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09/21/2011

Moneyball got this one wrong on the former Rangers exec, who says Texas has come "full circle"

Images It's been a while since we heard from Grady Fuson, but the former No. 2 man in Texas is doing quite well these days. 

He's back in Oakland with the A's, working for Billy Beane. Please never believe what you may see in the movie, Moneyball. Grady Fuson was never fired by Billy Beane.

Back in late October of 2001, when Fuson was hired by the Rangers, I had this conversation with Beane: 

"No comment," A's general manager Billy Beane said, when asked if the team is upset that Fuson was hired away.

Did the Rangers actually have permission to talk to Fuson as anything other than a GM candidate?

"No comment," Beane said.

And do the A's think the Rangers exploited their position as a high-revenue club?

"No comment," Beane said.

If you remember, and you probably don't, after the 2001 season, then Rangers owner Tom Hicks had a vision of hiring John Hart to be his GM, and Fuson to be his No. 2 to run the scouting department. Hicks was in love with the man who had assembled a farm system that produced Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Jason Giambi, Miquel Tejada and Eric Chavez, among others.

Beane, however, was ticked when the Rangers threw money at Fuson to leave Oakland. 

"That was really an exciting time I had in Texas; contrary to what people may believe I had a very good relationship with John the first three years," Fuson TOLD ME on Tuesday. "It ended ugly, but after losing three years at the big league level, none of it was good. It became a soggy situation and it wasn't healthy."

The ending of Fuson's time in Texas wasn't pleasant. He was all but promised to take over for Hart after he stepped down, which he was never allowed to do when Hart decided to stick around because the team was winning at the time. Fuson left to San Diego, and after last season he found himself without a gig.

His first phone call came from the man who never wanted him to leave in the first place: Billy Beane.

Fuson, who lives in San Diego, is a special assistant in charge of doing what he loves, and is very good at - scouting, and finding players. Meanwhile his old employer is finally doing what so many of us never thought possible: Winning big on the strength of their pitching.

200px-CJ_Wilson_-_pitching "They've come full circle and put both sides of the game together," Fuson said. "The biggest thing that has changed in Texas is the evolution of the pitching. From CJ Wilson all the way down the line. They've developed pitching. From top to bottom they have turned the corner and have an era of dominance tha is really no different than we had in Oakland (around 2000)."

 

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