Dan Duquette isn’t always included in the discussions of Red Sox fans who reflect on the key characters responsible for the 2004 World Series.
Perhaps the longtime former MLB general manager should be. Duquette recently joined the New England Baseball Journal Podcast and reflected on his stints as a GM of the Montreal Expos (1991 to 1994), Red Sox (1994 to 2002) and Baltimore Orioles (2012 to 2018).
“I’ve been able to turn the teams around at each of my stops,” Duquette said. “That seems to be my niche.”
Duquette, a two-time Major League Baseball Executive of the Year, is credited for being the architect of the great Montreal Expos teams in the early 1990s. In the strike-shortened season of 1994, the Expos had the best record in baseball when the season ended prematurely.
“We had great talent on that team,” Duquette said. “It’s a big disappointment and a missed opportunity. Our guys wanted to keep going that year because they knew they had it. They knew it was their time. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to do it on the big stage.”
In Boston, Duquette drafted Nomar Garciaparra with his first selection in 1994. He traded for Pedro Martinez — for the second time as a GM — in 1997. He also signed or drafted future World Series champions Tim Wakefield, Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek, Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe and Kevin Youkilis. Duquette was dismissed from his GM post in 2002 after the acquisition of the franchise by John Henry and Tom Werner.
“I would have liked to see it through to a championship,” Duquette said. “My intent was very clear, and I didn’t get an opportunity to do that. But I was so happy when our guys were able to complete the job and win the championship. We left the Red Sox not only with a championship team, but a top-five farm system. They used a lot of those players to trade for Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett. Not only did we leave a top-of-the-line Major League team, but we left the infrastructure of a good farm system and a foundation to continue to do the job and win World Series.”
Duquette’s successor, Theo Epstein, is widely credited for getting the Red Sox over the championship hump by pulling the trigger on the final moves that led to the 2004 championship, such as trading Garciaparra for Orlando Cabrera at the 2004 MLB trade deadline. Duquette is not sure that he would have had the fortitude to make the same move.
“I’ve got to give Theo and the Red Sox leadership a lot of credit for the Nomar trade,” Duquette said. “I’m not sure I could have made that trade with him being our original draft pick with the Red Sox.”
Duquette, who is currently consulting for a few MLB teams, does not rule out another stint as a GM if the opportunity presents itself.
“I don’t publicize it, but I hope to get another opportunity at some point,” Duquette said.
Listen to the entire pod with Duquette.
Check out the full episode above, and if you’re not a subscriber you can check out our plans here.
The New England Baseball Journal Podcast is sponsored by: