Seven Things to Know About New Padres GM A.J. Preller

Just who is new Padres General Manager A.J. Preller? Here are some fun facts about the team's new leader

New Padres General Manager A.J. Preller is an enigma wrapped in a riddle cloaked in a rather loud sports jacket. He is an international scout of mystery, if you will.

The team announced the hiring of Preller, 36, today, a man who has been described as “eccentric,” “in the shadows” and a “baseball rat.” (That’s a good thing in baseball terms, by the way.)

Here is a little bit of what we know so far about the man called to lead the Padres into the future:

  • Preller grew up on Long Island as a Yankees fan. He is also close to his family, thanking them for all their help during his first Padres press conference on Wednesday. "I wanted to thank my parents back in New York," he said. "They were unelievably supportive."
  • He graduated from Walt Whitman High School in 1995, where he played three varsity sports. He was named to the Principal’s List and National Honor Society and is now a member of the South Huntington Schools Hall of Fame.
  • At Cornell, he was a member of the Delta Chi fraternity (not to be confused with the Delta Tau Chi from the movie “Animal House”) with current Texas Rangers president and general manager Jon Daniels. They lived together for three years.
  • Preller took his first baseball job as an intern with the Philadelphia Phillies in which he earned college credits. After graduation, he took an unpaid position with Arizona Fall League, where he worked under baseball great Frank Robinson. The two then worked together in the Major League Baseball office before Preller took a scouting job with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He said he considers Robinson a mentor: "Frank, to myself, is somebody who is very open ... I said, 'If I get a chance to run a department, I want to run it that way."
  • He was originally hired by the Rangers as Director of International and Professional Scouting. His territory included Japan, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and other parts of Latin America. But he seemed to travel anywhere anybody was playing baseball. He said he's "maybe spent 3 million miles on American Airlines" and would take several flights a day to scout different players.
  • Both ESPN and Baseball American have named the Rangers the top farm system in baseball in the past five years. The Rangers won two American League championships during Preller’s tenure, the first time in the team's history that it won a playoff series.
  • He was one of eight candidates originally interviewed by the Padres. They brought in Preller and three other candidates --  Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, MLB senior vice president of baseball operations Kim Ng and Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen. He becomes the Padres’ fourth general manager following the 14-year tenure of Kevin Towers.
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