“He makes three to five trade recommendations a week,” Levine said last week, only half-joking. “They’re not all jewels, but some of them have legs. I just never let him know that he may have been the impetus for us kicking the tires on someone.”
Levine, who attended T.C. Williams, has played an integral role in the Rangers’ consecutive World Series appearances as the top lieutenant to General Manager Jon Daniels for the past six seasons. And he has become a leading candidate to become a future general manager.
After he played college baseball at Division III Haverford College and earned an MBA from UCLA, Levine could have worked in most any industry he chose. Levine chose baseball, the passion he inherited from his father.
“Ever since I got this job, it’s kind of been a shared experience with my dad,” Levine said. “That’s the most prominent thing he passed down to me, his love of baseball.”
Michael Levine grew up in Manhattan in the late ’40s, going to Dodgers, Giants and Yankees games, collecting autographs by learning which hotels the players stayed at. As he grew up, had a family and moved to Alexandria for his job at the National Gallery of Art, he carried his love for baseball with him.
Michael bought Orioles season tickets and shared every experience with his son. Thad Levine joined the Junior Oriole club in 1978 and met Al Bumbry and Mark Belanger in the dugout. He cried after the final out of Game 7 of the 1979 World Series. When Thad was 3, Michael caught a foul ball while simultaneously holding Thad and a beer.
“The beer spilled a little bit,” Michael said. “But I held on to Thad.”
Thad Levine made two important connections growing up. He played youth soccer with Paul DePodesta, another Alexandria native. DePodesta famously appeared in the book “Moneyball” as Billy Beane’s assistant with the Oakland Athletics and then became the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. DePodesta’s father, John, introduced Michael to a baseball strategy game played with dice.
At Haverford, Levine played baseball and became close friends with Josh Byrnes, who grew up in Washington and attended St. Albans. Byrnes wanted to work in a baseball front office, and as he blazed his own career, he kept Levine in mind.