Prior to baseball, Luhnow worked as an engineer, management consultant, and technology entrepreneur. He worked for McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm, for five years. He founded and served as president and chief operating officer of Archetype Solutions, and served as general manager and vice president of marketing for Petstore.com.
St. Louis Cardinals
Luhnow joined the front office of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003. Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. had noticed what the Oakland A's had done with their Moneyball tactics and was looking to run his team in a more analytical, data-driven manner when he first hired Luhnow as vice president in 2003. Luhnow knew DeWitt's son-in-law from working at McKinsey & Company and from there, Luhnow met DeWitt and landed the job. Luhnow's hiring initially raised eyebrows, since he had no previous experience in baseball and had not played the sport since high school. He was derided with nicknames like "the accountant" and "Harry Potter."
Luhnow began as the Cardinals' vice president of baseball development, as he established a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic and extended the Cardinals' scouting in Venezuela. The Cardinals promoted him in 2005 to the role of vice president of player procurement, which made him the director of amateur, international and domestic scouting. He was named vice president of scouting and player development in 2006.
During his time with the Cardinals, he developed a reputation for scouting and player development, and he is credited with having a key role in the team's successes in the minor leagues. The Cardinals won five minor league championships under his watch, and had the best system-wide minor league record in 2010. From 2005 to 2007, the first three Cardinals drafts overseen by Luhnow produced 24 future major leaguers, the most of any team during that period. Several players who made important contributions to the Cardinals' victory in the 2011 World Series, including Jaime Garcia, Allen Craig, Jon Jay and Lance Lynn, were drafted during Luhnow's tenure.
The Houston Astros announced Luhnow's hiring as the team's general manager on December 8, 2011, replacing Ed Wade. In making the announcement, team president George Postolos cited Luhnow's past successes in player development and scouting with the Cardinals organization. He also expressed hope that "[Luhnow's] bicultural background [would] be an asset in recruiting players from Latin America and developing the Hispanic market for Los Astros." Luhnow received a contract extension at an undisclosed time in 2014.
After Luhnow's first season, he opted to fire Astros' manager Brad Mills, replacing him with Bo Porter after the 2012 season. Porter was forced to keep most of Mills' coaching staff, with third base coach Dave Trembley and hitting coach John Mallee serving as Porter's only additions to the staff for the 2013 season. Luhnow and Porter had a falling out during the 2014 season, leading Luhnow to fire Porter. He chose A. J. Hinch as Porter's successor, and allowed Hinch to choose his coaching staff, with the exception of Brent Strom, the pitching coach, who the team chose to retain.
News of an investigation into potential Cardinal front office personnel hacking into the Astros' baseball operations databases seeking information on player development, evaluation, and compensation broke on June 16, 2015. According to the LA Times, "MLB issued a statement saying it has cooperated with the investigation but would take no action until 'the investigative process has been completed by federal law enforcement officials.'"
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- St. Louis Cardinals hacking investigation: Questions and answers
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