On September 20, 2007, Ed Wade's long career in baseball came full circle when he was named the 11th general manager in Houston Astros franchise history. Ed, who was the Astros Public Relations Director 30 years ago, completed his second full season as Astros general manager in 2009. A veteran of 33 Major League seasons, Ed returned to the General Manager's seat after spending two years as a professional scout for the San Diego Padres. He previously served for eight seasons as the General Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies (1998-2005), having been named to that post on December 9, 1997.
Ed and his staff were busy in the offseason, acquiring several players that should play a significant role in 2010. During the winter meetings, the Astros acquired relievers Brandon Lyon (free agent) and Matt Lindstrom (via trade), both of whom are projected to work in the back end of the bullpen. Additionally, free agent third baseman Pedro Feliz, who has played in the last two World Series while with Philadelphia, was signed as well. Ed later added free agent starter Brett Myers to bolster the starting rotation.
However, Ed's most significant transaction of the offseason was the hiring of Brad Mills as the club's new manager. Mills, who has been in professional baseball for close to 30 years, enjoyed success as the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox during the last six seasons as part of two World Series Champions and five playoff teams overall.
Several of Ed's acquisitions while with the Astros have had a positive impact on the ballclub. In his first offseason, he acquired Jose Valverde and Miguel Tejada via trades. Valverde led the NL in saves in 2008 with a club-record 44 and tallied 69 saves combined in his two seasons with Houston. Tejada made the N.L. All-Star team in each of his two years with the Astros, and in 2009 had perhaps the finest season by a shortstop in franchise history, setting several club records along the way.
In 2008, Ed's first full season with Houston, the Astros won 86 games, a 13-game improvement from 2007 and the second-largest turnaround in franchise history.
As for acquisitions, Michael Bourn could very well be Ed's most significant. Bourn, who was acquired after the 2007 season in a trade with Philadelphia, had a breakout year in 2009. The center fielder/leadoff hitter led the NL in stolen bases with 61, bunt hits and infield hits and was tied for second in triples (12). Defensively, Bourn established himself as one of the top outfielders in baseball, winning a Rawlings Gold Glove Award in what was just his second full season in the Majors. For his efforts, Bourn was named the Astros MVP by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Several of Ed's moves that did not make headlines when made have paid big dividends for the ballclub. LHP Tim Byrdak, who was signed as a minor league free agent in April of 2008, led the Astros in appearances in 2009 (76) and posted the lowest opponents average (.178) in the Majors among LHP (min. 150 batters faced). Ed has also had success finding players on the waiver wire. RHP Jeff Fulchino, who was claimed off waivers from KC in December of 2008, was tied for second in the NL in relief wins in 2009 and was third in innings by a reliever (82.0). RHP Alberto Arias, claimed off waivers from COL on July 31, 2008, had the second-longest scoreless inning streak (21.1 innings) by a reliever in the NL in 2009. Also, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, who was acquired in a trade with the Yankees in August of 2008, had the second-lowest ERA (1.71) in the Majors while with Houston (2008-09).
Ed acquired a strong collection of talented players while with Philadelphia via the draft, trades and free agency. The majority of the players responsible for the Phillies three consecutive division titles (2007-2009) and World Series Championship (2008) were acquired under Ed's watch. During his tenure, the Phillies drafted future All-Stars such as Chase Utley, Randy Wolf and Cole Hamels and selected Shane Victorino in the Rule 5 Draft. Additionally, All-Stars Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, back-to-back NL MVP's in 2006 and 2007, were drafted and developed while Ed was the Phillies GM.
Other players acquired during Ed's tenure include Michael Bourn, Pat Burrell, Ryan Madson and Carlos Ruiz. Ed also signed free-agent first baseman Jim Thome preceding the 2003 season, who hit 96 home runs for Philadelphia from 2003-05.
Both managers hired by Ed while with the Phillies also had their share of success. Larry Bowa, who was hired prior to the 2001 season, helped turn around a ballclub that had seen seven straight losing seasons. Bowa, who was 337-308 (.522) as manager, was named The Sporting News NL Manager of the Year in 2001 after guiding the Phils to 86 wins, a 21-game improvement over the previous season. Ed's second managerial hire, Charlie Manuel, has led the Phillies to three straight division titles (2007-2009) and just the second World Series championship in franchise history. Manuel's .552 winning pct. ranks fourth in that club's history.
The 54-year-old Wade began his baseball career in 1977 as an intern in the Phillies public relations department. That same season, in 1977, he was named public relations assistant for the Astros and was promoted to public relations director in 1979. In 1981, he left Houston to become the public relations director for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he remained with that club for five seasons.
In 1986, Ed returned to Houston to work as an associate for Tal Smith Enterprises, a firm which has provided consulting services to 26 of the 30 Major League clubs. The most recognized functions have been in the preparation of arbitration cases, the financial appraisal of franchises, operational review, contract negotiations and other baseball-related matters. Ed worked for the company until May 5, 1989, when he rejoined the Phillies as assistant to the general manager. In 1995, he was promoted to assistant general manager, and he served in that role until assuming the general manager duties for Philadelphia in 1998.
Ed is a 1977 graduate of Temple University, where he played baseball and received his bachelor's degree in journalism. In 2003, Ed received the Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Award and was inducted into the Temple University and School of Communications Hall of Fame.
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