Revisiting Leading with Character and Curiosity: From Combat to Moneyball with Sandy Alderson


The original broadcast date for this episode was July 30, 2020, and features host Patti Murphy and American baseball executive Sandy Alderson, general manager of the NY Mets at the time. Sandy currently serves as the President of the NY Mets and has been a front office executive in Major League Baseball for 40 years. Under his leadership, Major League Baseball teams have won six division titles, three American League pennants, one National League pennant and a World Series Championship. Sandy has held executive leadership roles with the Oakland Athletic, San Diego Padres, and New York Mets. Under his leadership as general manager, the Oakland Athletics played in three consecutive World Series from 1988 to 1990 and won the 1989 World Series. Sandy guided the 2015 NY Mets to a National League pennant and the World Series. He has also served as an executive for Major League Baseball on two separate occasions.

Sandy was a principal architect of “Moneyball” in the Oaklands Athletics organization. Sandy reformed the way Athletics did business in virtually every regard–he revolutionized the ways in which the club scouted and identified talent, used analytics, approached the mental game, and conditioned their athletes. Sandy’s approach to fielding a competitive team while at the helm of the Athletics was unconventional–decades later those once progressive tenets are now part of the game’s orthodoxy in virtually every organization in professional baseball. Sandy has been a trusted source of insight and encouragement in shaping LUF’s approach to systematically optimizing human performance in the fire service and ultra-competitive and/or lethal endeavors. LUF recently launched the LUF Human Performance “Team of Teams” – a collaborative network of human performance leaders from around North America. Though in its infancy, the LUF Team of Teams network will consist of several networked functional teams dedicated to exploring and advancing specific pillars of human performance. Each of the teams are named in honor of a human performance pioneer and we thought it would be fitting to name the program manager team “Team Alderson” in honor of Sandy’s immense contributions.

Leadership and service are in Sandy Alderson’s bloodline. His father was a seasoned Army Air Corps and Air Force fighter pilot who flew in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Sandy graduated from Dartmouth at the height of the Vietnam War and did an unpopular thing, particularly as an Ivy League graduate–he took a commission in the United States Marine Corps. 2nd Lt Alderson soon found himself in Vietnam as a platoon leader of US Marine infantrymen. Sandy was commended for his combat leadership in Vietnam with a Bronze Star with a valor device. After returning home from Vietnam, Sandy received orders to the Marine Corps prestigious “8th and I” Barracks in Washington, DC, a billet customarily reserved for officers destined for great responsibility in the Marine Corps. Though Sandy unquestionably had a bright future in the Marine Corps, he opted to depart the service and attend law school at Harvard.

In professional baseball circles, Sandy is revered as a maverick for his baseball intellect. But more importantly, he is respected and admired for his character and moral compass. Sandy has been recognized in recent months by the NY Friends of Vietnam Veterans Plaza and the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation for his leadership and civic virtue. The same character and conviction that was central to Sandy’s leadership style as a leader of Marines in combat has been at the core of how he has conducted himself and business in professional baseball for the past four decades. Sandy’s character is perhaps most evident in what the organizations under his charge do not just on the field, but also off the field. Under Sandy’s leadership the NY Mets have consistently, and quietly, gone above and beyond in supporting our Nation’s veterans, Gold Star families, and the families of fallen first responders–not because it is favorable for the brand, but because it is the right thing to do.

Photo taken at the 2023 Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation Dinner. From left to right: Jason Brezler, Sandy Alderson, Jonathan Fader.